Looking to the 2024 Charlottesville Market, a Steamer & a Fixer-Upper, and Nest’s New Home | Monthly Note Archives

January 2024 Note from Jim

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A market-heavy January note. Like the note? Please share it with a friend.

First – Assessments are almost out. They’re up. Think yours is high, low, just right? Curious if you could sell for that number? Ask me.


The steamer and the screwdriver

I was talking to a potential seller client and we were discussing the things I suggested they do before going to market. They asked if they had to fix them (they do) because some buyers like fixer-uppers.

My wife and I got a steamer recently. I came home and my wife had put it together, and I noticed a screwdriver in the box that wasn’t one of ours. I was confused. Reading the instructions, I saw that they had included a screwdriver. My suspicion: so many of today’s buyers simply don’t have tools, the skill sets, nor the inclination to fix things.

Think about that when you’re getting your home ready for the market — the people who you might have thought would fix up those things you don’t want to do? There are fewer of them than you might expect.


2024 Market Level Setting

2023 continued the 15-year-plus trend of too little inventory and more buyers than sellers. Market dynamics seen before (supply and demand), and dynamics unseen (skyrocketing rates and increasing rather than decreasing sales prices). This is a level-setting post, not one from which to draw conclusions.

Short take for 2024: We are going to see more listings (sellers finally ready to sell, rates be damned), buyers ready to buy (same, and rates in the sixes is much better than the sevens or eights), and we are going to see a continued competitive market. What should you do? If you’re having this conversation, I’d love to be a part of it. 434-242-7140

Example in Charlottesville + Albemarle:

  • in the first 16 days of 2022 there were 49 new resale listings in the MLS
  • in the first 16 days of 2023, there were 54 new listings
  • in the first 16 days of 2024, there have been 55 new listings. Is this a trend, a sign of what 2024 will be, or nothing meaningful at all? We’ll see.

The “normal” Charlottesville real estate market is the market we are in right now. …

Charlottesville 2023 (and 2022)

(parentheses) represents 2022

  • 55 attached homes sold (70) Average price was $384K ($339K). Days on market: 13 (20).
  • 293 detached homes sold (411). Average price: $618K. ($584) Days on market: 25 (21).
  • 14 new construction homes sold via the MLS last year: 7 on Rialto, 6 in Lochlyn Hill, and 1 in Fry’s Spring. Average price: $700,590.
    • Average price of attached (7): $684,695
    • Average price of detached (7): $716,484

Albemarle 2023 (2022)

  • 579 attached homes sold (497). Average price: $448 ($400K). Days on market: 20 (16).
  • 984 detached homes sold (1,172). Average price: $784K. ($751K) Days on market: 31 (24).
  • New construction in Albemarle remained strong in 2023.
    • In 2023, 484 out of 1,563 sold attached/detached homes were new construction, and 2024 is starting similarly in part due to the lack of good resale inventory.
    • Detached in 2023: 176 (223). Average price: $875,262 ($846,012).Attached in 2023: 308 (161). Average price: $480,256 ($462,808).

      You see that fewer single-family sold in 2023 compared to 2022, while attached had a huge increase year over year. I see this as driven largely by what inventory was provided by the builders, what was viable in the County to build, timing of the planning and execution, and price. While some buyers might want single-family, their budgets drive them to attached. That, and lifestyles drive buyers to attached products; less maintenance inside and out, and located within communities that work.

… And I’ll tell you in 18 months what happens tomorrow in the Charlottesville or Albemarle real estate markets.

Data and analysis by me. Chart by ChatGPT-4. Amazing.


Value vs. Price — These are two different things.

Value: What the data say the property is worth. Value is often data-driven and objective.

Price: What a ready, willing, able buyer is willing and able to pay, and what a ready, willing, able, non-distressed seller is willing to accept. The first two weeks a house is on the market, price may be contextualized by data, and is often driven by emotions and needs/wants to secure a home.


The phantom leak

Many years ago during a home inspection, the inspector was baffled by a tiny leak terminating in the crawl space. It took him some time, but he found it.

The house was about 15 years old, and the owners were the original owners who lived on the main level. The leak was from the second story. When the house was built, wire shelving punctured a water line during installation. The owners didn’t know about the leak because they never used that bathroom, not even once.

Two things:

Use your bathrooms, even the ones you rarely use. Sleep in different parts of your house from time to time — you’ll hear different things, like a squirrel in your attic or a branch rubbing the roof.

Wire shelving has its place. When I see it as the standard in a $600K or higher house, it’s offensive.


Getting together, and better for it.

Nest has a new home again!

When we started Nest, we didn’t have a home, and the three of us spent a lot of time in coffee shops. We then spent many years in our downtown Charlottesville office, and now have our new forever home on Rose Hill Drive.

And we’re back together again. I mentioned on our most recent podcast that being in the office, talking to each other, and sharing knowledge and experience makes me — and all of us — better.

In the past week, I have said to my clients, “I was in a meeting last week and …” I proceed to elaborate on a conversation I’d had about about the market, Charlottesville City zoning, or another thing I can’t remember right now.

I was sitting on the left side of that couch (there’s my stuff) working with airpods in, and another agent was on the other side. He texts, “If you are jammed up… IGNORE THIS. If you have two minutes to collaborate on a question I received from a buyer I’d love your input.” I finished what I was doing, we talked for more than two minutes, and 1) we helped each other and 2) I have part of next month’s note written.

Real estate is a competitive business, but we need this type of collaboration to be better at what we do, to learn, to listen, and to better ourselves for our clients.

And it’s great to be home again.

Nest Realty Charlottesville new office picturesNest Realty Charlottesville new office picturesNest Realty Charlottesville new office pictures
Nest Realty Charlottesville new office picturesNest Realty Charlottesville new office picturesNest Realty Charlottesville new office pictures
The New Nest

How to communicate?

Well, clearly, and as often as necessary.

One of the questions in my buyer survey to my clients is, “How do you prefer to communicate?” New clients asked me that recently, and after a moment, I articulated the following. I think it makes sense.

Email: Sharing lots of information, supporting links, offers and counter offers. Shorter: substantive written information.

Phone: Talking through things, conveying good and bad information.

Text: “I need to see this house.” Or to set up a call. When I text a client asking for a call, 9/10 times I’ll say, “Call me when you can please; all is fine.”


What I’m Reading

With Twitter’s demise, I’m finding more information via LinkedIn & Reddit.

What I’m Listening To

Eventually, Substack will die, and so will the photos above. Here they are.

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