Apparently The HooK and I were sharing a brain this morning. Their snap o’ the day is of the crane at the Waterhouse Project and I was showing condos in the Gleason building to buyer clients this morning and thought the view was interesting: View from the fifth floor.
The biggest draw is Keswick Hall, a 600-acre gated community that is home to the Keswick Club with an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course, an Orient Express hotel, and the Estates at Keswick Hall, 124 home sites ranging from 2 to 8 acres. … Anchored by a large pedestrian mall and walking distance of the University of Virginia, downtown is suddenly hot, with many new condos to choose from. … “This is probably the most popular second-home area right now, with everything from condos and townhomes to detached single family homes,” says Mailloux. … One appeal for second-home buyers is that maintenance fees include “everything down to the landscaping and lawn care,” with about 150 houses and condos from $500,000 to $1.2 million.
However, to a lesser degree, we may have some “growing pains.”From Saturday’s Wall Street Journal (temp free link):For the nation’s real-estate lenders, the other shoe may be about to drop: condominiums.Already plagued by rising home-loan defaults and foreclosures among overstretched consumers, major markets across the country — including parts of Florida, California and Washington, D.C. — are seeing rising foreclosures and bankruptcies of entire condo projects….The condo market, while tied to the housing market overall, behaves differently under stress….Â So while the speculative overhang of newly constructed single-family homes may have peaked in many markets across the country, the full force of the condo glut is starting to hit now.With single-family homes, “you put up a couple of model homes and build the rest as you get sales contracts.”…Â (when was it registered with the Commonwealth?)- How many of the sold units have been sold to owner-occupants?To give a very high-level (and admittedly somewhat inaccurate due to GIGO) overview of the Charlottesville condo market, here are the results of a quick MLS search with no status attached:Condos in Charlottesville/Albemarle marked as new construction: 313Not marked as new construction: 3,333Conclusion – there have been far fewer new condo developments built than have been converted to condos….Â we have the mostly unrelated condo conversion issue, which was nothing more than an arb of the overheated housing market vs. relatively low rents.But too many of these “conversions” were nothing more $1000 of new paint and countertops slapped into formerly rental units and that was supposed to support valuations 20, 30 even 50% over the income property valuation (even at today’s crazy cap rates).
Walker Square would be well-advised to address their customer service and management issues.Â This is the type of publicity that will 1) impact their ability to rent, 2) their ability to sell their condos and 3) the ability of the owners to sell their condos….Â They better watch out – once the furor begins, they might have to act.Read more than the headlines when assessing the housing market news.Â Might this be a bellweather?On the other hand, investors in homebuilders aren’t too impressed by Seiders’ “orderly” cooling….Â Horton (DHI), KB Homes (KBH), Lennar (LEN), and Pulte Homes (PHM) all closed lower than the day before.Â All of their stocks are down between 35% and 50% from their peaks last year.Jim Bacon has some interesting take-aways from the recent blogging summit in Charlottesville….Â Ethics and trust form part of the foundation of a successful blog, be it a political blog or a business blog.UVA’s $2 Million Crosswalk – at least it will be built rather than planned, studied, planned, debated and then deferred until the next election cycle.UVA’s beTech is fast becoming one of my favorite (local) blogs.Â I have no idea why on VAR Contracts, there is a place for buyers’ and sellers’ SSNs – I tell all of my clients to leave that space blank.