Posts tagged UVa

Fry’s Springs Downzoning Proposed Again

The perils of zoning rear their heads in Fry’s Springs.

The Charlottesville City Council has agreed to consider a request from the Fry’s Spring Neighborhood Association to study rezoning of three streets.

“Essentially, they are asking for the properties on Stribling, Crestmont and Shamrock to be downzoned,” said Jim Tolbert, director of the city’s Neighborhood Development Services.

Specifically, the neighborhood association has been asking for the city to change the zoning on all properties classified as R-2 to R-1S. Properties in R-2 can have up to two families, whereas R-1S allows only one. Accessory apartments could still exist, but only if the property owner lives on site.

In all, there are 213 properties in the Fry’s Spring neighborhood with R-2 zoning.

This is an interesting development, so to speak. On one hand, what’s the harm in having the conversation about downzoning (besides staff time and resources)? The harm is that by contemplating downzoning, the City is discussing changing the property rights of owners.

R-2 and R-1S zoning presumably provide affordable housing options, and by eliminating this zoning the City would presumably be eliminating some affordable housing options … but with all the apartments coming to West Main Street, maybe the City is ok with this.

Curious – do off-site owners have lesser rights than owner-occupants?

“Councilor Dede Smith, a Fry’s Spring resident, said that half of those owners do not live in Charlottesville.”

If you’re curious to see the City of Charlottesville’s zoning map, start here (the West Main study that’s there is interesting, too).

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Another Student Housing Complex on West Main?

West Main Street’s evolution continues. A third student housing complex may be coming. You know what would be a great addition to West Main if they’re planning to bring over 1000 bedrooms to that area in the next 12 months? Innovative bike lanes.

For some background, I wrote abut West Main’s evolution in October of last year and September of this year.

Charlottesville is getting denser. Let’s hope infrastructure is part of the planning – and implementation – of said density.

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Match Day 2013 – Will UVA Residents Buy?

Match Day 2013. Will this be the year that incoming UVA medical residents buy instead of rent?

For most people, (Match Day) is just another day. But for medical students, it’s Match Day, the day that determines not only where they will work after medical school, but what kind of doctors they will become.

For the first five years of my career, Match Day was a big thing for the Charlottesville real estate market – UVA Medical Residents would buy homes. In 2005 (the first year of this blog), I wrote:

This past Thursday was Match Day, the the new Residents find out which Medical School they will be attending. Most importantly, these Residents are a built-in market that comes about each year. Good for real estate.

You know what? At that time, UVA medical residents (and law students and Darden and other short-timers in Charlottesville) were a significant portion of the market.

Then the Zero to Five buyers went away.

The buyers who would buy and sell in a zero to five year timeframe are gone. In other words, the stepping stone of the “buying a home” lifecycle has been pushed further.

Which brings us to 2013.

Are the UVA Medical residents going to buy homes this year?

Answer: Maybe. Maybe more than last year. I’m hoping/expecting to see more quality inventory coming on the market this year than we’ve seen in some time, which should provide

Butstudent loan debt is a massive challenge.

From NYTimes

“It’s become normal now to take out loans to get anything of value,” said Dr. S. Ryan Greysen, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and lead author of a fascinating study published this month on the historical and social factors that have contributed to rising medical student indebtedness. “Getting a medical education has become similar to getting a mortgage on your house.”

There is a lot of positivity in the market right now, and a lot of buyers who are buying now are buying with the intent to rent that house when their stint in Charlottesville is over. (this is a fantastic resource for real estate investors)

– Closed home sales are up in Charlottesville and Albemarle (where UVA Residents tend to live – as it’s within their ~20 minute distance threshold)

Inventory has been down, and remains down.

– Prices in some market segments are seeing upward pressure for the first time in years.

– Buying can be less expensive than renting. (ask a good lender about options)

– I rarely actively solicit business here, but for those incoming residents, I’m taking on new clients.

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Good Job UVA – Your Impact is Remarkable

It’s hard to imagine UVA’s leadership doing a greater disservice to the University, the Charlottesville community and higher education.

Watching the disaster that is the ousting of UVA’s president will provide conversation, (social media) analysis, fallout and case studies for years to come. Rather than comment on what the ramifications are on the UVA community, the culture of education and how happy I am that my daughter is not going to UVA, here are a few select tweets that begin to describe the tragedy/fiasco/saga/lesson that is the UVA Board of Visitors:

I suspect that very soon, some faculty members will be putting their homes on the market.

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Match Day 2012 – Are the Residents going to Buy?

Match Day happens every year and March 16, 2012 is Match Day for the medical folks – the day in which they find out where they are going to do their Residencies. I’ve worked with a lot of UVA Residents over the years, and they’re all unique and different, but also tend to have very similar criteria, the foundation of which tends to be “no more than 20 minutes from UVA Hospital”.

For the first six or seven years of my career, 2001 – 2008, incoming medical Residents comprised a significant portion of the Charlottesville real estate market. Since 2007 – 2008, most of that segment of the market has chosen to rent; in other words, the 0 – 5 Buyer has gone.

2011’s real estate market feels a bit different; a lot of buyers are coming back to the market. I’m still uncertain as to what impact Residents are going to have, as I’m betting that quite a few are going to be reluctant to take on more debt.

Student loan debt is crippling our country:

How does the housing bubble debt compare? If you add together mortgages and revolving home equity, then from the first quarter of 1999 to when housing-related debt peaked in the third quarter of 2008, the sum increased from $3.28 trillion to $9.98 trillion. Over this period, housing-related debt had increased threefold. Meanwhile, over the entire period shown on the chart, the balance of student loans grew by more than 6x. The growth of student loans has been twice as steep — and it’s showing no signs of slowing.*

But … if you are a medical Resident moving to Charlottesville thinking about buying, there are quite a few options on the market now that meet the typical criteria – at least three bedrooms, two baths, under 20 minutes to the UVA Medical Center.

This year, I’d be surprised if many (any?) incoming UVA residents move to anywhere other than Charlottesville or Albemarle; prices have declined such that looking in Greene or Fluvanna is likely to be a choice rather than a fallback because nothing is affordable in Charlottesville or Albemarle. It’s going to be interesting.

If you’re searching, search for homes by proximity to UVA (I’d use 1 Hospital Drive)- I’d be inclined to keep the maximum radius at 10 miles; in our market that should be sufficient to keep the drive time under 20 minutes.

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UVA Continuing to Grow – Adding Stability to Charlottesville’s Economy

One of the brightest spots in the Charlottesville area economy is the University of Virginia. Love ’em or hate ’em, they provide stability and opportunity.

Charlottesville Tomorrow reports:

Noticeable at the Planning and Coordination Council meeting was the contrast between the scale and ambition of a university angling to become “the premier undergraduate experience of the Americas” and those of the county government, which has had to cut back construction plans due to ongoing revenue shortfalls.

The university is primarily pursuing infill development within the current grounds, but is still aggressively expanding capacity. This is largely due to an agreement with the state government to increase undergraduate enrollment by 1,400 students by 2018, which is in addition to an increase of 271 outstanding from a previous plan.

While the University grows, the City and County continue to struggle.

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