Thursday, July 10, 2008

513 Dice Street - $369,000.00

The price of 513 Dice Street has "dropped" to $369K ($459K if you want the yard), we'll be surprised to see this property go any time soon.

What's especially interesting, we think, is that this house and its "Unrealistically Priced Asking" is brought to you courtesy of the optimist who had $852,000.00 as Initial Asking for 708 Park Street. And then thought "PRICE REDUCED $323,000.00" was something good to mention in the modified MLS post. (We hear that 708 Park, with its Last Asking of $529K, actually went for $475K. But this could just be gossip.)

MLS #450371
513 Dice Street
3 bedroom, 2 bath
Sq. Ft.: 2472

Acre: .10


The CAAR listing says, "Amazing light, endless distinctive touches... Currently a 2br/2ba home + darling 1 br apt but could easily convert..." And you know from reading Freakonomics that amazing, endless, and darling in a RE listing ought to raise a red flag.

So should this line: "Ajacent [sic] lot avail. w/ purchase for $459,000, or lot alone $95K." You know how annoyed The Bubble Blog gets when folks try to sell the yard.

Newsflash: Fifeville's never going to be what anybody hoped it would be, 10 years ago, 5 years ago, 2006, last year. It's some old houses that were once decent, a hodge-podge of parcels whose history is of mix-use and mixed race, until it was segregated in 1912 and then reintegrated after the Civil Rights Era. In the past few years there's been some condo-building, some UVa Landgrabbing, and some optimistic Yups zealous about DIY. And then there are the flippers. The area had been invaded by bad 'habits,' disrepair, and overcrowding long before the condos hovering over the railroad tracks were built.

If possible, Fifeville is a bigger fairytale than even Belmont; it's just that Belmont has been "happening" longer as a rehabbed neighborhood. Read what Will Goldsmith says about Fifeville's Future in a recent edition of C-Ville Weekly. The long and colorful history of 513 Dice Street, and its recent rehabbing, is covered in this story.

And want to check out the antipathy for yourself? Go to the corner of 5th and Dice Street, which is several yards from 513 Dice Street, and try to hang out for a couple of minutes. Good luck to you.

Fifeville. Yes, we're sure to be back for more.


Mahalia said...

another neighborhood that should have 'affordable' housing, but no longer does due to greed and lax lending practices.

simultaneously, the sense of community for the long-term residences is being threatened and eroded.

ain't charlottesville grand?

James said...

I moved back here from deeper South about a year and a half ago. Got in the habit of reading the RE posts on Craigslist, and kept it up after I moved.

When I first started seeing this house for $490,000.00, I thought the seller must be taking the drugs that are sold on that corner. "Dice Street???"

Then I drove by. Hey, they did a decent job in fixing the place up. But $490,000 dollars?

Even with the price dropped to $360whatever, the neighborhood is the neighborhood. It doesn't matter how nice your neighborhood is if you're locked in the house all the time.

Anderson said...

Since you invite dissent...
I am with you on the bubble and with you that it fed some crazy optimism in Belmont and Fifeville, but you seem to be dismissing the appreciation in these places as purely a bubble phenomenon, which is wrong.

The "yups" who moved there were not choosing between north downtown and belmont/fifeville. They were choosing between b/f and suburbs. Educated people under forty increasingly prefer the city to the suburbs. The people I know who live in the suburbs seem to be embarrassed by it. They almost apologize. There appears to be a cultural shift in preferences that is not going away with the bursting bubble. If anything gas prices are making it stronger.

There is all the anecdotal stuff about how cities are cool now and all that, but I watch the rental market as an index of the sub-froth gentrification and it seems to me strong throughout the city, but especially close to downtown and the university. Rent prices are up 5-10% over rates of one or two years ago. I also see classic "rent gap" behavior at the edges of nice urban neighborhoods, where long neglectful landlords are suddenly getting rid of the poor black tenants and investing in their properties to go after the young hipster market because the rent difference is high enough to make the investment pay. The renovations are slower than the flipping days, but the units are still moving up the economic ladder. I have yet to see a single house move the other way. The "ghettos" are contracting in Charlottesville, slower or faster, but they are. So I say there is something real here that isn't just driven by speculation and cheap credit. I don't think we've seen the bottom yet, but if I had to buy a house in fifeville or forest lakes and hold it for 10 years, I would take the house in fifeville everytime.

As for 513 Dice, you could have chosen better examples. This house was fixed up for the historical tax credits, so the work is inspected pretty rigorously and is probably of pretty high quality. Around the corner there is a smaller house, with no interesting history, no apartment, no charm to speak of, and in need of some repair for the same price, a much better example.

I am a renter. I don't own a house in Fifeville or Belmont and I don't intend to anytime soon. I am certainly no housing booster. I'm just a fascinated observer of the housing market like yourself and I gently submit that you are letting the snark imperative of the bubble blog genre cloud your analysis of urban Charlottesville.

Real C'ville - The Bubble Blog said...


You make some vital comments and we're glad you're here among us.

But our directive isn't to analyze 'urban Charlottesville'--that's up to commenters like you.

It's true what you say: Educated people under forty increasingly prefer the city to the suburbs.

But in Charlottesville, where the median household income is just over 30K, 'home ownership' or even 'condo ownership' are out of reach--especially now that the Bubble has burst and credit is increasingly difficult to obtain. Even as an 'upwardly mobile' young professional, there aren't a lot of jobs here that allow the building of wealth to secure what used to be the American dream--owning a house.

Belmont is out of reach for many young renters--unmarried, one income, no kids--unless they want to prolong their time living the roommate existence. We're of the mind that the only roommates anybody should have after graduating from school--college, grad, post-grad--are the spouse and kids. In the "urban core" of Charlottesville, this isn't really possible.

And Fifeville? Certain parts are just not desirable, no matter how rich the history. Maybe, as you indicate, improvements will come.

Restoring 513 Dice Street for tax credits is an element of bubble exuberance. But the fact remains that this particular house is now an oasis--a small house that is now "too nice" for the degraded area in which it sits...and hence it is trapped inside the Bubble, unsold and overpriced.

Anderson said...

Thanks for the thoughtful reply and the welcome.

I think that the relative appreciation of neighborhoods like fifeville and belmont is real and due to trends that will outlast the bubble. Still, if the Internet bubble taught us anything it is that you can be dead right about the trend and dead wrong about the value. So your point about jobs is well taken. House prices don't depart from historical relationships of Income (or rents) for long.

That said, I think the income data isn't all that clear. Since the analysis of "urban charlottesville" is up to me and my fellow commenters ;) , here it comes. The median income in Albemarle is $20k higher than C-ville and most of that population lives all around the edges of the city. So its not like the area is not creating good jobs, it's just that people who have them have largely decided to live in the county. I suspect that is changing. I think the recent real estate data supports that suspicion, but we'll have a much better idea after the next census. Of course we will still have the havoc that students wreak on our census data. (sigh)

The other point I would make about jobs is that the greatest source of demand for housing, UVA, generates demand that tends to especially favor housing in the city. Over the last 10 years UVA has averaged about 300-500 additional Full time equivalent jobs per year. Some are professor-doctor types and some are janitor-landscaper types. Both tend to favor the city, the prof-doctors for lifestyle issues, the janitor-landscapers because they often don't have cars. They have also added a few hundred students a year, who tend to favor living within stumbling distance of the corner (and who pay dearly for that privilege). Now of these, only the professor-doctors are likely to buy a $300K+ house. But the other folks sop up the housing supply and by crowding together with extended family or tapping daddy's funds, they have an effective demand that is higher than their income would suggest. In this context it is worth noting that while the supply of housing in the county grew fast during the boom, the supply of housing in the City exploded, relative to historical levels. Units were added to the county at 2 to 3 times the rate that they were added in the mid 1990s. But the city went from adding 10-30 units every year to adding hundreds. Given that kind of expansion the inventory levels have remained remarkably tame.

I guess I'm missing your point about rents in Belmont. It sounds like you are saying that no one wants to live there because the rents are too high. But if no one can pay the rent, why don't vacancies drive the rents down?

Sorry this is so long and a bit off topic.

TheUpstart said...

Just to clarify, is that the sideways house? It's ridiculous looking.

There's a house at the corner of Dice and 5th that is for sale that's gorgeous (wrap around porch, dark you know the one?). I'd love to see what they're asking for that one!

Anonymous said...

Just looked up this property. Happy to see that it did not sell and is assessed at $226,000