Monday, July 7, 2008

The Assault on Reason, Taste and Judgment Continues in Belmont

The Great Cottage Sell-off Spreads Across Avon Street

Another tiny well-worn 50+ year-old cottage is on the market at an


MLS #455072
607 Blenhei
m Avenue
3 br, 2 bath
(includes basement 'apartment')
Sq Ft: 858
Acre: .13

A reader who signed his email "Albemarle Al" brought to our attention this little brick Cape Cod at 607 Blenheim Avenue. Above, you see the best picture ever taken of this house.

607 Blenheim Avenue is being offered by the Same Seller as 800, 804, 806, 808 Meridian Street and 910, 912, 914, 916 Bolling Avenue, which we discuss here.

As our devoted readers know, we are simultaneously mystified and dazzled by the Belmont Bubble, which is proving to be the most enduring Bubble holdout in all of Albemarle County.

Back in May we discussed 935 Belmont, which has not only been on the market forever, but hasn't had a price change in months. This property's primary asset is that it's near "Downtown Belmont." There is little else to recommend it, as even the MLS description will tell you.

Two blocks away, Fabulous Flippage hasn't yet happened at 702 Belmont for $519,000.00. And if it does, well, we'll have little choice but to eat this blog (in lieu of our pork-pie hats, or crow).

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: In our opinion, Belmont will never be the Rugby Road area, or even North Downtown. It will always have the "ghetto" steps away. It will always be old working class and/or poverty vs. new bourgeois money,
rendering it an economically stratified area, not a "diverse culture." It will always have the tiny dumpish aluminum-siding shacks built on postage-stamp lots--which Oh, Yeah, is the Topic of This Post:


Below we reprint some of the comments generated by the earlier post, Fire Sale in Belmont! Because we couldn't have said it better:

James said,
"These prices are OBSCENE."

said about Belmont,

The first thing I noticed was, despite the hip reputation ("young architects are moving in!!!"), the housing stock was horrible. To put money into any of these houses seemed questionable. It would still be a bungalow with no insulation....[i]t makes sense when the original buildings are worth something. But, although there are about 3 square blocks of Belmont that are superficially "charming," there is no there there for us.

Anonymous #2 points out the many many things a potential buyer needs to look out for, and also points out the 'basics' that these little shacks lack, such as appliances. Additionally,

"These houses are a great example of the kind of property (at least in terms of size and condition) that should be “affordable” for all types of people with below-median incomes in this city – and while they are listed at or near tax assessment values, James is right that the prices are obscene. So, they start at ~$200K, add to that the $5K to $25K+ of work & upgrades that are needed, and you’re looking at a mortgage of well over $1,400 per month (as the original post indicated). If you keep with a recommended housing expense of 30% or less of gross income, you’re asking a very small family or individual with gross annual income of over $55,000 (which I would note is well over the median income for City residents) to move into these very small houses."

And The Myth of Homeownership chimes in on this theme:

"Think about who makes 55thou/year in C'ville. It's people who work at SNL, it's youngish lawyers, it's other young professionals, it's a lot of people who are staff at UVa. Why would they want to live in these down-market places?"

"Anonymous" said,

They need "Affordable Again!" signs. And eventually at least one will have a "Bob did it again!" sign. That guy has a knack for selling the little houses.

Anonymous #1 is of course referring to the co-listing agent, Bob Hughes.

The "Cville Seer" offered a theory on why the properties are on sale.

Yes, The Bubble Blog is very interested in seeing who coughs up the dough here--what misguided first-time subsidized homeowners or tear-down artists.

In our opinion, the Assault on Reason, Taste and Judgment Continues in Belmont. An upcoming post will show you antidotes to these shacks--some properties that are in the 'vicinity' of 'reasonable' pricing. Stay tuned.


Mahalia said...

my head hurts from thinking about how ridiculous this all is, that properties in belmont should be so crazy overvalued

the sellers must either really need the cash or just have their head up a dark place to think that this is a good time to unload

but if they really need the cash they'd offer the properties at a price that's irresistable

David Lewis said...

do a property search on the owner and it's eye opening. cville seer is right.

Anonymous said...

Stumbled upon this on cvilleblogs. Thanks for doing this. I have a lot of friends who can't believe what's been going on in the housing world. Many who will have to leave Charlottesville if they hope to ever achieve the "American Dream" of a white picket fence.

Anonymous said...

As usual, you kids are a combo of genius and hilarity! Thanks for keepting the hook on The Hook! Looooove you!

Anonymous said...

What's next? Selling old slave plantations for 12 mil? Oh, wait, yeah, Dave M's wingman is already doing that....the assault on reasona nd judgment is county wide!