Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Charlottesville Real Estate Market Update - Feb. Sales, March Inventory 2009

This Charlottesville Real Estate Market Update will cover single-family home sales and inventory in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Condos and townhouses will be displayed in another post. The following info covers January and February sales plus current inventory.

To say this is a "buyer's market" is like saying "the sky is blue." And yet, sales remain painfully slow due to the economy and because buyers expect, in this "new" economy, that prices will reflect realistic property value declines. In the City, the lower end of the market has some movement; a problem, however, is that there's not a quality selection of "starter homes," defined as one in which a couple could reasonably house themselves and 1-2 children for 7-10 years (as opposed to the "starter home" that is a 700-900 sq. ft. single-person, +/-$200K cottage). Many analysts suggest that 5-7 (some suggest as long as 10) years is the amount of time a buyer will need to stay in a house in order not to himself take a loss when selling. If "starter homes" were more "price sensitive," there might be more action. Many sellers are unable to adjust their asking prices, however, because they'll take a loss; they also hope taking a losss is avoidable if they "wait out the market."

Properties that need Jumbo loans are are having an even harder time moving; Jumbo loans require higher FICO, 20% down, and have higher interest rates and fees. The second home and luxury and estate or farmette market is essentially a gigantic iceberg in Albemarle County (and not to be thawed by the change of season).

There are currently 3408 properties on the market in Central Virginia. In Charlottesville and Albemarle, the current total for single-family homes, condos, and townhouses is (March 8) 1231. This number changes daily; it typically rises.


11 homes sold during February 2009
The average sale price was $338K
The average DOM was 127

Compare with:

7 homes sold during January 2009
The average sale price was $238K
The average DOM was 116 days

February had 4 more single-family home sales than January = +36%, and a rise in average price of $100K.

In January and February 2009, a total of 18 single family homes sold.

Compare with previous year:

In January and February 2008, a total of 44 single family homes sold.

26 fewer single family homes sold in '09 than '08, which is a year-over-year decline of -59%.

Prices for February Sales:
$249,999 and below = 8 sales
$350,000-$399,999 = 4 sales

January Contracts: pending, 9; contingent, 14. Total: 23
February Contracts: pending, 10; contingent, 20. Total: 30
23% increase in contracts in February from January

Currently on the market:

Active Listings: 190 single-family homes

Average list price: $375,351
Average Days on Market: 165


22 homes sold during February 2009
The average sale price was $520K
The average DOM was 166

Compare with:

21 homes sold during January 2009
The average sale price was $465K
The average DOM was 123 days

February had 1 more single-family home sale than January.

In January and February 2009, a total of 43 single family homes sold.

Compare with previous year:

In January and February 2008, a total of 77 single family homes sold.

34 fewer single family homes sold in '09 than '08, which is a year-over-year decline of -44%.

35% of sales in Albemarle County this year were priced between $250-$350K.

January Contracts: pending, 21; contingent, 30. Total: 51
February Contracts: pending, 8; contingent, 40. Total: 48
-6% decline in contracts in February from January

Currently on the market:

Active Listings: 611 single-family homes

Average list price: $980K
Median list price: $450K
Average Days on Market: 6 months

Note: Short sales or foreclosures and "For Sale By Owners" may not be represented by these numbers. There are also properties that remain unsold and are currently rentals; in addition, there are sellers waiting for the weather to shift further into Spring before listing. All of this equals the "shadow inventory."

In the News Now:

The Dow goes still lower: 6,547
AIG: Failure will cripple banks, hedges
Realtors "win," Bankers "lose"

Related Posts:

This Is Not What Potential Buyers Want

332 Minor Ridge Road: Foreclosure
Sellers Trapped In Their Homes
Market Update: January Sales, February Inventory


Anonymous said...

"Letting Go of the Dream Price" from Boston Globe:


this is comment 17, and it sounds real familiar!

I am potential FTHB. I am not happy what my money can buy. Leftovers! Homes that are not maintained or updated for decades being sold for top-dollar. Places that many people inherited from their family members and did not invest a dime into it, that are priced sky-high although needing much TLC (read money). I see mostly greed. People around here are complaining about crocked politicians and their greedy ways, but in essence, regular people are not much different given the opportunity. There is something wrong with Eastern MA right now. I do blame RE agents more than sellers because they do push for outrageous prices being addicted to huge commissions for relatively easy work. It is a vicious circle.
I know couple of RE agents, they are located in better towns. They are in total denial as well. It pains me to even talk to them. They are relatively new to the industry 8-10 years now and they do not know better.
Prices will have to drop. When? I do not know. What I do know is that our infrastructure and home stock is very old and is not kept well if at all. It is not as valuable as we would like to think. Lack of maintaince, old age of housing stock and general condition of our infrastructure will come to bite MA very soon. So, something will have to give. Who wants to buy someone "leftovers" for sky high price and then on top of it needs to spend even more to make it half decent? Not to mention sky-high taxes on top of it. I am hoping that this crisis will help eradicate the "entitlement culture" in this area.

charlotte nc real estate mediation said...

what it has to do with main point of real estate. cant understand the whole thing.

Will T. said...

Thanks for this informative post Bubble Blog. As another FTHB, I'm glad SOMEONE took the time to present this data.

As anonymous posted in the comment above "something will have to give." True, but who or what will give?

The Spring RE selling season is almost upon us:

Have sellers been watching HGTV and are frantically sprucing up their houses in anticipation of their new listing?

Are buyers shoring up their credit to take advantage of the low interest rates?

Are RE agents on both sides of the table doing ANYTHING with local market data to better advise their clients?

We'll have to see.

Anonymous said...

Serious buyer . . .
Thank you for publishing the current sales and pending sales numbers along with month over month comparisons.

As Realtors continue to present a very biased sales viewpoint to prospects in the local marketplace, it is good to have a source of objective data.

Jim Duncan said...

Anonymous -

A serious question - which Realtors are presenting "very biased sales viewpoint(s)?

Using the Charlottesville MLS, which is still the best, most accessible source of efficient reporting:

February -

Charlottesville had 29 closed transactions

Albemarle had 39 closed transactions.



michael guthrie said...

I agree with Jim's point here. It is easy to say "Realtors provide very biased view point" without backing that statement up with facts. As I read through many local blog postings, I don't see the very biased view point. I see folks saying, including myself that sellers need to understand that a realistic pricing strategy will be the difference in getting their home sold. Homes that are not in good condition and are priced to high will continue to sit on the market due to our economy, savvy buyers, and the number of existing homes on the market. Buyers have a wonderful opportunity. If they are pre-approved, have some money for downpayment, and are patient they can find a home that meets their criteria and then negotiate a price that works for them.

Greg Slater said...

I am a local realtor and run stats and have been for years. Analysis is a very important part of this business. I enjoy following the analysis of others for a different perspective on the data.

In this case, I do have a question in regards to your technique. I get very different numbers on the following:
January Contracts: pending, 21; contingent, 30. Total: 51
February Contracts: pending, 8; contingent, 40. Total: 48
-6% decline in contracts in February from January

Since your reference pending vs contingent, I assume your using MLS data. Are you saying your research indicates there were 51 detached single family home contract sales in Albemarle in JAN and 48 in FEB?

If so, how did you arrive at these numbers?

I think following the sold data as you have is very important. But I've always been a little more interested in when the contracts occur as an as current as possible indication of what is going on. So when you referenced contract stats for the last two months, I noticed they didnt look right to me. I'm not trying to make an argument but just would like some clarification.

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

The particular "anonymous" who is commenting is known in these parts (here and on RealcentralVA) as "Serious Buyer," and we know that this buyer has not been able to find a buyer's agent who satisfies particular criteria. We have gleaned this from posted comments. And among the criteria is a realistic view of pricing and making an offer. This is a buyer who actively wants to move to Cville and can do a quick, non-contingent closing. This is also a buyer who has been told by several local agents (no names, please!) that the Cville market will continue to hold its value at 20% above the rest of the region, hence the prices are reasonable.

It can't be a surprise to anybody at this point that many folks new to this area or considering relo'ing are struck with "sticker shock" when looking at property in comparison to the cities from which they're moving (large cities, not small cities, like C'ville).

This blog also follows several other buyers at various price points, all of whom have been actively looking for between six months and over a year. All are qualified and eager to move, but none have
found properties that were really "worth" the asking prices that could compel them to move.

Sure, this is just a handful of buyers. But it would make the lives of a handful of sellers and Realtors easier, too, if the transaction were completed!

We're following these buyers so we can in the future offer narratives on their successful hunts/sales (we haven't had an "interview with a buyer" for many months now).

We mention all this, since Michael Guthrie and Greg Slater (President and VP of CAAR) so as new and welcome commenters you know you have an attentive audience.

The buyers that we follow all meet the criteria that Mr. Guthrie mentions (pre-ap, $ down, good cred).

The Boston Globe link in the first comment actually does echo what Michael has said recently, which is that there are some Realtors who are frustrated with sellers who insist on particular prices, when Realtors know better. We've also heard this here and on RealCentralVA.

In terms of numbers, if Jim and Greg disagree with what is posted, how about a text-based version of sales? Jim posted some tables in his sideblog about a week ago; we got several emails saying that the tables were too confusing to follow.

So how about a post that looks something like this?

Charlottesville Singe-Family Homes:

1. How many sold in Jan 09
2. How many sold in Feb 09
what is the percentage change?

3. How many sold in Jan 08
4. How many sold in Feb 08
what was the percentage change?

What is the YOY change from 08 to 09?

What's the Feb 09 median price, average price, and DOM?

What was the Feb 08 median price, average price, and DOM?

What are the changes YOY?

Repeat for January.

What is the current inventory for single family homes March 09 v. March 08?

How many contracts were written in Jan and Feb 09? How many Jan and Feb 08? What is the YOY change?

Repeat for condos, repeat for townhouses.

Then repeat the information for Albemarle, with separate narratives about single-family houses, condos, townhouses.

While many Realtors are interested in ALL the numbers, buyers would like to know how sales are for the kind of properties they're interested in. Surely sellers need this info, as well.

Jim was probably already meaning to do a post like this in the near future....

Cville Buyer said...

Two questions:

1. What do the "live" numbers on the CAAR website refer to? Properties that have CLOSED this month or properties that have gone under contract? Or both?

I've asked this before on this blog or Jim's but haven't gotten a response.

2. Jim, are the links you posted usually available to the general pub?

I appreciate the data being broken down into categories. I'm looking for a single-family home. I don't care how many condos etc. got sold or at what price. I'm interested in what kind of single-family homes are selling, how much they're going for and how people are financing or paying cash.

I'm sure condo buyers couldn't give a fig about how many single-family homes have sold either.

Anonymous said...

why have i been reading things about months or years of inventory? what does this mean? why are there different amounts?

Anonymous said...

Jim, thanks for the links on specific homes sold.
I suggest you provide that kind of info regularly on your blog (or here). It may generate a lot of interest and discussion from potential buyers.

Anonymous said...

where is greg posting the numbers? here or jim's blog?

Jim Duncan said...

Stay tuned, anon - I'll have something up shortly.


Greg Slater said...

Since I brought up the issue with your stats on contracts, I ran some numbers as you requested on contracts, per CAAR MLS.

Single Family - Detached
By Contract Date
JAN 08 52 JAN 09 35
FEB 08 55 FEB 09 44

JAN 08 18 JAN 09 16
FEB 08 33 FEB 09 24

So while there is a YOY decrease, there is a JAN to FEB increase.

Single Fam - Attached aka Townhomes
By Contract Date
JAN 08 17 JAN 09 11
FEB 08 12 FEB 09 21

JAN 08 8 JAN 09 2
FEB 08 9 FEB 09 6

By Conract Date
JAN 08 4 JAN 09 4
FEB 08 6 FEB 09 4

JAN 08 11 JAN 09 1
FEB 09 6 FEB 09 1

I think these stats by contract date are important to watch. I first noticed the YOY decline in April 2007 as compared to April 2006.

As for all of the other information you requested, maybe later. Jim appears to be working on some stats too, so we will see what he comes up with as well.

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

Greg, thanks for posting the numbers. Anon, it doesn't look like Jim is going to post the condo/townhouse numbers, so we'll get to them over the weekend.

Other anon who said

"why have i been reading things about months or years of inventory? what does this mean? why are there different amounts?"

"Months of inventory" refers to how long it will take to sell off all your inventory based on how much has already sold. Say you have 10 sales in January, but 1000 properties. 1000 divided by 10 = 100. At THAT RATE it would take 100 months, or 8+ years, to get rid of all the inventory. That's an EXAMPLE, not the actual number.

There are different numbers bandied around...months of inventory for the entire MLS, vs. months of inventory for Cville/Alb.

NATIONALLY, there is about 11 months of existing homes inventory; in this area, no matter whether you look at the cville/alb area or entire MLS, it's far far more. 11 mos is an oversupply.

Cville buyer: the "live" numbers refer to properties that have gone under contract in the Central VA MLS, not in the Cville Alb area.

Jim will have to answer the other question about the links. We don't think so, though.