Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Median Home Prices in Charlottesville, Albemarle, and the Latest Case Shiller Index

Standard & Poor's widely-watched 20-City Case Shiller Index of Home Prices is released the last Tuesday of each month.

It tracks the median sales prices of existing single family homes, as well as (since the bubble burst) the decline in pricing. The index runs about two months behind, so March's release is for January 2009.

January 2009, in the 20 metropolitan areas, declined a record 19.0% YoY, the worst decline since the bubble burst.

As we did last month, we took this opportunity to look at Cville Albemarle median prices for the same period, January 2008 v. January 2009. Cville is a little college town with some boutiques and restaurants with aspirations, and Albemarle has some residents with cash, or who make it their second home. But the area is full of houses that have "big city prices"--prices that cannot be justified by local incomes nor job prospects--which is why there are so many unsold houses on the market.


January 2008
Median Price: $246,050

January 2009
Median Price: $199,000

A difference of $47,050
19% decline in price YoY 2008 to 2009

Albemarle County

January 2008
Median Price: $318,450

January 2009
Median Price: $242,032

A difference of $76,418
24% decline in price YoY 2008 to 2009

What the data tells us: (among other things)
  • There are buyers at the lower end of the spectrum. And those buying at the lower end are paying even less than they would have in 2008.
  • While there were buyers at the lower end of what's offered, in January--always the slowest month--this year there were half the number of buyers as the previous year. (21 sales in Albemarle; 7 in the City; a drop of 50-65% YoY).
What the data does not tell us:
  • Size of home, in terms of both square footage and number of rooms, bedrooms, baths.
  • Location of home. Not all locations are created equal, as we all know (though many Realtors might suggest this; "close to UVA" and "downtown" are two of the most overused phrases).
  • Condition of the homes. Did they need some new paint, a new toilet, or new...everything?
  • Whether the sale was a Short Sale or Foreclosure
  • The large amount of inventory at all price points that keeps coming on the market, or the months of inventory, or the Days on Market.
  • Whether buyers intend to live in the house or if it was an 'investment.'
  • Method of payment.
Does this price data mean a seller should adjust the asking price if at all possible?

Of course it does. Any data that a seller currently has available indicates that, wherever possible, prices should be adjusted downward. This is true whether it's national or local data, such as that from the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors, available here. Of course, there are some buyers who can't adjust because they're already underwater, or because selling the house is the last hope after their stock portfolio recently lost 50%. One can only wish these sellers Best of Luck.

Charlottesville and Albemarle Pricing Compared to Major Metropolitan Areas

Last month, we looked at C'ville and Albemarle in comparison to the 20 Cities, as well as other areas of Virginia. The February data was for December 2008 (because, as we reminded you above, Case Shiller is two months behind).

Below are the current median prices; the percentage decline from December 08 to January 09 and the YoY decline are provided in parentheses.

Note: 1) we do not have new numbers for the areas in green, which are in VA; these numbers are from December 08. 2) The median price for Cville and Albemarle is for 2008, not just the month of December.

Atlanta - $125,066 (-3.20 / -14.30%)
Tampa - $144,834 (-4.40% / -23.30%)
Phoenix - $147,326 (-5.50 / -35.00%)
Las Vegas - $173000 ( -4.40 / -32.50%)
Minneapolis - $179,738 (-4.70 / -20.40%)
Charlotte - $184064 (-1.20 / -8.20%)

Prince William County - $172.4

Chicago - $207,782 (-4.60 / -16.40%)
Miami - $225,769 (-3.60% / -29.40%)

Fredericksburg - $235,700
Richmond Metro - $250,100 (Avg. sale price)

Portland - $256,565 (-3.00 / -14.00%

Charlottesville - 2008: $290,000
/ January 2009: $199,000

Washington DC - $295,100
Dulles Area - $211,600

Seattle - $314,168 (-3.60 / - 15%)
San Diego - $324,147 (-2.60 / -24.90)
Boston - $330,665 (-1.50 / - 7.30)
Los Angeles - $344,380 (-2.80 / -25.80)

NoVa - $345,4000

Albemarle County - 2008: $390,000 / January 2009: $242,032

New York - $453,096 (-1.20 / -9.60)
San Francisco - $465,668 (-4.40
/ -32.40)

Below is the Case Shiller Index. Note that the second column is not the price; it is the City's "value" on the index. See note on chart immediately below this text.

Related Reading:
Standard & Poor's Press Release
A Look At Case Shiller Numbers By Metro Area - WSJ
Drop in Home Prices Picks Up Speed in January - WSJ
Calculated Risk Reports on the Data
Localized Market Data, or Why This Market Is Stalled & Prices Are Going Down - RealCentralVA
Median Prices Cville, Alb, 20 Cities - Real C'ville

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What the data should be telling everybody is that if they wait another season to buy, prices will have dropped. They might just be crazy in a year, instead of insane.