Sunday, April 12, 2009

CAAR First Quarter Market Report 2009

Q1 YoY sales are  down 33.9%. Putting the word 'only' in quotes was what CAAR CEO Dave Phillips did as he good-naturedly corrected our numbers. (Welcome back, Dave, long time no blog.)
The Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors First Quarter Market Report will appear on the CAAR blog on Monday. However, it's already available on the internet.

NUMBER SOLD - Includes single family homes, condos, and townhouses

There were 403 homes sold in the Charlottesville area during the first three months of 2009, which was down 33.9% (-207 sales) from 2008.

All local areas were down from last year:

Charlottesville -40%
Albemarle -18.7%
Fluvanna -32.4%
Greene -50%
Louisa -59.6%
Nelson -51.2%
Orange – 36.7%

"Home sales" numbers are as follows, with 2008's number first and 2009's second:

Charlottesville 110/66
Albemarle 171/139
Fluvanna 71/48
Greene 40/21
Louisa 52/21
Nelson 41/20
Orange 30/19

Again, the above numbers represent total sales of single family homes, condos, and townhouses combined. Single family home sales were detailed in an earlier post; Charlottesville -47% YOY, and Albemarle -34%.

Toward the end of the CAAR report is this: "The most important factor in the housing market and the overall economy is consumer confidence." IOHO, the consumer who intends to buy might have more "confidence" if house prices were more in line with the historic home price-to-income and home-price-to-rent ratios, wouldn't they? And the consumer didn't, therefore, fear paying "too much" for what could possibly be a "depreciating asset," yes?

To see the complete CAAR 2009 First Quarter Market Report, go here or here. Reminder: Realtor Jim Duncan at the RealCentralVA blog posted that he'd have a market report up on Monday, April 13; this report typically includes different info than CAAR's.

Related Reading:
Cville/Albemarle Single Family Home Sales Significantly Down Q1 2009
Median Home Prices in Cville, Alb, Compared to Other Markets
Va Housing Development Authority on Cville Area Economic Outlook
Gen Y Priced Out of Cville MSA
Cville Area Unemployment Doubles


Anonymous said...

Is the underlying data used to compile this report available to the public? If not, why not?

Jim Duncan said...

Anonymous -

The data used to compile the market report is not available to the public in a raw format because it it from the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors' MLS - which is owned by the Realtor Association.

Anonymous said...

Jim -- thanks for explaining. Any chance you might include a break down of the market to indicate something about price fluctuations within certain price ranges? The median is rather crude for getting a sense of where the action is (or isn't).

Greg Slater said...


I've had a hunch about what was going on in our market, so I've been watching the percentage of sales under $300k compared to the prior year. The numbers I have pulled are on the contracts as they are happening, not on closed sales. I like to be a little more current and take a "snapshot" of what is happening now. Check this out:

In Albemarle all categories:
1st QTR 2008 261 Contracts
(33% under $300k)
1st QTR 2009 249 Contracts
(74% under $300k)

In Cville all categories:
1st QTR 2008 145 Contracts
(54% under $300k)
1st QTR 2009 87 Contracts
(71% under $300k)

1st QTR 2008 554 Contracts
(54% under $300k)
1st QTR 2009 452 Contracts
(71% under $300k)

I'm no rocket scientist but I think this means when we come back and look at the CAAR report again end of 2nd QTR, median prices are going to move some more.

I have no evidence to support the following but my interpretation of these stats is leaning towards:
1. Some of the increase in sales below $300k is reflective of price adjustments occurring now.
2. The first time home buyer is back and finding some value in our market. It probably has something to do with interest rates and tax credits, along with #1.
3. The urban ring (just outside city in albemarle county) is performing the best in comparison to 1st QTR 2008. Only down 5% year over year in # of transactions.

Time will tell. Regardless of your prediction of where this market is going, the first time home buyer finding value in this market and choosing to buy instead of rent is critical to finding stability.

To answer your question as to where the action is, the answer is under $300k. The data is available to get more price range specific, but I wanted to share the results of my latest anaylsis since it seems pertinent to the on going converstation here.

I really wanted Kenny Perry to win a green jacket.

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

Thanks for posting this data. If you'd like to get more price range and/or type of property specific, folks will appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Greg. What's happening north of $600k? How are sales prices in the $600-900k range comparing to asking prices? I've been arguing with Scott Pershing about this at his blog, and it would be interesting to know more about contracts in that segment of the market (especially for single-family, detached properties in Cville and the "urban ring," as you nicely put it).

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

RealCentralVA's First Quarter Market Report:

And sold properties by type:

Greg Slater said...

I appreciate the desire for more analysis, but there are many ways to twist this rubix cube. I find myself doing very specific analysis to try and quantify trends I "feel" are occurring or to help a buyer or seller I am working with achieve their personal goals.

I'm not sure what argument to which you refer, but I'll try to give you another piece of the puzzle. You must understand, $600-$900k is a broad, diverse cross section of homes, lots, and locations. I don't see many trends that are easy to identify at this level, other than sales are down.

Here are some stats
$600-900k Detached
Active Inventory
Cville 11
ALB (MHS) 38
ALB (AHS) 23

There has only been one closed sale in Cville in this range YTD and there were 3 contracts in the 1st QTR. Compared to 2 for this same period 2008. Not much to discuss here.

In all of Albemarle, there have been 12 closed sales in this range 1st Q 2009. 5 had closing prices 15-24% lower than original list price. 7 were in the 0-10% range.

There were 12 contracts 1st Q 2009 and 24 1st Q 2008.

I can understand how pricing a home in this range can lead to an argument. Its not easy. determining land value is the challenge right now. Development has changes so much, some of the larger lot communities in locations that are desirable and cannot be duplicated now have intangible intrinsic value only determined by an arms length negotiation. I know, that's not saying much. But it is what it is.

Try this brain teaser. Q: If you take the exact same house and put it in Glenmore and Old Trail, which one is worth more? Now move it to a 3 acre lot in the M Lewis Elem School district...

A. Glenmore. Because I love that golf course and my mother in law commutes from Goochland to care for my son!

The real answer: In the absence of quantifiable demand, its mostly subjective. Outside of sales forced by financial hardship, we will find our footing in this market place one negotiation at a time.

Another trend I see is that in the absence of reliable, current sold "comparables", tax assessments creep back into the equation.

Anonymous- I hope this helps. Point me to your argument or be more specific and I will try to help (if I can) and time permitting.

Philip said...

I'm interested in your brain teaser of Old Trail vs. Glenmore because I'm actually planning to look at houses in both places. As you point out, there are numerous variables. But could you actually see the same house in both? Isn't the quality of construction different as well as the quality of the lots they're on? And aren't the communities different? I've been to Old Trail, but not Glenmore.

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

Greg, you've got a good sense of humor. Sorry Kenny Perry didn't win, BTW.

For those who don't know what some of the abbreviations mean, Greg is speaking of school districts:

WAHS = Western Albemarle High School, which is in Crozet
MHS = Monticello High School, which is off Rte. 20 and a "stone's throw" from Jefferson's house, serves (among others) the Lake Reynovia and Mill Creek developments and students from as far away as Scottsville in the south of the County
AHS = Albemarle High School, which is about 2 miles northwest of Barracks Road Shopping Center on 29 (the shopping center is the major one in the City, apart from Downtown, and is v. close to John Paul Jones Arena/North Grounds)

Glenmore vs. Old Trail, Keswick v. Crozet--we hope Greg will take a crack at the distinctions. The original areas v. the planned communities also have very different "feels" to them.

As for Charlottesville, Greg said:
"There has only been one closed sale in Cville in this range YTD and there were 3 contracts in the 1st QTR. Compared to 2 for this same period 2008. Not much to discuss here."

Not much to discuss in terms of sales, that's true, but in terms of properties, there are 11 houses and 9 "other." "Other" includes a condo in Belmont for $895K, which overlooks the train tracks and some a light industrial area on one side and Brown's Mtn/Monticello on the other.

For $895K, you could buy yourself a decent house w/a lot of grass and a view out in the County and still stay at the Omni (since the Landmark is DITW) every weekend for a year.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for your response, which is (once again) very helpful. Your willingness to post some of these numbers, along with your analysis, is much appreciated. I also think you're right that tax assessments are playing a larger role in pricing, for better or worse. There just isn't much else to go on.

Here's a link to the running argument I mentioned above -- but, fair warning, it's property-specific and, well, long ...

Greg Slater said...

I just stopped by to see if there was any response to my comments earlier today and noticed they were not here.

BB- Any sign of them or did I whiff? Not sure how this blog is moderated...

Greg Slater said...

Here goes again:

BB-A sense of humor is vital these days. BTW, I told Mr Duncan earlier and will repeat here. I once contemplated starting a blog. I chose not to b/c you guys set the bar too high.

Philip- There are some similar homes in both places. In atleast two cases, I can think of identical homes. Both places have a large range of lot values, home values, and styles. Both places have featured multiple builders. Glenmore is a private country club and Old Trail has a public golf course. Glenmore is gated. Another difference is the stage of development. Glenmore control has transferred to the owners, since mostly built out. (There is a new phase of lots coming to the market soon.) I'm very familar with both and live in Glenmore. The folks I know in both communities really love it. If you would like to contact me sometime, I'm happy to discuss further.

Anonymous- I tried to read the discussion on Beaumont Farms, but couldnt finish. I will refrain from specific comment since its an active listing and I haven't visited. My "blink" reaction leans towards your opinion since you put your money where your mouth is. That's a real data point. (BTW, I know who you are.)

To switch gears quickly, I wanted to share something I just noticed reviewing activity today.

1. 22 sales were posted today across the mls.21 were under $300k.
Whoever that guy was who pulled the stats on activity under $300k has really got his finger on the pulse......

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

Greg, we do not moderate current comments. Occasionally your own computer or handheld or ISP will just "eat" a comment. Or Blogger, the host, will "hiccup." It has even happened to us. Extremely annoying.

For comments on posts older than two weeks we "moderate," meaning we click a button to approve. We'd prefer not to do this, but it's because about three times a week a spambot travels across an ocean and posts ads in broken English. One day there were 100 comments to delete on 100 different posts, which is a huge waste of time.

Thanks for reading...and commenting.

Philip, a friend in his mid-30's gave this distinction about Crozet v. Keswick (pretty sure neither Glenmore or Old Trail were thought of 25 years ago?) The Keswick of his youth was Old Virginny & Horses and large estates and The Keswick Hunt. Crozet was ex-hippies who'd become doctors, lawyers, U profs, drove Volvos (a Saab was snobby), and had organic gardens before they were popular. How's that for stereotyping?!

Anonymous said...

I would have to think that a house in Glenmore would be worth considerably more than an identical one in Old Trail. Frankly, I'm amazed that there would be any new development in either community given the current housing market and economic outlook. Old Trail is not far along, and I question when, and whether, the community will be completed and live up to its high expectations. That's a risk that has to be considered.

Philip said...

Thanks for comments on Glenmore/Keswick vs. Crozet/Old Trail, which generally confirm my outsider's still mostly unformed impressions.

Anonymous's point that Old Trail is still under development while Glenmore is established is a key one to me. But I wonder how Glenmore would survive an extended economic downturn. How would it affect the amenities? There are a lot of houses, mostly big, on the market there. Any thoughts?

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

Philip, you must also take into consideration how many homes are "second" homes in Glenmore. Not sure who could come up with that number...but it speaks to an economic downturn & explains why there may be so many for sale. Plus, retirees downsizing.

Greg Slater said...

Here's a little more on Glenmore.

There are 38 listings today. This is right in line with historic average. Total inventory 650-700 homes. 22 DOM less than 90. 13 DOM less than 30. So seasonal additions to inventory occuring.

There are 10 listings over $1M.

Glenmore has always been a popular later spring or summer purchase. Pool hopping, golf course greener, more recreational activity, etc.

I don't know anything specific about the country club biz, but there is a pretty good incentive regarding "trial" memberships right now. But most clubs are usually promoting memberships in some way or another. I can say they just replaced the greens on the entire golf course (and they are sweet!) with no special assessment. We have had a modest "cost of living" dues increase each year. BTW, there are a variety of levels of membership depending on which amenities you want to enjoy.

I spoke with someone on Glenmore sales team and second homes are not significant enough to be quantifiable. I do know there are some pretty nice second homes.

At the bottom are the Cottages. Mostly $400's but sometimes into $500's. Mosty retirees in my opinion. Smaller lots, maintenance included, etc. There is a segmnent of these owners that fly south for the winter.

Otherwise, you've got choices from $600k-$1.5M and everything in between.

As for extended economic downturn and its impact at Glenmore, let's hope we don't find out. That will hurt everywhere. You never know in the upper ranges how many homes are mortgage free.

Philip said...

Thanks for your comments. Total inventory 650-700 homes is one of the things I wanted to find out.