Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Single Family Home Sales Jan 1 - June 1: 2010 Sales Are Up Over 2009, But Down Over 2008 For Cville, Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Louisa

The first five months of 2010 beat the "Great Recession," but not the trend in declining single family home sales in this area. 

Published RE data in the area is comparing 2010 to 2009, and there's a sense of relief for  YOY increases.  But this isn't a "turn" in the market: it's a bump up from the Great Recession.    2010's sales are largely the result of extraordinary federal government intervention--homebuyer tax credit and ultra-low interest rates.  

And still, the sales numbers don't beat the numbers from 2008, which was already in decline off 2006's peak.  Yet there's much more inventory.  And take a look at the City of Charlottesville, which is experiencing shockingly low sales.

The sales figures are for January 1 - June 1 for each year.

City of Charlottesville

The first five months of 2010 were the same as 2009, which means a decline of -48% over  2008.

Albemarle County

2008 - 279
2009 - 202
2009 declined -28% over 2008
2010 - 244
2010 increased 20.8% over 2009

2010 declined -13% over 2008

Greene  County 

2008 - 76
2009 - 51
2009 declined -33% over 2008
2010 - 62
2010 increased 18% over 2009 

2010 declined -18% from 2008

Fluvanna County

2008 - 134
2009 - 91
2009 declined -32.1% from 2008
2010 - 100
2010 increased 11% over  2009

2010 declined -25% over 2008

Louisa County

2008 - 82
2009 - 36
2009 decreased -55% from 2008
2010 - 69
2010 increase 92% 2009

2010 declined -15% from 2008

See numbers at this source.

See May Closed Sales 1999-2010

See Graphs and Charts of Cville Area RE Sales 2003 - 2009

Month of May - Closed Sales for Single Family Homes in C'ville and Albemarle: 2010 Sales Are 21% Lower Than 1999

May 2010 beat May 2009, the Great Recession (not hard to do, right?) but closed sales for detached single family homes are less than every other year going back to 1999.

Green line = Detached, Single Family Homes
Blue line = Attached "Townhomes"

Click for larger image in new window.
  • The "attached" category has more number variations.  Townhomes are now more "affordable" than single family homes and many more townhouses are available than pre-2006.  (Think "Pavillions at Pantops," etc.)
  • May closings would have had contracts signed in March and April.
  • Contracts in May collapsed after an April surge to qualify for the 4/30 Tax Cred deadline.
  • June will have a bump up, due to Tax Cred closing deadline of June 30.
  • May 2010 is a one-month snapshot, not an indication of a rise in sales going forward.
  • June may have more closed sales than in 2009 due to closings rushing to beat today's Tax Credit deadline, but based on contracts, it will look like May when compared to historic data.
The image is via/copyright RealCentralVA.
Putting it into historic context  is via C'ville Bubble.

Charts and Graphs 2003 - 2009

5960 Markwood Road: Short Sale $849,900 or Foreclosure $1,150,000

5960 Markwood Road in Earlysville is among the million $ foreclosure auctions today on the steps of the Albemarle County Courthouse.  Foreclosure auctions can be canceled up to the last moment.

The property has also been listed as a short sale.  Purchased in 2007 at 7.25% interest rate, the house and property are assessed at $1,132,700.  Sold "As is."  Click for larger image in new window.

Either way, the bank's taking the loss on this one.  If the property forecloses, it will be available for resale at even less than the short sale amount.

Image copyright Trulia.

Glenmore's Michael Comer To Be Sentenced For Embezzlement, Money Laundering

Michael Comer,  ex-Country Club President and Home Owners Association Treasurer for Glenmore in Keswick, was scheduled for sentencing today.  He faces stiff fines and up to 120 years in prison. **UPDATE: Comer to be sentenced August 3, due to prosecutor appearance conflict.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

More Million Dollar Foreclosure Auctions Scheduled in Albemarle County

Google shows some of the debtors are horse and RE industry types. Some of the same debtors also appeared in May's record day of $21M in scheduled auctions.

2010 Foreclosures Surge Over 2009
April's Million Dollar Foreclosures in Albemarle County
High-End Defaults and Foreclosures in C'ville/Albemarle

"The Next Leg Down in Housing" Explained - Home Prices to Decline to 1999 Levels on a National Basis

Locally, the drop in sales/contracts has already started with the expiration of the tax cred."  June's asking price will be August's anomaly.  Even an employment bump won't eradicate the area's massive inventory,  for years.   

New Home Sales have collapsed to record lows, and Existing Home Sales declined in May.  The Big Picture has a brief recap of the national housing/credit bubble and explains why prices will continue falling due to
[...] traditional metrics. Whether we are looking at US housing stock as a percentage of GDP or Median income vs home prices or even ownership vs renting costs, prices remain elevated. Indeed, we see prices remain above historic mean.

Consider price relative to income. From 1977 to 2010, the median US home price was 4.1 times median household income. But as the chart below shows, Home prices are still above that mean. Oh, and that mean is artificially elevated due to the 2002-07 boom. Same with home prices relative to rentals, or housing value as percentage of GDP.
A Forbes Op-Ed by Richard Suttmeier points out There is no double-dip, just a continuation of the Great Recession.

Sellers might want to ignore national data or projections, but local buyers know they shouldn't.  It's all connected.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New Home Sales Collapse 33% To Record Low

This morning's post was about May's drop in existing home sales and the economic indications of housing's "double dip"--sales and prices going down.  And now this: May new home sales plunged after the Homebuyer Tax Credit expired April 30.  Not only was the decline from April to May the worst on record, but sales dropped nearly 19% from May 2009.  And as the linked CNBC article points out,
Last month's weak sales pace saw the supply of homes available for sale jumping a record 46.6 percent to 8.5 months' worth, the highest in nearly a year, from 5.8 months' worth in April. However, the number of new homes on the market dipped 0.5 percent to 213,000 units, the lowest since November 1970.
 Below is CalculatedRISK's graph of monthly new home sales, Not Seasonally Adjusted.  Click for larger image in new window.

CalculatedRISK also has a graph that shows new and existing home sales; the term "distressing gap"  initially referred to distressed sales (foreclosures, short sales) that kept new home sales lower because the distressed sales were so much cheaper.  Click for larger image in new window.

It looks like The Fed will leave interest rates unchanged for years, so here are some other things to read.

Late June, Existing Home Sales Decline: And Here Comes Housing's Double Dip

 *A Blistering Ride Through Hell: Key Housing Charts - by mortgage guru Michael David White

*May's Existing Home Sales Fall: Closed Contracts Down, Despite Tax Credit - The Big Picture

*Is the Drop in Home Sales Good? - With interesting numbers - CNBC's Diana Olick

*Months of Supply and Prices and YOY Increase in Inventory - CalculatedRISK 

*Home Prices Bottoming in 2013 - Gary Shilling

*Fannie and Freddie Bailout at $146B and Taxpayers' Cost Rising - NYT

*Mortgage Modifications and the HAMP program are failing, which means on a national basis, more foreclosures - CalculatedRISK

*The Obama Admin will now have a "Monthly Housing Scorecard"

*Is It Time To Dismantle the "American Dream?" - NewGeography

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

716 Wolf Trap Road - After Foreclosure, Bank's Price is $97k Less Than Previous Asking Price

Looking for rural County land?  Here's a "deal" and a new "Comp." Foreclosures that have returned to the market are often priced much lower than what a typical  individual seller needs/wants to make for a sale. 

The previous owners weren't able to sell 716 Wolf Trap Road in Albemarle County for $428,900.  The 3 acre place with 4 bed house plus tenant apt  is about 5.5 miles from the Downtown Mall, north on Route 20, and looks like an appealing spread.  But even in this "buyer's market," will the bank be able to unload this "farmette" for $332k?  The price is about $10k less than what the bank (the Government, Federal Home Loan) paid in March, and $10k less than current assessment

The First Quarter of 2010 saw a 72% increase over '09 in foreclosures in this area, and the number is continuing to rise.

Click for larger images in new windows.

Here's a shot of the current listing, which is also available here by inputing MLS #.

Old, pre-foreclosure listing:

More foreclosure listings are available here and here. 

Images copyright CAAR.

Monday, June 21, 2010

1923 Meadowbrook Road: Can Congressman Tom Perriello Help Sell This House?

Thomas Jefferson, Edgar Allan Poe, William Faulkner,  Dave and Coran: all have made cameo appearances in local RE listings.  And now they're joined by the Freshman from the Fifth. 

1923 Meadowbrook Road is currently owned by a UVA architecture professor; was purchased for $460k in 2001; and the tax assessment is $830k.

The grammatically incorrect, incomplete final sentence intrigues. 

Click for larger image in new window.
  Image copyright CAAR.

What If Elected and Hired City Officials Were Required to Live in High-Density Public Housing?

Then perhaps this option, which current residents are opposed to, might actually be a viable way to transform Charlottesville's ghettoes historically blighted public housing, which includes Westhaven and Friendship Court. 

Shouldn't Councilor Holly Edwards; chair of the housing authority Jason Halbert; and housing authority exec director Randy Bickers be pledging to live with their families in what they describe so positively?
In the past, some residents have expressed apprehension about adding too much housing and packing residents in too tightly.  But density also has benefits, said Halbert.

"Studies have shown we can help improve the neighborhood itself and actually the individuals living in that neighborhood," Halbert said of having mixed-income and more diverse neighborhoods.
Hey, people.  Support your ideas and idealism with your physical presence.  Promise to move there.
(Excerpt from above-linked DP story; emphasis BB's)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Single Family Home Sales in C'ville Through June 1: Same in 2010 As 2009, Which Means 48% Lower Than 2006...

Wait a minute.  This is the City of Charlottesville, a "World Class City," the cultural heart and soul of Central Virginia.  And yet, the "American Dream" of owning a single family home is about half-dead in the City.  Hey...what's up with that?

Oh.  Right.  It's that pesky matter of pricing.  And lack of short-term buyers.  And lack of move-up buyers.  Difficulty getting a mortgage.  And...etc.

At the beginning of June 2009, there were 205 single family homes for sale in C'ville.  At the beginning of June, 2010, there were +/- 260.

As already noted: the Homebuyer Tax Credit had no impact on closed sales 1January-1May, 2010.

 Sales are at the same level in 2010 as they were in 2009, the depths of the Great Recession: 

Here's Nest Realty Group's graph from June 11, 2009: Sales Dropped -48% 2006-2009.
(Click for larger image in new window)

Below, the "new" column is "inventory"; contracts rose in April but declined in May, as did sales: via Pam Dent Charlottesville Real Estate Talk (Click for larger image in new window)

Pricing: May Average Sale Price is down $68k '10 over '09; Median down $25k '10 over '09. (Click for larger image in new window)

Sales in various segments around the area have been picking up--though depending on the segment, some are also still below 2008 (which means 2007, and 2006....) but no, not in the City.  

Graphs/Charts/text as noted copyright Realtor Pam Dent, Nest Realty Group, Realtor Jim Duncan.

Related Reading:
Single Family Home Contracts Jump In April, Plunge in May After Tax Cred Expires
Here's Why Prices in the C'ville Area Will Continue to Decline
Foreclosures in C'ville Area Up 72% Q1 10 over 09

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bill Would Extend Closing Time For Homebuyer Tax Credit Contracts...and Fraud

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) has attached a bit of legislation to a bill that would allow those who signed the Homebuyer Tax Cred by April 30 to close by September 30, rather than the original June 30.

Sales of single family homes in C'ville and Albemarle bounced up before the deadline, and then dropped significantly, following a national trend.   With contingencies, inspections, appraisals, credit approval just before loan dispersal, there are all sorts of ways a contract can fall apart. 

But one way shouldn't be due to sheer volume.  The idea for extension is to deal with volume.  Too, many tax credit sales will be for short sales and foreclosures, which have so much paperwork, they will take longer than "traditional" sales to close. Read. 

However, this also opens the way for certain parties to commit fraud.  Tax fraud is a federal offense.  Who'd do this for $6,500 - $8,000k?  ....Oh, yeah, people who don't have any $ to put down on a house.  But that's an awfully big risk that could equal time in the Big House.  Read 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Homebuyer Tax Credit: Single Family Home Contracts Jump in April, Plunge 50% in May For C'ville and Albemarle, Drastically Below Earlier Years

This area followed the national trend of bumped-up contract signings by April 30 for the expiration of the Homebuyer Tax Credit, with a reactive decline in May.  

Fannie Mae's Chief Economist noted the tax cred shifted demand forward but did nothing to change the market, even while creating momentary, unsustainable price appreciation.

Experts say up to 20% of pending contracts nationwide will not close.

EVEN WITH THE FED GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIZING MORTGAGE RATES AND OFFERING UP TO $8k CASH VIA TAX CRED, SALES CONTINUE TO DECLINE IN THE AREA: below is a chart showing pending contracts for the Charlottesville MSA during May 2010; this includes Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Nelson: Contracts decline over 2009.

Chart shows a -55% decrease from May 2004 to May 2010. (Click for larger image in new window.  Chart via

CHARLOTTESVILLE ALBEMARLE DEMAND RISES: April 2010 single family home pending contracts rose +/- 36% (reading April 2009 as 110 and April 2010 as 165).  (Click for larger image in new window. Chart via
CHARLOTTESVILLE ALBEMARLE DEMAND DROPS:  Pending contracts for single family homes in May 2010 fall about -30% from May 2009, even though last year was the middle of the "Great Recession" (reading the chart as 120 in 2009 and 85 in 2010).  (Cick for larger image in new window. Chart via RealCentralVA)
BELOW: When April and May are combined, a slightly higher tax-credit bump-up emerges: about 25 more contracts in 2010 than Recession 2009.  And both years are still less than every year going back to 1999.   Not really sure what the focus of this chart is from RealCentralVA, btw.  Is it supposed to suggest that, going forward through June and July, contracts will rise?  The previous two charts showed the rise to be correlated with Federal Government Subsidies. Still, June typically has more sales than April, as this area is more tied to school year than many.  (Click for larger image in new window. Chart via

As noted in May, the Homebuyer Tax Credit did nothing to increase Q1 closed sales of single family homes in the City of Charlottesville, which were the same as 2009 and  43% lower than 2008.  It did, however, have an impact on Albemarle County single family home sales, which rose.

Inventory will continue rising, and since there are so few buyers, short sales and foreclosures will rise, too.  Read a full area forecast here.  (Declines are inevitable unless, of course, cash starts raining from the clouds; anything's possible, it's just not probable).

Charts are via/copyright 

See also: June 2010 Inventory and C'ville Asking v. Selling Prices.

Related Reading: 
America is Fantasyland
CNBC: Housing Double Dip a Done Deal
Zillow: No Housing Bottom Yet

Monday, June 7, 2010

1214 Rugby Road - Price Reduced $700K - Remains the Most Expensive Listing In Charlottesville At $4.6M

1214 Rugby Road, designed by Eugene Bradbury,  is on 2 acres at the corner of Rugby and Oxford in the heart of the City.  The current owners bought at the top of the market in 2006 for $2.9 million.  1214 Rugby is currently assessed at $2.5M, after extensive renovations.  

“We’ve had a lot of strong interest and several showings,” said Sally Du Bose, the agent representing the home for Virginia Real Estate Partners, when it was featured in C-VILLE in April.  (Click for larger image in new window)
A 13% price drop isn't a 52% price drop.  But is it enough to get the place sold?
 Read Brendan Fitzgerald's C-VILLE article (subtitled "Will it go down in history, or in price?") here.
The CAAR data (which will expire when the listing does) is available here.
Image copyright CAAR.

"15 States Where Foreclosures Are Still Surging" - Includes Virginia

BusinessInsider has the details.   Virginia is up 19% since March.  The C'ville area saw a 72% increase in Q1 10 over 2009. As this blog noted the other day: it's not just that lots of folks are losing their homes, but that in this area, almost as many homes got repo'd in foreclosure as got sold.  This creates inventory overhang and if this were a "consumer sensitive" market, it would create a downward trend toward price correction.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

April 2010 Unemployment Figures for Central Virginia

...released in June.  The area's unemployment more than doubled in the past 18 months and remains much higher than before the "Great Recession."   nb: The City of Charlottesville has had some wide percentage fluctuations that even statisticians can't account for ("sampling anomaly"?) during the 1st Q, which included a bump to 8% two months ago.  Read.

Related Reading: Private Sector Job Growth Ends in Charlottesville Albemarle

Friday, June 4, 2010

Stocks Fall Below 10,000....Again

"After staying above 10,000 for days, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 323.31 points, or 3.2 percent, to close at 9,931.97.

The Labor Department’s report showed that the private sector created a mere 41,000 jobs in April, far short of expectations of 150,000 to 180,000.  And the number of long-term unemployed...remained at its highest level since...the 1940s.

Adding to the unease were concerns that the financial troubles in Europe, particularly in Greece, Portugal and Spain, might be spreading to Hungary...."
 From the NYT. 

Related Reading:
Crash Chatter
Private Sector Job Growth Ends In Charlottesville / Albemarle

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Foreclosures in the Charlottesville Area, First Quarter 2010 - Up 72% Over Q1 2009

*Update at bottom.

That's an attention-getting headline, but it's also the way the Virginia Association of Realtors is charting foreclosures.  See Figure 1.

Not only has foreclosure activity increased, but because sales remain low, the number wipes out any progress in lowering area inventory.  The Cville Area had 306 foreclosures in Q1There were 436 sales during Q1 2010 The foreclosure number is 71.18% of the "sold" number: these properties are now part of the "shadow inventory" that will appear for resale, cheaper, over the next 18 months, adding to the glut of homes already available.

Charlottesville had the second highest increase in the State, behind the New River Valley for YOY comparison; the NRV, home of Virginia Tech, had a 100% increase.  That area has a higher unemployment rate (though much lower home prices; higher priced Option ARMs are a growing problem in the Cville area).

The third chart  shows 2009 foreclosures by Quarter.  Q1 2010 was little changed from Q3 and Q43. 2009.  

Figure 1: Percent Change (click for larger image in new window)

Figure 2 Foreclosures Q1 2010 (click for larger image in new window)

Figure 3 Forcelosures 2009 (click for larger image in new window)
*UPDATE: 6/1 pm  NBC29 picks up the story.  They forgot to link, but they have an interview with Jim of RealCentralVA and the local sheriff.

FOR FORECLOSURE HELP, see links in blog's sidebar.

Charts copyright Virginia Association of Realtors; available here.
A NYTimes article highlights the hundreds of thousands of people who have stopped paying their mortgages, no stigma, and stay put for and average of 18 months. 

Charlottesville Albemarle Area Real Estate - Inventory Update

3,679 - Current number of all properties available in the Central Virginia Area, right around where it was last year.  For perspective, see this post on 1Jan - 1May contracts 2009.

2,779 - Current number of all properties available in Charlottesville, Albemarle, Greene, Louisa, Nelson, Fluvanna (*see comparison, below)

1,523 - Current number of all properties available in Charlottesville and Albemarle

261 - Charlottesville Single Family Homes Available

870 - Albemarle Single Family Homes Available

May 31 2010

Even as sales increased during May, inventory kept piling on.

May 1 2010
Note drop overnight between April 30 (below) and May 1 (above)...due to properties going under contract for expiration of tax credit as well as expired listings.

April 30 2010

March 31 2010
Inventory boxes appear at and are copyright same.

Inventory and Sales 2006, 2007, 2008 for Cville, Albemarle, Greene, Louisa, Nelson, Fluvanna, from RealCentralVA 2009 Mid-Year Report:  (click for larger image in new window)

Related Reading:
Homebuyer Tax Cred and Albemarle County SFH Sales
Foreclosures in Cville Area Up 72% Over Q1 2009 
Asking Price v. Selling Price Charlottesville Single Family Homes 
Homebuyer Tax Cred and Cville SFH Sales

Asking Price v. Selling Price for Charlottesville Single Family Homes

A comment after this post about single family home sales in the City of Charlottesville stated the asking prices is the accepted price until its changed by the sellerRealtor/Blogger Jim Duncan offered the following document of asking v. selling prices refuting this statement.

In the original location of this post, he mentions that the document doesn't cover all price changes or asking prices or relistings.  So people who watch the City market closely will recognize some properties that spent a long time on the market and had significant price reductions that aren't included in the document: 

1627 Greenleaf Drive - Greenleaf
Most Recent Asking $219k - Sold $180k - gut job, Original Asking $250k 

701 West Street - 10th and Page 
Most Recent Asking $299k - Sold $289k, Original Asking $375k Jan 09 and earlier 

756 Lexington Ave - North Downtown
Most Recent Asking $379,500k -  Sold $370k  Original Asking:  $415k June '09 

1008 Calhoun - North Downtown
Most Recent Asking $375k - Sold $360k, Original Asking $525k

211 Alderman Road - UVA/Observatory area
Most RecentAsking $699k - Sold $667.5k  Original Asking $850k May '09

106 Minor Road - UVA/Observatory area
Listed on document as Asking $699k - Sold $660k.  Did contract fall through?  Now listed For sale $525k

Single Family Home Sales In Albemarle County, 1 Jan - 1 May - Rising

There was a small impact on sales of detached single family home sales closed during the First Quarter of 2010: 103 vs. Q1 2009: 91, or 11+% increase.

April 2010, however, saw a 38% increase in closed sales: 62 in 2010 vs. 38 in 2009.

Median Sales Price declined to about $360,000 or -7.5% over the last year.

It's also likely that there was a bump in signed contracts during late March and April, before the Homebuyer Tax Credit expired on April 30. These sales won't close, and be counted as the months' sales, until July and August.

Single Family Home Sales in Albemarle, image copyright Nest Realty Group (Click for larger image in new window)
 Related Reading:
Homebuyer Tax Credit and Charlottesville Single Family Home Sales

Blog Note

The C'ville Bubble Blog, covering the Charlottesville Albemarle area real estate market from May 2008 - May 2010, is undergoing format and content transformation.  Some posts may be periodically unavailable when sorted by date, week, month, or label, and the user will receive an error message.

The Virginia Housing Development Authority Review of Regional Market Conditions and Trends

Presented to the CAAR in February 2010:

Review of Regional Market Conditions and Trends