Every month, sales and pricing data confirm: the housing market is not going to "recover" in 2011, in the Charlottesville area nor the United States.
As is true every Spring, sales in this area will rise before contracts drop again in August; and some localities in Central Virginia are starting to have sales nearing the Tax Credit juiced sales of 2010--because prices are dropping.
But Charlottesville continues to fare badly.
Below are City of Charlottesville numbers; we covered Albemarle County Q1 earlier and pricing info is here: Major Price Declines Have Hit Central Virginia.
Sellers in Charlottesville continue to struggle in getting their single family homes to contract. Sales in the first four months of 2011 (1 Jan- 30 April) declined -15% over 2010, while median price declined 3.3%.
Sales by month: January - 17, February - 7, March - 16, April - 15
Charlottesville Pending Contracts Decline in 2011: Fewer contracts were written in Q1 2011 than in 2010, so going forward, sales will be lower. Of course, not even all of these will close because some with "contingencies"--especially the need to sell current home--will be unsuccessful. Image via Nest Realty Group Q1 Report.
Charlottesville Inventory: There are currently 240 single family homes listed for sale in Charlottesville. At April's rate of sale, there are currently 16 months of inventory. A "balanced" market is 6 months.
Charlottesville Sales: 2011 sales are 22% lower than 2008. While folks certainly took advantage of the Homebuyer Tax Credit last year, which expired on April 30, the credit had negligible net impact in raising City of Charlottesville sales from previous years...though when the Tax Cred expired, sales all over this area plunged.
Charlottesville Median Price: The Charlottesville single family home median price declined 3.3% (April 2011 $250k v April 2010: $258.5K).
Nest Realty Group addressed this headscratcher succinctly in their Q1 2011 report:
"The conundrum continues. In a time when gas prices are reaching an all-time high* and 'Location. Location. Location.' is the core of many purchasing decisions, the City continues to be one of the worst performing areas in Central Virginia. Single family and attached home sales are down from Q1 2010[....]Surprisingly, median prices in the City haven't decreased much...which could be the reason sales have continued to lag. In other segments of the Central Virginia real estate market, prices have corrected, buyers have seen value, and they've decided to jump into the market."[Emphasis ours.]
*Gas prices are about $1.35 higher than May 2010
If you scan the City listings, a number of things jump out:
a) Many are quite small (even in the days of "Green" downsizing, 750 sq ft for $200k (750 sq ft that's not luxe) seems
b) Much of the stock is old and unimproved;
c) Many are in neighborhoods that did not (and now, bubble over, will not) "gentrify"
d) There are long-term owners who don't need to sell, and are content to sit on their prices;
e) Conversely, there are bubble-era buyers who are now sellers: they have reduced their asking to about 5% less than what they paid--but have not yet opted for a short sale or strategic default;
f) In the "better" neighborhoods the price per sq foot is often exorbitant;
g) The temporary buyer (medical residents, students, short-term jobbers) here, as everywhere else in the USofA, rarely buy;
h) the biggy: as Nest points out, buyers can get much more, and much nicer, out in the Counties--for less, and for a lower tax rate;
i)In the Rugby Road / Lewis Mtn Road areas you now see price reductions of several hundred thousand dollars--and no sale.
Charlottesville Single Family Home Sales 2009 and 2010
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The above Chart is from this post (orig. via Jim Duncan).
What Price Properties Are Selling in This Area? This price pie is January- 1 April 2011, and is by and copyright Pam Dent at Charlottesville Real Estate Talk.
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