Friday, June 3, 2011

100's of New Townhouses and Apartments = More Competition for Charlottesville Albemarle Home Sellers in This High-Inventory Market

100's of new 'luxury,' amenity-filled, low-maintenance, well-priced townhouses and apartments are being rapidly built in the Charlottesville Albemarle area, enticing potential buyers away from the stagnating existing home market.

Forget all the dire news about 9.1% Unemployment and Housing's Double Dip.

What sellers actually need to be concerned about right now is that the people who see the future of the housing market in this area--that is, the developers, the money people--these people are saying, Consumers want new townhouses.  And they're also saying, Consumers want nice apartments.


The big news, via RealCentralVA and Free Enterprise Forum:

 And it's going to be easier than ever to have a "nice place" without buying: 

700+ new apartments are going to be built in the next year along Rio Road, in the area between Towne Lane (near Pen Park) and Route 29; besides "green" Belvedere,  "upscale" housing development Dunlora is in this area, as is the Meadowcreek Parkway (currently closed). 
  • Nearly 300 units at "The Reserve at Belvedere." 
  • Approximately 300 units across from Fashion Square Mall, "Arden Place." 
  • 88 units at an "affordable" housing development built by Albemarle County, Treesdale Park. During the Bubble, there were downpayment assistance programs and grants to help low income families know the joys of owning.
  • The Shops at Stonefield on Rt. 29 at Hydraulic Road intends to have not only shops, restaurants, and hotel, but also luxury apartments.
Additionally, Old Trail in Crozet, the Pavillions at Pantops, Belvedere, Forest Lakes, and Hollymead all also have available, and are adding, Townhouse stock.

Here's why all this high-density building makes sense, and why current sellers should be hysterical concerned:
  • This area is highly transient, and the "short term buyer" has all but disappeared.   In order to just "break even" on a home purchase (agent fees, closing costs, upgrades, taxes, insurance etc), a buyer has to stay put for 7-10 years.  
  • National homownership has dropped down to a level not seen since the year 1998...just since 2005.  The US Census Bureau says the number is actually down to the 1990 level.
  • Many people are choosing to rent instead of buying, waiting until prices stabilize.
  • When buyers do the math on falling prices, it's hard to jump in knowing that even small drops in price mean years of mortgage payments are wiped out.   
  • Gas prices.  
  • The most reliable cluster of "well paying" jobs with transplants needing housing is north of Albemarle County,  in Greene County: NGIC.  A person employed there has to really love driving, and really love dropping wads of cash, in order to consider living in the Western Albemarle/Crozet area or the Keswick/Glenmore area.  Both have 60-90 minute daily commutes--on a good day.  Add up the hours and that's more than an additional day of worklife devoted to driving.
Bottom Line

In Fall 2011, buyers are going to have lots more nice choices--smaller, closer, low upkeep places, as well as the option to put off buying until later.

Current Inventory (June 2, 2011, includes 'proposed')

Albemarle County
850 Single family houses
184 Townhouses
107 Condos

228  Single family houses
41 Townhouses
71 Condos

Yes, sellers can all but forget all the recent bad news, both local and national.  The local news is disturbing enough.

Forget all the recent news about housing's Double Dip.  Forget that some are calling it a Housing Depression.  Forget how low home sales are in the City of Charlottesville.  Forget the falling prices in Albemarle County.  In fact, forget that major price declines hit Central Virginia in Q1.  

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