Currently, locally, we've seen millions of dollars in lost equity, and thousands of homes and acres available for sale. Area prices are still dropping and sales are at a 13-year low; many mortgageholders owe more than the house is worth, and foreclosures are rising. Due to lower prices, sales seemed to be keeping pace with 2010, but in August, a significant slowdown began--partly due to seasonality, but also due to lack of interest or qualified buyers, despite historically low interest rates for the 30 yr fixed hovering around 4%.
And with the publication of the 2011 3rd Quarter Market Report from the CAAR and the much more detailed 3rd Quarter Report from Nest Realty Group, combined with the faltering national economy, the Euro crisis, the August debt ceiling/credit rating crisis, plus high structural unemployment, the C'ville Bubble Blog questions and concerns grew more specific.
The C'ville Bubble Blog drew up a list of 10+ questions. The answers have a direct impact on home sales, for both buyers and sellers, today.
But instead of just presenting Bubble Blog opinions, we widened the field to three Realtors. How were they chosen? Fairly simply: they're the ones who have interacted with this blog consistently since its inception in May, 2008. They've offered data, corrections, interpretations, perspective. And that's both on this blog in posts or in comments, as well as in conversations on Twitter.
Importantly, these three Realtors offer differing areas of expertise, diverse perspective and experience, and are local leaders in the profession in terms of sales and reputations.
The 10+ questions will be answered in a series of posts over the next few days. For now, check out the Bios of the participating Realtors. The Bubble Blog bio/perspective is on the sidebar. The list of questions to be answered is beneath the Bios.
Blog: Market Insights
Michael Guthrie began his realty career in Charlottesville in 1982, but moved to Northern Virginia where he spent 22 years in RE, mostly in management or senior management positions. He moved back to Charlottesville in 2005 to become the Principal Broker and CEO of Roy Wheeler Realty Company. In 2009 he was President of the CAAR; he was Realtor of the Year in 2010; and Charlottesville Chamber of Commerce Small Business Person of the Year in 2011. He is a new member of the Board of Directors of the Virginia Association of Realtors. Guthrie is a 50-something who lives in northern Albemarle County. His proudest achievement may be as World Famous Radio Personality on Saturdays on WINA. He recently posted about the health of the C'ville area housing market.
Blog: Greg Slater - Charlotttesville Real Estate Broker
Company site: BHG Real Estate III
Bio from his blog
Bio from Piedmont Construction
Greg Slater has been licensed to sell RE in Virginia since 1997. He joined local firm Real Estate III in 2003; it aligned with Better Homes and Gardens in 2009, and became BHG - REIII. In 2010, Slater was President of the CAAR. His focus is about 75% on new construction, and he takes clients through the entire building process. He's a 40-something who lives with his wife young son in Old Trail, a popular, growing development in Crozet. Slater describes himself as a "Hokie who loves C'ville" - a Virginia Tech graduate who is now surrounded by University of Virginia Wahoos.
Crozet blog: RealCrozetVA
Company: Nest Realty Group
Real Estate Data: The Nest Report
Bio from blog
Jim Duncan is a 30-something Realtor now in his 10th year of the profession. He is a founding partner of Nest Realty Group, a boutique RE firm awarded the 2009 Inman Innovator of the Year Award. What distinguishes him as a Realtor locally--and nationally--is his use of Social Media. The widely-read blog RealCentralVA was one of the First Fifty RE blogs in the nation, founded in January, 2005, and is currently at 3,660 posts; the blog covers RE as well as City and County development, zoning, and politics, local ephemera, and national housing market issues. Duncan is also a veteran on the Twitter, having begun in April, 2007; he has nearly 5,000 followers and is currently at 19,000+ updates. He lives with his wife, a C'ville native, and their children, in Crozet.
1. In reviewing the Virginia Housing Development Authority Presentation to the CAAR, what jumps out at you?
2. Do you have an understanding of the jobs situation in the C'ville Area? Any hopes for housing getting a lift from jobs?
3. What are your hopes or fears for what's being rumored in the mortgage pipeline... 3% interest rates? Do you think more buyers will wait for this? (word is 6-9 months from now)
4. In your experience, OTHER than economic need (i.e., liens, other debts) why don't/won't sellers who CAN, lower their prices? Is there anything you can say/do to convince them of market realities?
5. Care to speculate on where the PRICE bottom is in this market? What quarter? Year?
5a. Care to speculate on when Inventory may be balanced again, neither in favor of buyer or seller?
6. Are there any national economics websites or news sources that you direct buyers or sellers to, in order to assist with an asking or offer?
7. Got any PIIGS/ Euro fears?
8. Any comment on new HARP program, or the rumor of principal reduction that could come with the Attorneys General settlement over MERS / robo-signing? Will this help or hurt the market?
9. In many parts of the US, well-priced NEW construction is pushing the prices down of "used," existing homes. But not in the City of Charlottesville, and not in much of Albemarle (even when seller has equity). Comment?
10. Care to speculate on the proposed Western Bypass and impact on market?