Welcome! This blog tracks the real estate market in the Central Shenandoah Valley, featuring market data and analysis, an exploration of common buying and selling questions, and candid commentary on all things real estate.
If you are interested in discussing any of the topics on this blog, or the details of your specific real estate situation, call or e-mail me!
Finally, the weather is warming up, and homeowners are putting their houses on the market. Inventory levels are starting to increase in the typical spring surge.
Good for buyers --- more options.
Not quite as good for sellers --- more competition.
The City of Harrisonburg may increase its tax rate from $0.63 (per $100 of assessed value) to $0.69. This would be a 9.5% increase in real estate taxes for property owners in the City of Harrisonburg.
This would still leave us with a very low tax rate compared to many other areas around Virginia:
As noted in today's in depth article in the Daily News Record:
Under the fiscal 2015 proposal to raise the rate 6 cents, the owner of a city home valued at $ 150,000 will pay $ 1,035 in real estate taxes, compared to $ 945 now. A house valued at $ 200,000 will be taxed at $ 1,380 next year, according to the draft. That owner pays $ 1,260 now.Read the DNR article here, and view the proposed City budget here.
There are LOTS of ways to answer this question, usually within the context of a monthly payment....
These conversations can be had with your spouse, with your loan officer, with me, etc. -- the important part, however, is to have these conversations. We need to know how much money you want to spend on your new home, so that we can be looking for the right houses for you!
Per NerdWallet, Harrisonburg is Virginia's fastest growing City.
Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains in northwestern Virginia, Harrisonburg's 32.1% income growth, plus growth in population and jobs sent it to the top of our list. The area has a farming tradition, but science and academics are now leading industries in town. DBT Data operates a cyber integration center in Harrisonburg and SRI International, a bioscience research corporation, recently expanded its offices in town. The area is also home to James Madison University, which has an enrollment of more than 18,000 students per year. City planners project that Harrisonburg will claim more than 60,000 residents by 2030. In preparation for new residents and future growth, the city is following its Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance plan to make downtown Harrisonburg a destination for the region and an engine of economic growth. The whole city's pitching in- volunteers have logged more than 85,000 volunteer hours so far on the project.Per the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce, we are also one of the top 20 emerging metro areas.
Per the proposed budget published in the Daily News Record on 04/14/2014, Rockingham County is not proposing an increase in the real estate tax rate.
If the budget is approved as proposed, the tax rate would remain at $0.64 per $100 of assessed value.
Click here to view the entire proposed budget.
Above you can see the changes in inventory levels over the past year in four price ranges....
Under $200K (-1%)
$200K - $300K (-15%)
$300K - $400K (+50%)
Over $400K (+13%)
Learn plenty more about our local housing market at HarrisonburgHousingMarket.com.
Featured Property: 310 Victoria Drive, Bridgewater, VA 22812
I just published my monthly report on the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County real estate market -- click here to review the entire report online -- or click here to download the full PDF. Below are a few highlights you might be interested to know about....
As shown above, home sales in March were the lowest that we have seen over the past several years. This is undoubtedly due to the absurdly low temperatures this winter PLUS the many snowfalls PLUS the many days that schools were closed. Now that the warmer weather is upon us we will hopefully see an increase in home sales come April and May.
We also saw a smaller number (91) of buyers sign contracts during March as compared to last March (114) --- though an increase from March 2012 (87). Let's hope that the warm Spring days of April will lead to many (many!) buyers going to see houses and sign contracts.
A significant part of whether buyers will write offers is related to whether they are finding compelling houses on the market -- and we're finally starting to see increases in inventory levels. These new listings will hopefully rejuvenate buyer interest and get them off of the sidelines and into the buying market.
Amidst a few market indicators that aren't as positive as they could be, here is one bright spot --- sales prices of attached dwellings (duplexes, townhouses, condominiums) are going UP!
Want to know more? Get all the juicy details in the full report. Read it online or download the PDF.
As always, if you're interested in talking to me about buying a home in Harrisonburg or Rockingham County.....or if you are interested in selling your current home.....just drop me a line by email (scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com) or call me at 540-578-0102.
JMU (the James Madison University Board of Visitors) recently closed on the purchase of a property on the corner of South Mason Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. This purchase included an unimproved parcel of land, as well as a parcel of land improved by the building pictured above.
The property that was recently purchased is situated between what used to be Rockingham Memorial Hospital (and is now the University Health Center, etc.) and a parcel of land on South Main Street owned by JMU that has been discussed as the potential site of a hotel and conference center ("Hotel Madison").
How can you know about these interesting property transfers?
To stay up to date on property transfers in this area, simply visit HarrisonburgPropertyTransfers.com and subscribe to the weekly email list to receive these updates.
Townhouses are now for sale in Section 2 at The Townes at Bluestone, starting at $184,900.
You can see the location of the first two buildings, as well as the pricing, here, and you can view and download the floor plans here.
If you are looking for a NEW townhouse in the City of Harrisonburg, The Townes at Bluestone may be a great option for you.
Find out more at TheTownesAtBluestone.com, or let me know (540-578-0102) if you would like to meet me over at the model home to take a look at the community.
Mark your calendars, and plan to come out to the 2014 Home & Garden Show at the Rockingham County fairgrounds this Saturday and Sunday:
As Charles Hendricks notes, over at HarrisonburgArchitect.com....
The Home and Garden show is a great kick off to spring each year, giving you access to the best and brightest in the home industry in our area.
Find more more via Facebook.
Many people I talked to during March said it seemed as if LOTS AND LOTS of properties were going under contract during March.
As it turns out (shown above) there were only 91 contracts signed during March 2014. This is roughly the average of the number of contracts seen per month during the previous six months of March.
I had hoped for better --- though perhaps the shortage of buyers signing contracts is related to the low inventory levels, leaving buyers with a smaller number of choices than they would like to have.
(Some) new listings are selling FAST! For all of you out there who are trying to keep up with new listings coming on the market, you can bookmark this website....
click here to sign up to receive a daily email with ALL new listings in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.
Much to some home sellers' dismay, my post yesterday was merely an April Fools Day joke.
So, where do we really stand as far as current inventory levels?
There are more homes (+20) on the market as compared to a month ago --- but there are fewer homes (-29) on the market as compared to a year ago.
Sellers -- you will likely have the least competition (from other sellers) now --- if you're listing your home this spring, consider doing so NOW!
Buyers -- be encouraged, inventory levels are starting to increase, and you should have further options of homes to buy as we continue through the next 15, 30, 60 days.
Apparently, all we needed were a few warm days....
Inventory levels have drastically declined over the past week --- confirming that there really were plenty of home buyers in the market, but that they snow and frigid temperatures were holding them back.
After inventory levels stayed relatively constant through the end of February, buyers came out in full force during the last week of March to write contracts on nearly every home on the market!
There are now only 41 homes remaining in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County!
The only question that remains at this point is whether enough homeowners will put their homes on the market in April to replenish the supply of homes for sale.....
......oh, and I suppose the other remaining question is whether you fell for my not-really-believable-at-all April Fools joke. :)
What a great story in The Washington Post about Route 11 Potato Chips, located in Mount Jackson, VA.
"Our focus, from day one, was to make a potato chip that's just better than the rest," says Sarah Cohen, Route 11's owner. "We're making the same exact potato chip that we started with 20 years ago. When we started, we were a 60-pound-per-hour producer. When we came here, we made it to 600 pounds an hour. We know we're small. Frito-Lay is like 600,000 pounds an hour."Read the story at The Washington Post, or click here for a printable version.
As suspected a few years ago, the location of the new hospital (now Sentara RMH Medical Center) did indeed bring with it plenty of additional commercial (and residential) development in its immediate vicinity.
Earlier this week, the Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning request for "Coffman's Corner" -- a new commercial development intended to be developed at the intersection of Stone Spring Road and Port Republic Road, and with frontage on Ridgedale Road. It is a small, and somewhat irregularly shaped piece of land, so much so that it won't have a VDOT road system -- it will have private roads, maintained by a Property Owners Association.
County staff approved this rezoning in February 2014, and the Planning Commission on March 4, 2014. This property is across the street (more or less) from The Reserve at Stoneport, an upscale apartment complex currently being constructed.
Per the developer's narrative....
Board OKs Land For Development (Daily News Record, March 28, 2014)
Details from the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors Agenda Packet
Buyers across the country have spoken -- the graph above shows the information sources that are used "frequently" during the home search process.
I will be working hard to find you the HOME OF YOUR DREAMS -- but statistics show (see above) that two-thirds of buyers have to compromise in some way on the home that they purchase.
Of note, neighborhood and location don't seem to be areas where most buyers are willing to compromise.
A quick update on mortgage interest rates....
So far, mortgage interest rates are staying below 4.5%, other than for two weeks at the very start of this year.
These current rates (4.3% - 4.4%) are still WONDERFUL from absolutely ANY long term perspective.
Money is cheap --- if you're buying a home now, you'll be locking in your housing costs at historically low levels.
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