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!
The fundraising campaign for building a park in Downtown Harrisonburg kicked off last evening with an event at Pale Fire Brewing Co. with the exciting announcement that $500,000 has already been raised for the project!
The park is estimated to cost $5.5 million to be built, and will be built on 4.2 acres of city-owned land including the municipal parking lot on South Liberty Street, the Harrisonburg Farmer's Market Turner Pavilion and the grassy lawn area next to the parking lot.
Construction on the park is expected to start in 2017.
View the layout of the park and learn about opportunities to support this effort by visiting BuildOurPark.org.
Read today's Daily News Record article here.
My house is next to the railroad tracks, but all of the potential buyers (who did not make an offer on my house) didn't complain about price, they complained about the railroad tracks.
My house has an unbelievably steep driveway, but all of the potential buyers (who did not make an offer on my house) didn't complain about price, they complained about the steep driveway.
My house is needs many cosmetic updates, but all of the potential buyers (who did not make an offer on my house) didn't complain about price, they complained about the need for cosmetic updates.
Guess what --- unless you're going to move the railroad tracks (or the house), flatten the driveway, or make all of the cosmetic updates -- it really is an issue of price!
If you're getting consistent feedback about your house that is unrelated to price, in almost all cases, you need to adjust the price to accommodate for that specific issue.
If the price is lower then buyers might actually buy despite the specific issue that they were complaining about.
We saw an amazing 29 home sales over $500K last year -- which was the highest seen anytime since 2008. This year we are on track to likely match that pace of high end sales, with 21 home sales over $500K in the first 9.5 months of the year.
Again, last year showed an amazing number (19) of home sales over $600K - the highest since all the way back in 2007 -- but it does not seem that we will see that many home sales in 2016. With 10 home sales on the books thus far, we have exceed 2011-2014 levels, but it seems unlikely we'll get all the way up to 19 home sales this year.
Finally, looking at the super-high-end home sales (over $700K) we are seeing a significant drop off from last year. Last year we saw a remarkable 11 home sales over $700K, which seems to be the highest number on record, ever. This year, however, we have only seen 3 home sales over $700K thus far.
As shown above, many homes currently listed for sale have already been on the market for some time, picked over by all of the current buyers in the market. That said, it's possible that one of these homes is the PERFECT house for you, and that seller has been patiently waiting nine months for YOU, the perfect buyer for the house.
As we start your home search, we'll first look through the homes currently for sale (realizing that they won't ALL be great and exciting options) and then we'll start to monitor new listings as they come on the market.
If you are a fanatic about finding out about new listings -- especially since there aren't many houses on the market right now -- then you shoud know about NewListingsInHarrisonburg.com....
On this new-ish website, you can quickly and easily scroll through the most recent residential listings in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, view the pertinent details, all of the photographs of the home, an area map, and then quickly and easily share that new listing with a friend, your spouse, your Realtor, etc.
You can also sign up to receive an email alert every time there is a new listing....
And, finally, you can add the website to the home screen if you'd like, for quick and easy access....
If you have any questions about this new website, or suggestions for improving it, just let me know.
Until then, go check it out, at NewListingsInHarrisonburg.com.
Buyers are finding fewer and fewer options of homes to purchase in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County as inventory levels continue to decline. The graph above shows the number of homes for sale in early September for each of the past eight years.
There are 44% fewer homes for sale now as compared to at the peak of inventory levels in 2010. Even looking over the past year, there has been a 12% decline in inventory.
These low inventory levels are frustrating buyers in many price ranges, giving them limited options of homes to purchase and SOMETIMES creating multiple offer situations.
If you are getting ready to sell your home, it is important to understand the dynamic of how many other home sellers you will be competing against, so we will want to take a look at inventory levels in your particular segment of the market.
The graph above shows four periods of changes in the local median sales price....
Between the start of last decade (2000) and the peak of the housing boom (2007) the median sales price increased from $116K to $195K. Then, the median sales price dropped all the way back down to 169,900 in 2011.
Now, in 2016, we are almost all the way back up to the 2006 peak of a median sales price of $195,100 -- with our current median sales price of $195,000. Thus, if you bought in 2007, your home almost (-2.6%) be now worth what it was when you purchased it.
Learn more about this month's Featured Property: 3465 Izaak Walton Drive
I just published my monthly report on the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County real estate market. Jump to the full online market report, download the PDF, or read on for highlights....
First, let's take a look at the overall market performance in August....
A few highlights from the basic data breakdown outlined above....
As promised, a bit more context. The 154 home sales in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County during August 2016 marked the HIGHEST number of home sales seen anytime in the previous 10 years. We'd have to stretch back 121 months to August 2006 to find the next highest month of home sales, when we saw 156 home sales.
But wait, there's more. If you thought August home sales was the end of a series of strong months, you might be wrong. Take a look at the contract data (above) and you'll note that there were a whopping 130 contracts signed in August -- a 20% increase over last August. As such, we should expect to see strong September/October sales as well. Also of note, over the past six months we have seen an average of 135 contracts signed per months, as compared to only 116 per month a year prior.
And the inventory levels keep on dropping. Buyers have fewer and fewer choices these days with current inventory levels hovering around 560 homes for sale in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. This results in the best listings (price, condition, marketing) being sold quickly.
There is much more to know, learn, read....
I'll pause here for now, but I'll let you explore that and read further on your own if you so choose. You can read my entire market report online....
Only 39.3% of sellers have paid for a part the buyer's closing costs on home sales that have closed thus far in 2016. This marks a decline from the 47.7% of sellers who paid buyer closing costs last year. However....
As shown above, the amount of closing costs that sellers are paying is certainly increasing. The average amount of closing costs paid by a seller (when a credit was provided at all) has increased from $4,150 (in 2015) to an average of $4,328 in 2016. Also of note....
As shown above, of the sellers who are paying buyer closing costs, it is most common for them to pay between $4K and $6K towards the buyer's closing costs.
So....if, as a seller, you are asked to pay the buyer's closing costs -- you are not alone (40-ish percent of sellers do) and you will likely be asked to pay $4K - $6K.
click here for a larger version of this aerial image
Just a stone's throw away from this new student housing being built on Reservoir Street, you will find another large patch of bare earth in preparation for a new residential development.
This new community is being built on the site of the former Albert Long baseball field off of Reservoir Street (across from Fieldale Place) in Rockingham County. This complex will be called Robinson Park, and will include 88 garden-style apartments.
According to the developer, this will include:
A clubhouse / community building will also be constructed.
Per this Daily News Record article....
Read more from the Daily News Record....
Affordable Housing In Focus In City, County
N.C. Company Eyes Housing On Reservoir
click here for a larger version of this aerial image
If you have driven along Reservoir Street lately, you would have noticed the massive area on the hospital side or Reservoir Street where trees have been cleared for a new housing development. This site will soon be home to 700 college students in a new development called "The Retreat at Harrisonburg", being developed by Landmark Properties out of Athens, GA.
The developer has acquired 36.81 acres for $5.71 million in August after the land was rezoned in May to allow for this community to be developed. This same developer is (per their website) also currently developing The Retreat at Blacksburg, a student housing community for 829 students.
Read more about this purchase and development in this Daily News Record article....
Student Housing Developer Buys County Land
August 30, 2016
Here is the intended site plan....
Per documents submitted to the County, we know the following about this potential student housing community....
It has been hard to see the overall trajectory of showings this Spring/Summer as compared to last Spring/Summer since we have had both better and worse months of showings.
Let's summarize a bit....
Mar/Apr/May 2016 as compared to Mar/Apr/May 2015 = 10% increase
Jun/Jul/Aug 2016 as compared to Jun/Jul/Aug 2015 = 11% increase
So, while each individual month might be better or worse than the next, it seems that showings are, overall, increasing this year as compared to last year.
An early look at August 2016 data shows that it was another STRONG month of buyer activity, with 127 signed contracts.
This marks an 18% increase over last August -- and an increase from July 2016 as well.
There were 1,125 home sales during 2015 In Harrisonburg and Rockingham County....thus, an average 94 sales per month.
There are currently 563 homes on the market.
Thus, within 6 months (563 / 94) everybody's house will have sold, right? Kind of like I have illustrated it below?
Isn't that wonderful news? Within 6 months, everybody's house will have sold!
But wait -- each month, while there are homes selling (perhaps 94) there are also new listings (perhaps 94)....
Thus, inventory always stays (roughly) the same, aside from seasonal ups and downs and long term shifts in inventory levels.
So.....the big question, do all of the houses get in line and sell in an orderly fashion? If there are 6months of homes on the market, certainly the first ones to sell are those that have been on the market for 5 months, right? Because all homes patiently wait in line and let homes that have been on the market longer sell first, right? First come, first serve?
Nope, things don't work that way in the real estate market. You don't get "your turn" when it comes to selling your house. Some houses that sell this month will have been on the market for less than a month. Some, just for two or three months. And yes, some of the homes that are currently on the market have been sitting there watching sales go by for months or even years.
So, if your house is on the market, make sure you're not thinking that you will just wait your turn, and that eventually it will be your house's turn to sell. Think about (or talk to me about) what you can do to make sure your home IS one of the next 94 to sell, and doesn't continue to wait around......as the waiting could go on forever!
Maybe mortgage interest rates will never rise??? I have been thinking they would rise for quite a while now (years) but they just keep getting lower. Today's average rate of 3.43% is an absurdly wonderful opportunity to lock in your monthly housing costs at extremely low levels.
Now, admittedly, Janet Yellen (US Federal Reserve Chair) has indicated that rates could go up soon.
But until then, enjoy the low rates. If you're buying in the next 6 to 12 months, right now (or soon-ish) could be an especially opportune time to lock in your mortgage interest rates.
Oh, and here are today's rates in a longer context, of the past three years....
In local economic development news, the MillerCoors brewery in Elkton, Virginia has announced a $60 million expansion! This investment by Miller Coors will allow for the installation of new infrastructure to brew more beer brands and will result in 27 new jobs.
Some fast facts about the Shenandoah Valley MillerCoors brewery....
Are you considering a career in real estate in the Harrisonburg area? If so, let me know if you'd like to get together at some point to discuss what it is like to work as a Realtor in this area.
I love my career, and would be happy to chat with you to try to help you figure out whether it could be a good fit for you. Coffee is on me -- just email me at scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com.
PS. If you don't conclude that real estate is the career for you, it might be worthwhile chatting with Kyle at HarrisonburgCareerCoaching.com for further guidance.
click here for a larger image
The Weldon Cooper Center 2015 Population Estimates show that Harrisonburg and Rockingham County are growing, as usual.
2015 Population Estimates:
Rockingham County: 79,134
Combined City/County: 133,009 (up 1% from 131,565 last year)
If we take 2000 home sales as a baseline portion of the population to be buying in any given year, and then we project forward based on actual population growth, we can conclude that....
More people than usual bought between 2001 and 2007. (housing boom)
Fewer people than usual bought between 2009 and 2012. (housing bust, and then recovery)
In 2013/2014 we may have finally returned to a "normal" portion of the local population to be buying in a given year.
Based on the data presented above, I believe the new "normal" number of people to be buying per year may be around 1,100.
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