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!
Mortgage interest rates edged up, barely, this week to an average of 3.52%. That pushes us above the 3.5% mark, after several months mostly below that mark.
Let's look at a slightly longer (5 year) perspective....
As shown above, we are currently seeing some of the best interest rates in the past three years. The only time we have seen similar rates was in Fall 2012 through Spring 2013.
Let me know if you need a recommendation for a mortgage lender for a purchase or refinance.
Looking for information about recent property transfers in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County? Be sure to check out HarrisonburgPropertyTransfers.com.
Let's take a look at how home sales have been trending in Broadway in recent years....
As shown above, 2016 may be the best year in recent memory for home sales in Broadway, Virginia. The estimate of 101 home sales is based on YTD (Jan 1 - Oct 17) home sales.
Median Sales Prices are also on the rise in Broadway, as shown above. Based on YTD home sales, the median sales price is $183K -- significantly higher than in any recent year.
You can find homes currently for sale in Broadway here.
Let me know if you have any questions about the Broadway real estate market!
Learn more about this month's Featured Property: 953 Greenbriar 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 September....
A few highlights from the basic data breakdown outlined above....
Now, let's contextualize those strong September sales....
As stated above, there were a LOT of home sales in September 2016 -- a whopping 123 of them. When was the most recent time when we saw this many homes sales (or more) during the month of September? Waaaaaaay back in September 2005 when there were 136 home sales seems to be the only time we have ever seen more than 123 home sales. Wow!
The median sales price of single family homes are often an excellent indicator of the price trends in a local real estate market, as they show a purer form of owner occupant supply and demand. When we examine townhouses as well, we are observing the buyer behavior of both owner occupants and investors -- and there can be much more short-term volatility in demand from investors. So, with the assumption that we'll get the clearest picture of price trends by looking at single family homes, it is striking to see a steady increase in median sales prices of these properties as shown in the graph above.
This graph clearly illustrates what a busy buying season it has been over the past seven months. We have seen an average of 130 contracts per month over the past seven months -- as compared to an average of only 96 contracts per month during the same timeframe in 2015. These strong contract numbers, clearly, are leading to the busy season of closings -- and we are likely to see yet another strong month of sales in October based on these contracts.
Finally -- buyers are finding fewer and fewer choices in the market -- as inventory levels (as shown above) have declined 16% over the past year. Looking back further (not shown above) there has been a 23% over the past two years!
Well, there is much more to know, learn, read....but I'll pause here for now, and I'll let you explore that and read further on your own if you so choose. You can read my entire market report online....
Let's take a look at how home sales have been trending in Dayton in recent years....
As is evident above, the real estate market has been steadily improving over the past few years as far as the number of homes that are selling each year. Of note -- the 40 home sales shown for 2016 is based on the 32 home sales that have taken place thus far in 2016.
Median sales prices have also been steadily increasing over the past few years -- though with such a small sample size, this is not likely an indication of solely an increase in home values -- but also a change in the types of homes that were sold in each of those years. Suffice it to say that I don't believe we've seen a 59% increase in home values in Dayton, VA between 2013 and 2016.
You can find homes currently for sale in Dayton here.
Let me know if you have any questions about the Dayton real estate market!
Let's take a look at how home sales have been trending in Bridgewater in recent years....
As shown above, 2016 is poised to be the strongest year in quite a while for home sales in Bridgewater, VA. Of note, the 76 sales shown for 2016 is an estimate based on the 64 home sales that have happened thus far in 2016.
There is not quite as clear of a picture of trends in home values in Bridgewater, VA -- though this is likely because we are working with a small data set. The mix of which homes sell in any given year can make this metric bounce up and down a bit.
You can find homes currently for sale in Bridgewater here.
Let me know if you have any questions about the Bridgewater real estate market!
Sellers are usually quite shocked, dismayed or disheartened to receive a low offer on their house, for example, an offer of $365K on a $415K listing. But it is important to remember that even that low offer really is a compliment!
If you have not yet had an offer on your house (that is listed at $415K) and you receive an offer of $365K, that doesn't necessarily mean your house is only worth $365K, nor does it necessarily mean that you should accept $365K or something close to it. It does, however, mean something quite exciting --- somebody wants to buy your house!!!
Of course, negotiations won't always work out with low offers -- but recognize a low offer for what it is -- a buyer who wants to buy your house, and perhaps the first buyer who has declared as much through a written offer!
If there is any way to put a deal together with those buyers, you ought to pursue it, as it's hard to know when the next buyer will work up the courage to tell you that they want to buy your house!
I believe this question is best answered by evaluating when buyers make an actual buying decision -- which is when they sign a contract. The data above shows when buyers sign contracts -- calculated by averaging data from the three most recent years.
As can be seen, the busiest buying season is March through August when an average of 123 buyers per month make a buying decision.
The remaining six months of the year (September through February) show anywhere between 50% and 77% as many buyers as the average of 123 per month seen in the busiest six months of the year.
So -- listing your home on November 1st (for example) is not a terrible idea -- we'll see 64% as many buyers signing contracts in November as compared to the average busy month. That said, in the following month (December) we're likely to only see half as many buyers as compared to the average month
In 2014 and 2016 we saw 805-858 home sales in the first nine months of the year, and then 268-276 in the last three months of the year.
Given this year's 961 (!!??!!) home sales in the first nine months of the year, we might see as many as 315 home sales in the last three months of the year.
Or, alternatively, the pace of sales could certainly slow down after a frantic first nine months.
If we do indeed see 361 sales, that would result in a total of 1,276 home sales this year compared to only 1,126 sales last year.
Let's take a look at how home sales have been trending at Massanutten Resort in recent years....
As shown above, home sales have been increasing at Massanutten Resort over the past five years, with the exception of a small decline in 2015. Of note -- there have already (as of 9/28/2016) been 52 home sales in 2016 -- so we are likely to see more home sales this year in Massanutten Resort than in any of the previous five years. The 64 home sales shown above for 2016 are an estimate based on year-to-date home sales (52) and the timing of sales in 2015.
Value trends over time at Massanutten Resort don't paint quite as clear of a picture, but it can certainly be said that home values have been, generally speaking, increasing over the past 5 - 6 years. Values dipped down a bit more than expected in 2014, jumped up a bit more than expected in 2015, and are where we might have otherwise expected them to be in 2016 if we hadn't had that odd low and odd high. This is a relatively small data set (40 - 60 home sales) which can cause some irregularities in value trends.
You can find homes currently for sale in Massanutten Resort here.
Let me know if you have any questions about the Massanutten Resort real estate market!
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Apparently our area has an unmet need of high end rental properties, as The Reserve at Stoneport will be expanding their community off of Port Republic Road near Sentara RMH Medical Center.
Current Community: 168 apartments
Planned Expansion: 240 apartments
Per the developer, the current inventory of apartments are 98 to 99 percent full, and the first apartments in the new phase will be available in late 2017.
Rental rates will range from $985 - $1735 per month, and there were be even more one-bedroom units in the new phase....
Mortgage interest rates were historically low a year ago, though they around 3.86%. Now, they are REALLY low, with the current average of 3.48%. But at the end of the day, they have been at or below (or just barely above) 4% for the past 12 months -- which means that it has been a fantastic year to lock in one's monthly housing costs.
But, will the interest rate be rising in December or January? There is some talk that the Fed will increase the "Fed Funds Rate" in December, which could lead to an increase in mortgage interest rates.
Oh, and just to put things in a slightly larger context, here is an illustration of average mortgage rates over the past three years....
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.
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