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!
Harrisonburg Public Schools will be opening a Fine Arts Academy in Fall 2013 to complement its existing science, technology, engineering and math academies.
Read more in this recent Daily News Record article.
Collicello North is a new community being developed on the north end of Collicello Street (see map below) being developed as a smaller, more intimate and sustainable neighborhoods within walking distance of entertainment, recreation, shopping and public transportation.
Dean Weavers of Blue Ridge Architects explains his vision for the community:
Read more on the Blue Ridge Architects blog.
As can be seen above, the pace of sales has recovered more quickly at Massanutten Resor than in our overall market.
While prices have fallen significantly over the past six years at Massanutten Resort (-26%) as compared to the overall market (-9%) the improvement over the past two years has been more rapid at Massanutten Resort (+4%) than in the overall market (-3%).
The significant declines in price (-28%) and sales pace (-48%) at Massanutten Resort between 2006 and 2010 were likely due to the significant decline in second home purchases as housing markets softened across the nation. I believe we will see continued recovery in the Massanutten Resort market over the next few years, though it might be many years before we return to median prices as high as we experienced in 2006.
The bulk of Preston Lake subdivision (mostly undeveloped building lots) was foreclosed on in 2011, but last week was purchased by a neighboring land owner --- a developer from Maryland.
After some further research, here is what was conveyed:
Thus, if we ignore the fact that roads, water and sewer need to be installed on those 43.5 acres (outlined above in red), this was essentially the purchase of:
And here is a bit of context on the purchase price:
So, how much was paid for each lot? Well, let's assume that a single family home lots is worth twice as much as a rowhouse lot --- and that a finished lot (with infrastructure) is worth twice as much as a planned lot. If that were all the case, this new developer essentially paid:
If you refer back to the amount of debt that was foreclosed on ($20M) and compare that to the new purchase price ($2M) we can assume that the previous developer's lot basis was 10 times higher ($100K for single family home lots, etc).
UPDATE: After further review of the deed transferring the property from Wells Fargo, I am now noticing that the new developer has agreed to pay a "Subsequent Fee" to Wells Fargo of 2% of the gross sales price of any of their newly acquired properties (building lots or lots where they have built homes) when it closes. This only applies to transfers within the first five years.
Foreclosures in the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County (shown in red above) are actually up a bit this year after having declined in 2011. In the first 11 months of this year there have been 225 completed Trustee Sales, whereas there were only 223 in all of 2011. Thus, look for more bank owned properties to be coming on the market in the coming months and likely well into 2013.
While foreclosures have increased over the past few years (compared to historical norms) we still have far fewer foreclosures than many other parts of the country.
Learn more about our local real estate market at HarrisonburgHousingMarket.com.
View upcoming Trustee Sales at HarrisonburgForeclosures.com.
See below for a quick re-cap of several local online real estate resources that may be helpful to you as a home buyer, home seller, home owner, investor or developer in the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County area.
Central Shenandoah Valley Property Search
Monthly Real Estate Market Reports
Ongoing Housing Market Analysis & Commentary
Comprehensive Data on Harrisonburg Townhouse Communities
New Home Communities
Trustee Sales in Harrisonburg & Rockingham County
Bank Owned Properties in Harrisonburg & Rockingham
Potential Short Sales in Harrisonburg & Rockingham County
Owner Financed Properties in Harrisonburg & Rockingham County
Lease/Purchase Properties in Harrisonburg & Rockingham County
Property Transfers in Harrisonburg & Rockingham County
Do you have an idea for another online resource? E-mail me (scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com) and let me know what would be helpful to you!
The JMU Real Estate Foundation purchased a commercial building on University Boulevard that currently houses Tuesday Morning, Hair Works, and AllState. The building is located between Blue Ridge Hall and the Oriental Cafe (red marker on the map above) and you will note that this purchase expands JMU's southeastern corner a bit further towards the intersection of University Blvd and Reservoir Street.
The only remaining parcels on the corner are Sheetz, the shopping center containing The Oriential Cafe, and the Rescue Squad.
The lot and building were purchased for $1,250,000 and there no specific plans for the building or land at this time. JMU intends to continue leasing the property to the current tenants.
According to a letter from Brian D. Goldstein, Vice President if Development for NAI The Michael Companies, the residential property at Preston Lake has been sold by Wells Fargo to a new entity known as MLK Preston Lake, LLC. A letter, excerpted below, was sent to current Preston Lake homeowners yesterday....
It is with great pleasure that I am writing this letter on behalf of MLK Preston Lake, LLC, the new owner of the Preston Lake Residential property. Being already invested in and committed to the success and vitality of the area through ownership of a portion of the adjacent commercial property, we look forward to reinvigorating the Preston Lake Residential development with this acquisition. We are confident that the existing homeowners in the neighborhood, Rockingham County officials, and the entire surrounding community will be very pleased with the quality and expertise that we will bring to Preston Lake.This excerpt from their web site speaks to the development background of the NAI Michael Companies, based in Lanham, MD....
Kenneth H. Michael, founder and Chairman of the Board of NAI Michael, created a Development Consulting Division to assist landowners and developers through the then increasingly complicated permit approval process. Over the years, as the approval process has become even more complex, time consuming, and technically demanding, NAI Michael's Development Consulting Division continues to stay abreast of the changes and requirements associated with the development process.The Michael Companies also seems to be amidst the development of a $900 million, 382-acre, upscale mixed-use community in Prince George's County.
While The Michael Companies might be an out of town (out of state!) development company, they are no stranger to the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County area -- nor the general vicinity of Preston Lake. Over the past several years they have purchased a variety properties surrounding Preston Lake including (but not limited to) those outlined on the map at the top of this post.
For a bit more context (and history) of Preston Lake, consider reading....
And, if you're excited about the reinvigoration of Preston Lake, you might want to buy my parents' house in Preston Lake....
The graph above shows the number of new single family homes sold per year in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, per the HRAR MLS.
We saw a 78% decline in these new construction single family home sales between 2005 (186 sales) and 2010 (41 sales). During the past two years, however, we have gradually seen the pace of such sales start to increase again --- with 41 sales in 2010, then 45 sales in 2011, and 48 sales in the first 11 months of this year.
The median price per square foot of these homes has also stabilized around $129/$130 per square foot --- after rising as high as $150 per square foot.
NEWS FLASH --- with 11 precincts now reporting (ok, months) we are ready to predict the outcome of this race (ok, housing market) as a convincing win for homeowners. The pace of sales has increased 10% in 2012, and prices have (finally!) stabilized!
Download the December 2012 Harrisonburg & Rockingham County Real Estate Market Report to pore over the details, or read on for highlights....
The pace of residential sales is up 10% in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. We have been suspecting a strong comeback for 2012 for some time, but with November sales figures added into the mix we are now seeing a 10% increase in year-to-date sales as compared to 2011.
The median sales price threatens to stay at $175,000 eternally. After 20 straight months of hovering between $173K and $177K, I think it is safe to say that the median sales price has stabilized. Each data point above is a 12-month median sales price.
Inventory levels keep dropping. One reason the local housing market is slowly steadying itself is because there are fewer and fewer homes for sale. And no, that's not just the seasonal slow down --- as shown above, inventory levels have declined 17% over the past year.
Click on the image below to download the full December 2012 Harrisonburg & Rockingham County Real Estate Market Report.
If you have questions about the local housing market, or if I can be of assistance to you with real estate that you own, or that you'd like to own, please be in touch. You can reach me most easily at 540-578-0102 or scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com.
Oh, one last thing....here are a few articles I have written over the past month that might be of interest:
Sam Frere and Dan Warren are running what would seem to be a small farm (Collicello Gardens) at their property on Collicello Street in Harrisonburg. Their landlord is supportive, as are the people who are buying the produce that they grow.
But there is one small hitch --- Sam and Dan cannot obtain a business license from the City of Harrisonburg because horticulture is not an allowable use on a residential property.
City Planning Staff has prepared an ordinance that would allow for such uses on residential properties in the City, but they (City Staff) have decided not to recommend the ordinance.
Read LOTS more about this issue.....
Attend the Planning Commission meeting on Wed, Dec 12 at 7PM in City Council Chambers to express your opinions on urban farming in Harrisonburg.
Learn more about Collicello Gardens on Facebook.
I received several e-mails last night from clients who were a bit confused by the story WHSV ran yesterday about the housing market. Here are some clarifications....
"National home prices are up for the eighth consecutive year."
Actually, prices are up for the eighth consecutive month, as measured on a year-over-year basis. An improvement for eight straight months is quite different than eight straight years. (source)"The homes that are selling the quickest are actually homes priced between $200,000 and $250,000."
Average days on market is actually lowest for homes priced under $200K, not for those priced between $200K and $300K. (source - page 26)"Bridgewater, Dayton, southwest Rockingham county area. That's where we've had the most significant price increase. Prices have increased 12 percent in that area this year."
Per my calculations, it's actually a 3.6% increase, not a 12% increase. The Median Sales Price for Single Family Homes in SouthWest Rockingham County in 2011 was $205,000. The Median Sales Price for Single Family Homes in SouthWest Rockingham County in 2012 (YTD) is $212,500.I agree with the overall sentiment of the news story --- the local housing market is improving --- but there were a few items in the story that ended up being misleading (presumably, unintentionally).
Here's to improvements in national (and local) housing prices for the next eight years! :)
I know you've been wondering... what gift is every House For Sale hoping to receive this year?
High Quality Photographs, taken with a wide angle lens to show the most of every room, with appropriate lighting and from all the best angles.
Full Color Property Brochures, in a flyer box next to its yard sign, with plenty of high quality photographs, and a colorful property description to entice buyers.
A Web Site All Of Its Own, with full property details, high quality photographs, and floor plans and restrictive covenants when available. (view a sample web site at 135BedfordPlace.com)
This is a sample property brochure....
If you are getting ready to list your house, make sure plans are in the works for high quality photographs, a full color property brochures, and an individual property web site!
If you're driving around Harrisonburg looking for homes for sale in your favorite neighborhoods, pop open my real estate web site on your iPhone or Android device and you will be pleasantly surprised to find a quick and easy home search experience.
You can even add my site to your smartphone's home screen, or create an account on my site to save your searches and favorite properties.
Visit ScottPRogers.com on your iPhone or Android device for a quick and easy mobile real estate search site in Harrisonburg!
According to population projections from the Weldon Cooper Center we are will see significant population growth in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County over the next 30 years.
The City of Harrisonburg is projected to grow from 48,914 people (2010 census) to 75,015 people --- which would make it the third fastest growing City in Virginia.
Perhaps this continued growth will help our housing market continue to improve?
Read more in this weekend's Daily News Record article, or on Old South High.
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