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!
Rockingham County is ranked 20th in Virginia in County Health Rankings as of 2012.
Explore more interactive maps at the Weldon Cooper Center.for Public Service.
Almost four years ago, I mentioned that you could drive virtually through most of Harrisonburg using Google Street View, with the big disclaimer that the data was relatively limited. No longer.
The blue lines above show all of the streets where the Google Street View car has driven to capture imagery.
And the imagery is a LOT clearer! This is East Market Street in 2009....
And this is the same general area in 2013....
This is certainly a wonderful way to explore the streets and neighborhoods of Harrisonburg!
To access Google Street View, just click on the imagery to the left of a Google Map (circled in red below) or drag the yellow Google Street View man onto the map (circled in red below).
The Milken Institute recently published their "Best performing Cities" report which ranks cities across the country as to how well they are doing in "creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth." The ranking takes into account job, wage and salary, and technology growth.
Harrisonburg, VA was ranked #22 (out of 179) in the Country --- and #2 in Virginia, behind Charlottesville.
Click here for an interactive data table.
Click here for a PDF of the full report.
Click here for the Jan 28 Daily News Record article.
When the SouthEast Connector is finished (in December 2014) Boyers Road will no longer connect to Route 33 East. Instead, it will end in a cul-de-sac as shown above. Per Rockingham County, the cul-de-sac and road closure may not be exactly as depicted above, but conceptually this is what is planned
Further details from Stephen King, Deputy County Administrator for Rockingham County, include....
With regards to residents and businesses on Boyers, those with frontage on Route 33 would continue to have access to 33 and the stub of Boyers that remains. Those residents on the cul-de-sac'ed side of Boyers would travel south a short distance to the new southeast connector. Again, precise location of the road closure and cul-de-sac (or similar feature) are to be finalized in the design. If you have any concerns or ideas you would like to share, we're eager to hear them.Click here to view an overview map of the entire Southeast Connector.
Click here to view a map of the section of the Southeast Connector between Reservoir Street and Route 33 East.
I have several clients who have purchased real estate using a Self-Directed IRA. While there are certainly some risks, and it can seem like a complex process at first, there are some distinct advantages of considering this strategy....
Here are several articles that will help you better understand the concept....
Wondering about property values in your townhouse community? Or considering purchasing an investment property? Whatever the reason for your interest in townhouses in Harrisonburg, you will likely find the information you need at HarrisonburgTownhouses.com, including (for each townhouse community):
Harrisonburg's City Council met yesterday, and one of the topics they discussed were the many (many) alleys behind/beside properties in the City of Harrisonburg that may or may not be needed any longer as alleys.
Some of these alleys are still used by the City for trash collection, but many of the alleys are no longer needed by the City and they believe it may make more sense to hand them over to adjacent property owners to maintain.
A group of City staff members (Police, Fire, Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Public Utilities, and Community Development) met to make preliminary determinations about which alleys were still needed by the City.
Click here to view a PDF of the 2013 Alley Inventory with a map showing the City's preliminary determination of whether they need or do not need each remaining alley in the City.
Innovation Village @ Rockingham is a 365-acre, Class-A planned community located in Rockingham County, Virginia, home of SRI International Shenandoah Valley, where innovators and entrepreneurs can collaborate and create their own businesses.
With strategic partner James Madison University, IV@R is destined to become a high-tech and bio-tech hub, perfectly suited for businesses and organizations in the life sciences, energy, information technology, and agriculture and crop science industries.
Learn more about Innovation Village @ Rockingham....
There are three Multiple Listing Services (MLS's) where a Harrisonburg or Rockingham County property might be listed for sale....
There are, however, always a few listings in the GAAR MLS and/or MRIS that are not in the HRAR MLS. (Are you following these acronyms yet?) These secret listings (not in the HRAR MLS) are often great finds because many local buyers won't even know they exist.
Here are some quick links so that you can check them out over time....
If you'd like to be notified of these secret listings by e-mail as they come on the market, just drop me a note at scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com and I'll set you up.
Are you dizzy from all of the green terminology being used these days? Check out this beginner's guide from The Gaines Group....
Confused by all the Green Terms that get tossed around, here is a beginners guide to get you started.
You might think that you need to make the decision that you are going to sell before you get in touch with me to start talking about starting the selling process.
Quite regularly, I meet with my clients (and prospective clients) to discuss whether NOW (or THEN) is the best time to sell their house. There are often so many factors that go into a decision to sell, including life and work situations, market conditions, buying opportunities, etc.
Even if we meet for an hour or two and work towards a decision that you are not going to sell your home -- no problem -- that is a part of what I do for my clients. I want to help you make the best possible real estate decisions, and I'm happy to sit down and discuss with you whether 2013 might be (or might not be) the year to proceed.
After five years of declining sales (2005-2010) the pace of single family home sales finally increased in 2011.
After five years of declining sales prices (2006-2011) the median price of single family homes (sold) finally increased in 2012.
At this point, I'm not expecting either of those to start declining again over the next few years (even if they don't increase exponentially either) -- so, if you were waiting for the bottom of the market, this is (or was) it.
Buyers -- act early in 2013 before prices continue to increase through 2013.
Sellers -- be realistic about pricing, to best present your house to potential buyers.
I'm expecting to see further recovery in both pace of sales and price of sales during 2013.
The Harrisonburg and Rockingham County area sees fewer foreclosures than many other areas of the country, but we too saw an increase in completed foreclosures over the past several years.
After staying between 50 and 120 Trustee Sales per year (between 2000 and 2008) we have seen elevated numbers of foreclosures over the past several years as shown in the graph above.
After declining between 2010 and 2011 (-17%), the number of foreclosures increased again in 2012 -- though not to as high of a level as seen in 2010.
Expect to see more bank owned listings coming on the market in 2013. And hopefully we will see the number of foreclosures decline again in 2013.
After a massive decline in townhouse sales (644 sales in 2005 down to only 168 sales in 2011) the pace of townhouse sales finally increased (+32%) in 2012.
Despite more townhouse buyers being in the market in 2012, prices declined further (-6%) down to a median sales price of $134,995.
A few notes as you ponder this data:
If you are looking to buy a townhouse, there is a great opportunity right now with room to negotiate on many prices.
If you are looking to sell a townhouse, be realistic about pricing, market your property thoroughly, and be willing to consider leasing your property instead if it comes down to that.
"Housing Supply" is usually a comparison of how many buyers are in the market to buy as it relates to the number of sellers in the market to sell. Consider these two, very different examples....
In the first example, there are 6 "months of supply" on the market. If buyer demand stays steady (10 buyers per month) it would take six months to sell all of the existing inventory of homes for sale.
In the second example, there are 60 "months of supply" on the market. If buyer demand stays steady (10 buyers per month) it would take 60 months (five years!) to sell all of the existing inventory of homes for sale.
When there are six months of housing supply available, many analysts consider a housing market to be in a balance between buyers and sellers. If there are lower supply levels (for example, only three months of housing supply available) it would be a seller's market, with sellers having the upper hand as buyers fight over a small number of available houses. If there are higher supply levels (for example, 15 months of housing supply available) it would be a buyer's market, with sellers pining over the comparatively small number of buyers in the market.
With that context, take a look at the chart above, which examines the number of months of housing supply available in several price ranges of our local housing market. You'll notice that many price ranges are approaching that balanced level of six months of available supply:
While many price ranges are now much closer to a healthy balance between sellers and buyers, keep in mind that:
If you're interested in even more specific data --- supply levels based on location, a custom price range, etc. --- just drop me a line at scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday. I am happy, as always, to provide custom analysis to help you make the best real estate decisions.
Having closed out 2012, we can say with certainty that the the local housing market has turned the corner, and brighter times are ahead.
Download the January 2013 Harrisonburg & Rockingham County Real Estate Market Report to pore over the details, or read on for highlights....
As shown above, while home sales declined (-29%) in December the year-end figures show an overall 8.8% increase in home sales during 2012. Furthermore, median sales prices increased (+0.57%) between 2011 and 2012.
As shown above, after a brief slow down during November, buyer activity increased again in December --- marking a 26% increase over December 2011.
Inventory levels have dropped again, down 15% over the past year to 572 homes on the market. This is a 27% decline over the past two years, and is definitely helping our local housing market return to a balance between buyers and sellers.
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:
At least last year, they start jumping into the market in good number starting in February!
If you are planning to sell this Spring, let's start talking now about:
Let me know if I can be of help to you as you consider whether to sell your home this Spring.
Lakeview Development Corporation (who own and operate Lakeview Golf Course) are planning to build 76 townhouses and an Event Center on the edge of the golf course near the intersection of Massanetta Springs Road and Shen Lake Drive (as shown above).
According to information compiled by Rockingham County staff:
"The proposed development consists of townhouses along a curvilinear roadway that follows the topography of the site. A new access point from Massanetta Springs Road would be constructed and a traffic circle woudl be placed near the entrance to the new development."The proposed proffers offer some helpful details:
View details of the proposed rezoning and development here.
The City of Harrisonburg seems to have made some quick progress towards trying to figure out a reasonable way to allow for what some call urban farming. The new proposal would allow "business gardens" on any/all residentially zoned properties so long as the business garden regulations are followed.
To: Harrisonburg Planning Commission
From: Adam Fletcher, City Planner
RE: Horticultural Businesses on Residential Property
Date: Friday, Jan 4, 2013
After taking into consideration the comments from Planning Commission and the public last month regarding the issue of allowing horticulture-related businesses on residential property, and in performing more research on the matter, staff has prepared language to begin receiving additional feedback on how to address this use. (To our new Commission members, please review the draft minutes from the December meeting regarding this issue beginning on page 17).
In brief, we are proposing identifying this practice as a "business garden" having a definition that includes being classified as a home occupation. The definition also includes a reference to Article BB, a proposed new article of the Zoning Ordinance that would outline the use regulations and requirements. In this proposal, since it would be classified as a home occupation, business gardens would be allowed by-right in every district that allows home occupations—essentially that would be all residentially zoned property, and as proposed, also in the B-1 district.
Staff will be in contact with interested individuals before next Wednesday's meeting so they are aware that draft language has already been prepared and ready for feedback. Staff will soon post the draft language on the City's website and reach out to the media and utilize social networking
to draw attention to the matter to get as much feedback as possible. At next week's meeting, Planning Commission can decide whether they want to hold a special worksession to further talk about this matter. If Planning Commission is interested in getting this matter to public hearing as
soon as possible (which would be in February), staff must have an advertisement prepared by Thursday, January 24th. Such an accelerated schedule may not provide enough time for public input. However, not holding a public hearing in February, but rather March, means interested individuals, if all amendments were approved accordingly, could not operate their business until April 24th.
If you have questions before next Wednesday, please let us know.
Click here to view the details of the Business Garden Proposal.
From Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine....
"In another category with a long list of possible winners, Harrisonburg, Va. came out on top. Harrisonburg is the biking capital of the bike-happy Shenandoah Valley, a mecca for any two-wheeler. Whether you prefer to shred singletrack, assault asphalt, or just commute to the daily grind, Harrisonburg has it all. The city was named a bronze-level ride center by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and recognized as a top bicycle-friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists. That's a lot of bronze, but when you visit Harrisonburg, you see why: everyone is on a bike. Epic trails in George Washington National Forest, Massanutten out the back door, endless miles of country roads to explore, and a city full of sharrows make this a bike community everyone can love."
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