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!
Click on the image above for a larger version.
Rockingham County may trade the remainder of Albert Long Park on Reservoir Street (downsized by the SouthEast Connector) for a much larger parcel on Route 33 East (shown above).
If this deal goes through (which depends on a rezoning being approved) this would be a much larger park for Rockingham County!
Click here to read the full details in the April 29, 2013 DNR article.
White Waves Foods is expanding its Mount Crawford facility, with a recently announced $70M investment. This project will double White Wave's warehouse space, create three new product lines, and add 36 jobs.
Products from the brands shown above (Silk, International Delight, Horizon Organic and Land O Lakes) are all manufactured in the Mount Crawford facility.
Click here to learn more from the April 19, 2013 DNR article.
The North River Wastewater Treatment Facility, shown above and located in Mount Crawford, Virginia, treats 10-12 million gallons of wastewater EACH DAY from the City of Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, and the Towns of Bridgewater, Dayton, and Mt. Crawford.
Previous Cool Aerials from Google Maps:
The first few months of the year showed exciting signs for our local housing market:
But then there was March, which left some wondering what was going on:
Don't worry too much, yet, because April month-to-date sales are looking good:
Stay tuned, but our local housing market seems to be continuing to perform well during 2013!
Sign up NOW for the Valley 4th Run in downtown Harrisonburg. Last year over 400 people participated in the 1st Annual race and raised money for local charities. This year you too can participate, having a fun time with your family, friends and fellow community members, while supporting one of these great organizations:
March 2008 Annualized Median Sales Price = $197,000
March 2013 Annualized Median Sales Price = $175,000
March 2008 Average 30-Year Fixed Mortgage Interest Rate = 5.97%
March 2013 Average 30-Year Fixed Mortgage Interest Rate = 3.57%
The graph above shows the impact of combining low home prices and ultra low mortgage interest rates by analyzing the monthly payment (principal + interest) assuming 80% financing of the median sales price at the average mortgage interest rate.
As you can see, this monthly payment would have been $942 back in March 2008, and is only $634 today.
Today's low housing prices and historically low mortgage interest rates provide unique opportunities for home buyers!
Today's rates are not the lowest ever (see Oct 2012 - Jan 2013, in yellow) but they are still amazing rates --- at an average of 3.41% per Freddie Mac's weekly survey.
Just one month ago, the average rate was 3.63%, and we're now back down to an average rate of 3.43%.
If you're buying, this week would be a great time to lock in your mortgage interest rate!
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):
Downtown Harrisonburg has seen some major growth over the past eight years and there are exciting projects on the horizon. Perhaps that's why Downtown Harrisonburg was recently featured in the national publication pictured above, Main Street Now. In fact, the magazine actually features a lengthy case study highlighting the successes in downtown Harrisonburg, with quotes from Eddie Bumbaugh, Barry Kelley, Andrew Forward and John Sallah....
Click here to download the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of Main Street Now to read the full story about how Downtown Harrisonburg has been transformed in recent years.
There are fewer and fewer homes for sale under $200K (shown above) but there are more and more buyers (see below).
These crossing trends (fewer sellers, more buyers) helps to balance the under-$200K segment of our local market, and since many of those sellers will move up to $200K-$300K sales, it can slowly, positively impact the remainder of our market as well.
I just published my monthly housing market report for Harrisonburg and Rockingham County (download here) and good news abounds in many/most segments of our local housing market.
(Beautiful Cover Property: 1920 Marigold Circle, Harrisonburg, VA)
As shown above, there are many positive trends in the local housing market....
Even if March was a bit slower with home sales (+1.5%) the pace of contracts skyrocketed to 114 contracts during March 2013. This marks an astonishing 31% increase over last March, and is the highest pace of monthly contracts since April 2010 which was nearly the last opportunity for a buyer to take advantage of the home buyer tax credit.
As shown above, despite this being the spring selling season, inventory levels have dropped again --- with only 599 homes currently listed for sale. This marks a 15% decline in inventory level over the past 12 months.
Here are a few other tidbits to entice you to download the full report....
Also, here are a few other articles of note from the past month....
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.
Per the proposed 2013-14 budget, real estate taxes in the City of Harrisonburg may increase from $0.63 per $100 of assessed value to $0.67 per $100 of assessed value. Above you'll note that Harrisonburg real estate taxes continue to be quite low compared to other Virginia localities.
Review the entire budget here: 2013-14 Proposed Budget.
Read an article from the Daily News Record here.
A public hearing for the budget is planned for April 23rd.
Of note, we're not yet setting new records for historical high tax rates....
There seems to be some talk of trying to establish an indoor climbing / training facility in Harrisonburg. I'd love to see this happen, as would my son, Luke.
Connect with Harrisonburg Climbers on Facebook.
Head over to Clementine on on Wed, April 24 at 8:00 PM where the local climbing community will be coming together to gauge interest in the project and begin a discussion.
Make plans to attend the Shenandoah Valley Builders Association Home & Garden show this Saturday or Sunday at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds.
In addition to a wide variety of home and garden companies that can talk to you about building, renovating or improving your home, this year you will also find....
See that tangled web sticking out the left side of the building? Those are some very exciting water slides. And check out the super long (and super high) outdoor slide on the lower center section of the image above.
If you haven't visited the Massanutten WaterPark, you should! It's a great time for the whole family. Check out this interactive map of the Massanutten WaterPark.
Previous Cool Aerials from Google Maps:
Local developers, Barry Kelley and Andrew Forward, are at it again -- transforming a downtown structure into an inspiring new space. Some of Barry and Andrew's past projects include City Exchange, Urban Exchange and The Walton Hotel.
VISION - Some of the ideas that have been discussed for The Ice House include:
LOCATION - The Ice House will be a transformation of the former Cassco ice plant located at 217 S. Liberty Street. As you can see, it's not a very exciting sight right now....
ZONING - The City of Harrisonburg has approved a rezoning request for 217 S. Liberty Street and the adjacent building, 115 W. Bruce Street.
HISTORICAL TAX CREDITS; GRANT - One of the only reasons that this project is able to move forward is because of the historical tax credits available for the project.
INDUSTRIAL REVITALIZATION FUND GRANT - Harrisonburg received a $500,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development's Industrial Revitalization Fund. This grant is effectively a low-cost loan that will be available for the development of The Ice House.
COMMERCIAL TENANTS - Conversations are ongoing, but James Madison University has confirmed that they will occupy some of the space in The Ice House. One of the JMU offices that will relocate to The Ice House is communications, marketing and public affairs. Additional current plans for the commercial space include a restaurant, a mint operation and a yoga studio.
SCOPE, TIMING - The transformation of this 80,000 square foot building is estimated to cost $10 million and the aim is to have it substantially complete by the end of 2014.
STATUS - A detailed master plan is currently being developed to include 217 S. Liberty Street, 115 W. Bruce Street, as well as a 104-space parking lot on a parcel diagonally across West Bruce Street.
Rosetta Stone, which was founded in Harrisonburg, VA and is now a publicly traded company, has been making some rapid moves over the past few weeks to transform themselves as a company....
March 12 - Rosetta Stone eliminates 48 jobs in Harrisonburg, VA
Rosetta Stone Press Release, WHSV, Washington Business Journal, Washington Post
March 12 - Rosetta Stone opens tech center in Austin, TX and San Francisco, CA
Rosetta Stone Press Release, Austin Business Journal
April 2 - Rosetta Stone Acquires Livemocha for $8.5M
Rosetta Stone Press Release, Geekwire, Washington Business Journal
The GOOD NEWS for Harrisonburg is that Rosetta Stone has been a significant part of our diverse local economy for many years, and likely will be for many years to come.
The BAD / CHALLENGING NEWS for Harrisonburg is that as Rosetta Stone evolves as a company, it seems that they may have to find more and more of their talent in markets outside Harrisonburg, and even outside the DC metro area where their corporate headquarters are located.
Inventory levels are remaining low, even though we are definitely into the start of the Spring housing market. This is great news for sellers, as you still have less competition (from other sellers) that you have seen in several years.
For buyers, however, the situation is not idea. There are definitely segments of the market (based on price, property type, location) that are significantly undersupplied, leaving buyers feeling like they don't have many (if any) options.
If you are considering selling your home some time this Spring or Summer, let's set up a time to talk soon --- it may be advantageous to list your house sooner rather than later.
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