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!
If the first 28 days of May are any indication, our local housing market will be setting new records this month. There have already been 125 contracts signed on residential real estate listings in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County this month. That is nearly double the pace of contract signing seen in previous months of May.
The Glen at Cross Keys, located on Cross Keys Road, just east of Harrisonburg offers mostly one-level living in these low-maintenance homes starting around $265K.
The photos above are of the model home, which is now under contract. View the remainder of the photos in this Flickr photo set.
View available (and under contract) homes at The Glen here.
Or, email me at scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com to start customizing your home at The Glen.
Oh, and the selling fast part? Our model home sold in February, so we built another -- which is under contract. And the next building up the street that is currently being constructed --- one side is under contract, and the other side likely will be this week.
The bottom dropped out of the high end housing market ($600K+) last year in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. After 7+ sales every year between 2004 and 2011 (and as high as 22 in 2006) there were only 2 sales over $600K last year!
This year, however, the high end housing market seems to be bouncing back. There have already been three sales over $600K, and there are two more properties under contract.
That said, there are currently 21 homes for sale over $600K, so there are quite a few sellers in this market, despite the increasing number of buyers.
You have one more chance to customize a Liberty Square II townhouse --- as there is only one townhouse remaining in the development. The model home is shown above, and will be under contract later this week.
Send me an email (scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com) if you're interested in buying a townhouse at Liberty Square II. Now is the time to act!
As stated yesterday, even though sales are up, prices are not yet increasing.
So what can we expect of home prices over the next five years?
I believe we will start to see an increase in prices this year (perhaps 1%) and then we may see a more ambitious (2% - 3%) increase for the next few years after that.
Bear in mind that depending on the timeframe you examine (see the bottom of this post) the median home value increases around 5% per year.
The matrix above shows that a $250K home would (potentially) increase to a value of $289K over the next five years if we see an average of 3% appreciation per year over the next five years.
Click here to download the table above as an Excel file to plug in your own variables.
National median home values increased 5.94% per year between 1960 and 2000.
National median home values increased 6.72% per year between 1970 and 2000.
National median home values increased 4.76% per year between 1980 and 2000.
As several of you pointed out, last week's sales and inventory graph was missing the trendline for price. So, here (above) is the updated graph. As you can see, over the past two years we have seen prices stabilize as sales increased and inventory decreased. All good signs for further stability and growth in our local housing market!
Another look at sales and inventory trends over the past four years....
We're in a good place now --- fewer and fewer homes for sale combined with more and more home buyers. These two factors alone are playing a significant role in providing stability in our local housing market.
As you can see, the first four months of 2013 were quite strong when it comes to the number of home sales in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County....
Hopefully our local real estate market will continue to track on this trajectory as the year continues!
As shown above, the highest price segment of our local market has slowed down the most (-66%) over the past six years, especially as compared to the lowest price segment which only declined by 4% over the past six years.
Over the past two years, home sales in all price segments except the highest have sped back up, though the $200K - $300K price segment has improved the most (+40%).
I just published my monthly market report on the local housing market and there is plenty of good news in many segments of the market. Click the cover of the report below to download the entire report as a PDF or read on below for some highlights.
Cover Home: 3291 Barrington Drive, Harrisonburg, VA
After a relatively mild month of home sales in March, there were an astonishing 100 home sales in April 2013 (see below) -- bringing us to the highest level since June 2010 when buyers had their last chance to cash in on the federal home buyer tax credit.
Beyond the single month of market exuberance shown above, it is also important to examine long term trends. Below you will note that for the past two years we have seen stable prices and an ever increasing rate of annualized home sales.
The future looks positive as well, with another strong month of contracts in April (116) piling on top of March's 114 contracts.
It should be noted that the market improvements described above vary based on price range, property type and location. As shown below, the lower price ranges have seen a greater improvement in sales than the higher price ranges.
There is plenty more inside the full report, including....
Click here to download the full May 2013 Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Real Estate Market Report.
And 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.
A private developer (dpM Partners, LLC) is proposing to build a hotel and conference center in Downtown Harrisonburg. The $40M project would be (per the proposal) paid for with $9.5M of public funds towards the 18,180 SF conference center.....and the remaining $39.5M of private funds would help build the remainder of the project to include a 205-room hotel and a restaurant.
And the latest update is that the developer will likely be ready to present the detailed plans (and feasibility study) to City Council by early summer. Read today's DNR article for more details.
I have come to know these two things to be true....
That changed earlier this week, when nine such properties were listed for sale. Click here to review the details of these investment properties -- they house lots of students, paying healthy amounts of rent, and thus they carry a high price tag.
This full-day conference provides professional development and networking opportunities to entrepreneurs, managers, and business owners.
Click here to learn more about the schedule of events, speakers and workshops.
Click here to register for the event.
The Harrisonburg / Rockingham unemployment rate dropped below 5% for the first time in 50 months in March. This is a good sign for our local economy, and also speaks to trends being seen across the state and country as well.
Never before have home buyers been able to lock in such low mortgage interest rates, which sets up 2012/2013 home buyers to have ultra-low housing costs on into the future. For the past six months, most home buyers have been able to lock in 30-year fixed mortgage interest rates between 3.3% and 3.6%. Over the past four decades (since Freddie Mac started tracking this data) the average U.S. interest has never been this low --- in fact, this average mortgage interest rate had never dipped below 4.0% until October 2012.
To put today's low mortgage interest rates in perspective, a home buyer financing 80% of their purchase at the most recent average rate (3.41%) would have a monthly payment (principal and interest only) of $622. Just one year ago, the average rate was 3.90%, which would have resulted in a monthly payment of $660, and two years ago the average rate was 4.91%, which equates to a $744 payment each month. As can be seen, locking in a mortgage interest rate today can create tremendous monthly savings for years into the future.
Not only do today's home buyers have the unique opportunity to lock in a low interest rate, they are also potentially buying at the lowest housing prices that we will see for many years to come. Local home values increased quickly between 2003 and 2006, with a 51% increase in median price over a three year period. Since that time, home values have been slowly declining, showing an overall 9% decline between 2006 and 2012. Home values now appear to have stabilized, with annualized median sales prices steady for the past 23 months. We are likely to see home prices slowly start to improve again over the coming years.
The lowest mortgage interest rates ever combined with the lowest home prices that we are likely to see over the next 5-10 years create a unique opportunity for buyers who are willing and able to act now to buy a home. The first steps in taking advantage of this opportunity should include talking to a local mortgage lender to become preapproved for a mortgage, and talking to a Realtor about what you are looking for in a new home.
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