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!
As published in this month's Shenandoah Valley Business Journal....
The Harrisonburg and Rockingham County area have long enjoyed a stable and diverse local economy anchored by some of our area's largest employers. Those include James Madison University, Rockingham Memorial Hospital, Cargill, RR Donnelley, Massanutten Resort, Merck, Rosetta Stone, Eastern Mennonite University, Miller Coors, Dynamic Aviation and White Wave.
The wide variety of employment sectors represented in our local area has provided stability to our overall local economy, which in turn has helped our local housing market remain more resilient than many around the country.
Our current unemployment rate (5.3 percent) is well below the national rate (7.3 percent) and that difference was even more pronounced three short years ago when our local unemployment rate was 6.5 percent compared to the U.S. unemployment rate of 9.5 percent.
Our relatively low local unemployment rate has kept foreclosures from becoming too significant of an issue in our local market.
While there have been more foreclosures than normal in recent years, they have tapered off over the past year.
Between 2000 and 2007 there were only between 50 and 100 foreclosures in any given year in all of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. This jumped up to a peak of 270 foreclosures in 2010, but has since declined to only 181 in the first 10 months of 2013.
With fewer people losing their jobs in the economic downtown, we saw fewer people losing their homes to foreclosure. We also did not see as large of a real estate bubble that could have caused more local homeowners to be underwater on their mortgages.
The most significant increases in home values in this area happened between 2002 (median price = $136,000) and 2006 (median price = $227,000). Home values shot up 67 percent during this four-year period, which was certainly not a sustainable rate of growth.
However, due largely to the stability of our local economy, we did not largely enter into the declining spiral of rapidly increasing foreclosures paired with rapidly decreasing home values. In the following five years 2006 to 2011 our local home values declined only 18 percent from $226,000 to $186,000.
Since that time, we have seen home values start to increase again.
If there had been greater turmoil in employment in our local area, more people would have lost their homes to foreclosure, which would have dragged home values down even further, as experienced in many larger metropolitan areas.
The strength and diversity of our local economy have helped us to weather many storms in the past, including the recent collapse of the housing market in the United States and ensuing struggles in the U.S. economy.
As economic indicators start to trend more positively, our local area seems poised to continue to grow and diversify.
Exciting new projects such as Innovation Village @ Rockingham will likely continue to spur on our local economy, providing further stability for our local housing market for years and decades to come.
As reported in today's Daily News Record, assessed values in the City of Harrisonburg stayed relatively stable over the past year. As shown above, the average assessed value of single family homes decreased 1% over the past year from $235,000 to $231,900. In the same time period, average sales prices increased by 3%.
A few clarifying notes....
NOVEMBER 29 - Shop Local for Black Friday
The businesses of downtown Harrisonburg are providing great specials and some participating locations are opening early and/or closing later to allow for more shopping time. Others are offering festive holiday treats to enjoy while tackling that holiday gift list. And many are offering special pricing and discounts on merchandise.
NOVEMBER 30 - Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday on November 30 is another chance for holiday shoppers to visit downtown for holiday special, discounts, gift baskets, project ideas and demos, refreshments, and more. Larkin Arts will also be offering its special Art Market event from 1:00 to 5:00 pm, featuring handmade arts and crafts from more than 15 local vendors.
DECEMBER 13-15 - Shop Til You Drop Holiday Open House
If you were hoping to buy a townhouse at The Townes at Bluestone, act quickly! There is one remaining building in Section One, with seven townhouses. Of those seven....
Click here to view the available townhouses, floor plans, standard features, or photos of the new model home at The Townes at Bluestone.
Why are these townhouses selling so rapidly?
Let me know if you'd like to take a peek at the new model home at The Townes. Just call me 540-578-0102 or send me an email: scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com.
This has certainly been a strong year of home sales in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County -- in the first 10.6 months of the year we have already surpassed annual sales for 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
And with 41 more sales this year, we will have exceeded 2008 home sales as well.
The new Rockingham Memorial Hospital (now Sentara RMH Medical Center) recently built the RMH Funkhouser Women's Center and is now expanding again.
The Sentara RMH Orthopedics Center and Advanced Imaging Services will be a new, free-standing, two-story, 52,000 square-foot facility that is planned to open in September 2015, located next to the Funkhouser Women's Center.
"We are pleased to have an extremely talented staff of medical professionals who are able to offer a comprehensive range of high-quality orthopedic services to our growing community," said Carrie Willetts, program director for Orthopedics, Sports and Spine Services. "The increasing need for these services, and our expansion of staff to meet the growing need for them, led the Sentara RMH Board to approve construction of this new facility."Read more about this exciting addition at RMH here.
Construction is underway on a new model home at Heritage Estates, a 55+ community on Garbers Church Road adjacent to Heritage Oaks Golf Course.
If you, or your parent(s) are considering a move and would be looking for a low maintenance home in a community with a swimming pool and friendly neighbors, let's meet over at the new model home at Heritage Estates so I can tell you a bit more about the community.
Drop me a line at scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com or call me at 540-578-0102.
Photo Source: Moseley Architects
I'm not sure if we call this on campus or off campus housing, but JMU is building a new residence hall on West Grace Street that will feature approximately 507 beds, various student life spaces, classrooms, seminar spaces, administrative offices, and other support spaces.
Read more via The Breeze here.
An auction was scheduled for University Fields back in September -- and now we know who purchased the property.
Vesper Holdings, a real estate investment firm in New York City, purchased University Fields for $19 million on October 28th.
Five million dollars of capital expenditures are planned including renovating the interiors of the apartments, clubhouse and amenities as well as enhancements to the exteriors of each building and technology upgrades.
Pertinent details about University Fields....
Read the entire press release here.
Read today's Daily News Record article here.
You can still get a great deal on a house these days --- but the amount you can expect (on average) to negotiate is a bit lower than it was over the past two years. We're back to 2010 negotiability levels, and that trend is likely to continue.
Read more about what's going on in our local housing market at HarrisonburgHousingMarket.com.
After several (very!) slow years of condo sales at Hunters Ridge, there has been a rush of sales this year --- 13 as of 11/13/2013. Prices have come down a bit further this year, to a median of $56,250.
Sales have also increased (slightly) at Camden Townes (Hunters Ridge Townhomes) -- and prices have started to tick upwards a bit to a median of $78,500.
Here is all of the data....
Search for properties for sale in... Hunters Ridge or Camden Townes.
Sometimes it's helpful to look back a bit further than the last 12-24 months. The data above illustrates how the pace of home sales has changed in four segments of our local market. Each data point shows the average number of sales per month in the previous 12 months.
We find that.....
It is likely important to note that in this same 5-year timef rame, the median sales price declined 11% --- from $197,650 to $175,000. It is possible that this shift in home values contributed to the shifts shown above in the pace of sales in different price ranges.
For several years now, there have been many more home sellers in the market than home buyers -- but this has been gradually changing has home sales have increased in pace, and inventory levels have declined. Now, it would seem that perhaps we are seeing inventory levels stabilize around 650 homes for sale, as we have only seen a 3% decline in inventory levels over the past year.
Here is some context....
These significant declines in inventory levels have helped to restore a balance between buyers and sellers in our local real estate market.
Featured Home: 2000 Marigold Circle, Harrisonburg, VA
I just published my monthly report on the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County real estate market -- and there is plenty to be excited about this Fall, though a few cautionary notes as well. Click here to download the 28 page PDF or read on for some highlights.
First, how exciting --- as shown above, the first 10 months of sales in 2013 have already matched the total number of home sales in 2012!
As shown above, October 2013 was the 10th month in a row (every month in 2013) when home sales exceeded the same month during the previous year. This steady increase has lead to the 21% YTD improvement in the pace of home sales.
One less than exciting note in this month's report is the decline (-22%) in contracts being signed by buyers during October 2013. This decline will likely result in lower home sales (closings) in November --- and may have partially been the result of the partial government shutdown in October.
There is a LOT more the full report, so click here to download the full November 2013 Harrisonburg & Rockingham County Real Estate Market Report.
An Important Caveat: Yes, our overall housing market is improving. But no, that does not apply equally to all price ranges, locations and property types. We can chat about your specific property to see whether that segment of the market is performing better or worse than the overall market.
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.
Have you heard about Harrisonburg's new Indoor Soccer Facility? Located on Acorn Drive, this is a top-notch indoor soccer facility, complete with field turf, dasher boards, and built in goals, for use by the community both in the form of organized soccer leagues throughout the fall, winter, and spring as well as potential pick up play and rental options.
Learn more about this facility and Mike Martin (the owner) and Next Level Athletic Development (his company) on their Facebook page or website.
You might be interested in checking out Wally, a new home sensing product that will hit the market in Spring 2014.
From the Wally website....
From expensive water leaks to unhealthy mold issues, Wally has you covered.Learn about How it Works, or Reserve Your Wally.
Preston Lake, a large (500-ish unit) mixed use development east of Harrisonburg began selling homes in 2008, was foreclosed on by Wells Fargo in 2011, and was then acquired by a developer out of Maryland in 2012.
Here are a few updates of what has been happening since the new developer has taken over....
Take a drive through Preston Lake sometime soon to see the changes that are under way, and if you have questions, feel free to email (scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com) or call me (540-578-0102).
Some Preston Lake reading material from the archives....
There is a wax ring between your toilet and the floor --- which prevents moisture from leaking out of the toilet and onto the floor and sub-floor surrounding the toilet.
What's the worst that could happen if you don't replace the wax ring?
Yes, the photo at the top of this post is really mushrooms growing around the basement of a toilet. And yes, those are native species -- I took this photo earlier this week in a property in Harrisonburg.
This is certainly a TREAT, not a TRICK.
Perhaps we'll see 3.something% interest rates again soon???
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