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!
With two days to go (Dec 30, 31) it seems likely that the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County residentiall real estate market will close out the year with an exciting milestone -- meeting or exceeding 1,000 home sales in a year.
This would be a 16% improvement over the pace of home sales last year, and the first time we would have seen 1,000 home sales in a year since 2007.
A big thanks to Hamilton for pointing out that the new version of Google Maps now allows you to explore Harrisonburg in 3D....zooming, tilting, panning, and more.
When you go to Google Maps on your browser make sure you are using the new Google Maps, it will probably let you know if you are using the old one. You might need a Gmail or Google Account to use it right now.
Once you are on the new Google Maps click on the aerial view in the bottom left corner, called Earth view in the new Google Maps.
Then zoom in over Harrisonburg and click on the tilt view button in the bottom right corner above the zoom buttons.
The 3D mode uses more data so it can run slowly, but it offers a very intriguing way to explore Harrisonburg.
Where will you be on New Years Eve?
Consider Celebrating New Year's Eve in Downtown Harrisonburg....
Ring in the New Year with thousands of your friends and neighbors at First Night Harrisonburg 2014 on December 31st. Activities and performances will begin at 6:00 p.m. and continue until Midnight in downtown Harrisonburg.
First Night buttons are available for only $6 in advance and $8 on the day of the event. Children 5 and under are admitted free of charge. The button serves as your admission pass that grants you access to every performance and every venue throughout the night. That's more than 30 performances in 15 venues!
All of the venues are alcohol-free, and are within easy walking distance. And, at the stroke of midnight, we celebrate the dawning of a new year with a spectacular fireworks display that can be seen from the Municipal Parking Lot and Turner Pavilion in downtown Harrisonburg.
Click here to see this year's entertainers.
Click here to connect with First Night on Facebook.
A 205-room hotel and 21,000 SF conference center might be built on South Main Street between Grace Street and Cantrell Avenue through a public-private partnership. This $40 million project could result in over $1 million in tax revenues for the City during its first year of operations per a feasibility study recently provided to the City. The City of Harrisonburg is being asked to pay for $10 million of the project, which would cover the cost of the conference center. The developer would build the hotel and conference center on JMU-owned land in the location described and shown above.
As a side note, this is being described as a downtown hotel and conference center --- though the corner of Cantrell Avenue and South Main Street doesn't quite seem downtown to me --- or to the creators of the downtown maps.
Read more about this project....
Slightly revised documents related to this evening's meeting for the proposed rezoning / expansion of Preston Lake.
Some notable items, some of which are changes, some are not....
There will be a divider between the apartments and the remainder of the community.
The quantity of each type of dwelling could change from this proposed plan.
The order and timing of the development each type of housing is unknown.
There has been some discussion of how Preston Lake would get to the point of having a community center and pool.
Preston Lake, a large 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.
Tomorrow night, the developer will present a proposal to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors to make several changes to the community, including most notably:
 Proposed Addition of 336 Apartments
As shown below, the corner of the property that is bisected by the new Southeast Connector Road is proposed to change from being single family homes and townhouses, to being two large apartment buildings.
 Proposed Addition of 76 Quads
As shown below, the intended soccer field and walking trails are proposed to be replaced by 76 quads --- single level villas. The location of the park would then be adjusted as well. This expansion/revision utilizes a portion of the adjacent property already owned by the developer.
 Proposed Reconfiguration of Townhouses
As shown below, the townhouses intended to be built along Massanetta Springs Road are proposed to be rearranged a bit, and expanded from 55 townhouses to 66.
 Townhouses and More Townhouses
As shown below, additional townhouses are being proposed adjacent to the already expansive townhouse section that surrounds the large Village Green. This expansion/revision utilizes a portion of the adjacent property already owned by the developer.
 Expanded Single Family Home Section
As shown below, an adjacent property owned by the new developer is proposed to be added into the overall Preston Lake development.
Here are some pertinent documents that I obtained from the County that will be presented and discussed at the public hearing....
If these changes to the Preston Lake master plan impact you, definitely plan to attend the Public Hearing tomorrow (Dec 18, 2013) at 6:30 PM to let your voice be heard.
Homes that are selling these days are doing so relatively quickly. In fact, more than 1 out of 3 homes (35%) that sells closes less than 90 days after being listed for sale. Include with that those that close in the next 90 days (30%) and we find that an amazing 65% of homes that sell have closed within six months of first coming on the market. This is not, however accounting for the many homes that never sell -- that linger on the market, or are eventually taken off the market.
Has your home been on the market for more than 90 days without selling? More than 180 days? Here are some thoughts to consider....
If you want your home to sell faster, you may need to reduce the price
At the request of one of my clients, I decided to take a look at the volume (dollars) of real estate sold in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County over the past few years.
As you'll see above, there has been a significant increase over the past two years, from $155MM (in 2011) to $190MM (in 2013) -- and we still haven't closed out 2013 yet.
This shouldn't be too surprising, as we're seeing increasing sales (+14% YTD) and increasing prices (+2% YTD) so it is only natural that we'd see an increase in the overall volume of residential real estate sold in this area.
Read more about our local housing market online....
Is the local housing market improving? I'd say so. As shown above, there has been a steady increase in the pace of home sales over the past three years. This year (2013) has shown the most home sales (924) over the past three years --- without even including December sales!
Perhaps we'll break 1000 home sales / year by the end of the year?
Read more about our local housing market online....
Learn More Here: City | County
The ASSESSED VALUE of a property is the value assigned to the property by the local assessor's office, for the purpose of determining how much you will pay in taxes.
The MARKET VALUE of a property is the price at which a property would sell in the current market.
As shown above, properties in the City of Harrisonburg tend to sell for a bit less than their assessed value.....while properties in Rockingham County tend to sell for a bit more than their assessed value.
However -- there is a great deal of variance --- explore the data via...
Featured Home: 1787 Broadridge Drive, Harrisonburg, VA
I just published my monthly report on the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County real estate market -- and despite a slower than expected November, the full year of home sales data is still looking great.
Click here to download the 28 page PDF, click here to read the full report online, or scroll down for some highlights.
As shown above, November was a month of mixed indicators....
Contracts declined rather unexpected in October, which could have been a slowing down of our overall housing market after a fantastic first 10 months of the year --- but with a bit more data to now work with, I believe contract numbers were low in October due to buyer uncertainty during the temporary federal government shutdown. As shown above, November contracts bounced back, showing a 57% improvement over last November.
Inventory levels continue to decline in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, with only 584 properties currently on the market --- a 22% decline from two years ago, and a far cry from the 1,000+ properties on the market a year or so before that. These declines in inventory are helping to balance the market between buyers and sellers.
There is a LOT more the full report, so click here to download the full December 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.
click here for more details
I frequently hear from homeowners wondering why their assessed value is so high AND from other homeowners wondering why their assessed value is so low.
Some homeowners know they could never sell their home for the assessed value, and others know they could it for more than the assessed value.
So, to further understand assessed values, let's explore their relationship to sales prices.
Click here to view a full comparison of 2013 Sales Prices and 2014 Assessed Values for the City of Harrisonburg.
Fixed mortgage interest rates continue to hover between 4% and 4.5% --- for six months now. This continues to provide buyers with a great opportunity to lock in their housing costs at historically low levels. Over the next 3 - 5 years we are likely to see increases in both home sales prices as well as mortgage interest rates.
Source: Freddie Mac
Be sure to check out the brand new map search on my web site, , designed with a fully-responsive layout that ensures a great user experience regardless of the device you are searching on: desktop, tablet, or smartphone.
You can use a variety of search criteria when using this new map search -- and you can create custom polygon searches to define a specific area.
Create an account (or log into your existing account) on my web site to save a search or sign up for property alerts using your new map search criteria.
Questions? Suggestions for further improvements? Email me at scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com.
Start using the new map search today.
Join me at the Explore More Discover Museum this coming Saturday for a fantastic evening of fun and food.
This delicious evening will feature food and beverages from:
Beyond, Clementine Cafe, Joshua Wilton House, Local Chop &Grill House, Rick's Cantina, Capital Ale House, New Leaf Pastry Kitchen, Billy Jack's Wing & Draft Shack, Jack Brown's Beer & Burger Joint, Cuban Burger and Kline's Dairy Bar.
Click here to purchase tickets online.
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