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!
It's the last business day of the month, so let's take a quick peek at how things are shaping up this month.
As noted above, there have been 119 contracts signed thus far in August 2014 -- though that number may still increase further. That marks a 16% improvement over the 103 contracts that were signed last August.
Thus far, it seems that Fall 2014 will continue to be a strong home sales market in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.
As you can see above, an increasing percentage of real estate transactions have some sort of "seller concession" -- which is usually a credit from the seller to the buyer to help pay for closing costs. Sometimes it could also be related to repairs that have not been completed.
I suppose that while it is true that an increasing number of sellers are providing closing cost assistance to buyers -- it is also likely true (perhaps even truer) that an increasing number of buyers need closing cost assistance.
How much money is changing hands here? Let's take a look....
A few fast facts for you....
Fixed mortgage interest rates keep declining....now to their lowest level thus far in 2014. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is now 4.1%.
If you are under contract to buy a home, it may be wise to lock in your rate now!
There are 888 active and under contract listings in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.
Here's a look at how those break down....
click here for a larger version of this photo
If you haven't driven down Ridgedale Road lately, you might not have seen how construction is booming at the Reserve at Stone Port!
This luxury apartment community is slated to open this Fall, and is described as follows on the Cathcart (developer) and Reserve at Stone Port (community) websites....
"The Reserve at Stone Port is a wonderful escape from the ordinary. Relax in an atmosphere appointed with luxury and comfort, where exceptional finishes and remarkable features outline each unique and spacious 1, 2, and 3 bedroom apartment homes. Experience extraordinary style, convenience, resort-style amenities, and an award-winning customer service team."
The site plan (above) references amenities including a clubhouse, swimming pool, fire pit, hot tub, cabana, tot lot, putting green, sport court and dog park!
There appear to be 1 BR, 2 BR and 3 BR options available, the floor plans for which are available online.
I suppose it shouldn't surprise us any longer....
LOTS OF PEOPLE WANT TO LIVE IN DOWNTOWN HARRISONBURG!
The very first residents move into the Harrisonburg Ice House yesterday, and (surprise! or not!) all of the apartments are already leased!
A bit more context from today's issue of the Daily News Record....
"The first tenants moving in to the $10 million mixed-use development's 34 apartments marked the beginning of a new phase in the life of the building along South Liberty and West Bruce streets. JMU already has offices in the building, and developers are hoping to finish most of the remaining commercial and office space by the year's end."View photos from move in day on the Matchbox Downtown blog.
Read today's Daily News Record article about the Ice House.
JMU students, faculty and staff will now be able to get their favorite caffeinated beverage on the run via a Starbucks truck that will be rolling through JMU campus this year.
Starbucks has partnered with three universities as a trial of this new concept: James Madison University, Arizona State University, and Coastal Carolina University.
Per the news release from Starbucks....
The new truck, a pilot mobile service coming to three college campuses this fall, offers a menu of drinks and food nearly identical to what customers would find in their neighborhood Starbucks stores.The Starbucks truck will start operating at JMU on August 25. The photo above is a photo from Starbucks -- but I'm eager to see what the actual truck looks like on JMU campus. If you see it in action, email me a photo of it to scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com.
While there aren't many foreclosure sales scheduled, and we have been seeing fewer foreclosures compared to home sales, there are still a good number of bank owned homes in the system for sale right now.
You can always find the most current listing of bank owned homes online at HarrisonburgREO.com.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about these properties.
Find your next book to read in one of Harrisonburg's "Little Libraries" as described in today's Daily News Record....
The miniature libraries, begun in Wisconsin in 2009, have become pop¬ular side¬walk staples around the county. When a visi¬tor takes a book, they are expected to leave one in its place.For more information....
Read about Harrisonburg's Little Libraries on Sustain HBurg.
Locate the Little Libraries on this interactive map.
Read today's full Daily News Record article.
If you are making a low offer, you can increase the appeal of your offer by strengthening your other offering terms....
Make the largest deposit you are comfortable with so the seller knows you have money "on the line" and that you won't risk losing that money by attempting to walk away from the deal.
CLOSING COST ASSISTANCE
Sellers don't just look at the contract price --- they calculate their net proceeds based on the offer price and any credits or closing cost assistance. Only ask for assistance if you truly need it.
Provide as much detail as possible about your financing intentions, and always include a pre-approval letter. Sellers who believe you are capable of financing the purchase will be less hesitant as they consider other terms of your offer.
Don't automatically ask for everything the seller intends to convey --- if you don't need them all, leave them out of the offer. Allowing the seller to keep their washer/dryer (for example) may make them more flexible in other areas.
Having a professional inspect the property you are purchasing is usually a good idea; however if you only intend to do it for informational purposes, consider leaving it out of the contract negotiations and conducting it post-settlement.
SETTLEMENT & POSSESSION
If possible, cater your settlement date and the details of transferring possession of the property to the needs or wants of the seller. This can go a long way towards gaining seller flexibility on other contract terms.
Finally, research the seller's context for selling. That information can be invaluable in negotiating a successful contract.
Technically, it could take quite a while -- as there is a 25 month supply of these homes currently on the market.
What does this mean? Let's examine it....
As you can see from the chart above, this 25-month supply is roughly equivalent to where we were a year ago (24-month supply) and a much better place than where we were two years ago (45-month supply).
This final tidbit might be the most interesting, however....
Homes sold in the past 12 months for more than $400K sold with a median of 117 days on the market.
How could this be, you might ask? Where is the disconnect?
Many of the 95 homes actively listed for sale over $400K will not necessarily sell in the next 12 months. As such, we have a high supply of these homes (25 months worth) but the homes that actually sell do so relatively quickly (median of 4 months).
Not only are there fewer foreclosures happening (252 in 2012 declined to 222 in 2013) there are also fewer foreclosure when compared to the number of home sales.
As shown above....
As mentioned yesterday, July 2014 home sales hit an 82-month high, likely due in part to the large number of properties that went under contract in June 2014.
Despite this high number of July 2014 home sales, the year-to-date figures still have 2013 home sales slightly ahead of this year....
So, what can we conclude here?
Stay tuned for my monthly market report next month where we'll (hopefully, probably, possibly) see that we have closed the gap in sales pace.
Featured Property: 4105 Kaleb Drive, Penn Laird, VA 22846
I just published my monthly report on the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County real estate market and July 2014 showed incredibly high sales that ALMOST caught the 2014 YTD pace of home sales up with last year.
Jump to the full online market report, download the PDF, or read on for highlights....
First, of course, the leading story of the day --- July 2014 home sales (120) marked the highest number of homes sales in a single month seen anytime in the past 82 months. The most recent month when there have been more than 120 home sales was....August 2007!
Looking a bit further (above) at our usual monthly indicators, it is important to note that despite strong sales in July, the year-to-date pace of home sales in 2014 (564 sales) is still 4% behind where we were at this time last year (587 sales). This is likely a result of a slow start to 2014 with a particularly cold and blustery winter, though strong May, June and July home sales are helping the YTD numbers improve.
Also shown above, median sales prices are staying steady (-0.36%) and homes are selling more quickly than last year with an 11% decline in median days on market.
Inventory levels continue to trend upwards, with a 4.3% year-over-year increase -- though we are likely to start seeing the number of homes for sale start to decline in the next 30 to 60 days.
Median sales prices have remained relatively stable over the past few years, but as shown above, home values might secretly be increasing, as the median price per square foot has been quietly sneaking up towards $110/SF.
Further treats you'll find in my full market report (online or PDF) include....
Also, 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.
Don't miss this year's Taste of Downtown where you can enjoy wonderful specials from your favorite restaurants in downtown Harrisonburg.
From the Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance website....
Taste of Downtown is a biannual restaurant week held every year in March and August. During this week-long event, more than 25 restaurants and eateries in downtown Harrisonburg's culinary district showcase their creative dishes and offer specials that will please your palate and your wallet. It's the perfect opportunity to experience local flavors, support local businesses, and see why downtown is a culinary destination!Click here to view all of the specials offered during this year's Taste of Downtown.
Two out of five homes (39%) sell within the first 90 days that they are on the market. But wait -- that's not to say that they "go under contract" within 90 days -- they are listed, go under contract, and close (!!) within 90 days.
That means that there continue to be a significant number of sellers who are willing to price their homes reasonably, prepare their homes well, and choose to work with Realtors who will market their homes thoroughly and professionally.
As you are getting ready to sell your home, we need to delve into all three of those areas -- how will we price the home, what will you do (condition) to prepare your house for the market, and how will we market your home.
Price, Condition, Marketing.
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