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!
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Construction is moving right along on a new development on University Boulevard between Regal Cinemas and Outback Steakhouse. This new complex will include Buffalo Wild Wings (relocating from South Main Street), Dunkin' Donuts (with a drive through!), Which Wich, and one to-be-determined tenant.
Learn more about this new complex, University Center, here.
If you're looking for a Victorian, Log House, Cabin, A-Frame, Dutch Colonial or Tudor --- you won't have many options!
The list above shows the breakdown of currently active listings in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, showing that most (56%) of the homes that are for sale are ranches (28%), townhouses (14%) or contemporary homes (14%).
Any surprises on this list?
As a home seller, you will face rejection left and right -- many prospective buyers will come view your house and most of them will decide not to buy it. But how, as a seller, do you make sense of that feedback?
I often hear the following types of feedback after a showing:
This type of feedback (size, location, floor plan) is difficult to do much with as a seller. You likely aren't going to build an addition to your house, nor will you physically move the house, nor will you reconfigure the floor plan. Sometimes the feedback is just a mild objection to be overcome -- did you realize that the unfinished bonus room could be finished quite inexpensively (size) and that the new South East connector will make your commute quite short (location)? Oftentimes, however, if you receive feedback about size, location or floor plan there isn't much you can do about it as a seller.
I also, however, will hear the following types of feedback after a showing:
This type of feedback (price, condition, marketing) is completely in your control as a seller. Many buyers will not make an offer if they think your list price is too far from reality -- adjusting your pricing may be just what you need to either generate more showings, or have a chance of the showings turning into offers. I almost included AGE as a factor outside of a seller's control, but it's much more about condition -- how well has a property been maintained, and is it in top showing shape so that buyers don't feel overwhelmed by short-term cosmetic updates and long-term maintenance needs? Finally, if a house has not been marketed thoroughly and effectively, it will likely have a much longer "days on market" than other properties, worrying buyers that perhaps they shouldn't buy the home because nobody else has in the last ten months.
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Moseley Architects has released a planning study recommending that a new jail be built at the site shown above, located in the City of Harrisonburg.
Before we get to the details of this potential new facility, you may want to read up on this issue at Old South High....
A $60 million new jail by the landfill that's projected to reach capacity in seven years is the plan to fix overcrowding – that is, if it's actually a real plan at allNow, a few snippets about the proposed new facility, from today's Daily News Record article provide some insight into what this facility would be used for....
According to the planning study, the annex would "primarily be a minimum security, treatment and program based building" with 315 beds.A bit about the costs of the proposed new jail....
The total cost of the project is estimated at more than $63.26 million, half of which would come from the state and the rest split between the city and county.And it's possible future expansion....
The cost includes a possible future expansion of the new facility to accommodate an additional 385 beds — for a total of 700 — estimated to cost $5.78 million.And the timing of this potential project....
Officials aim to submit a corrections study to the state by the end of the year. With state approval expected to take roughly a year, officials are hoping to receive state funding for construction in 2016.Read more in today's Daily News Record article....
Jail Study Recommends New Building
Daily News Record, November 21, 2014
The Reserve at Stone Port, a new development of upscale apartments in close proximity to Sentara RMH Medical Center is set to open next month.
This will be a first for Harrisonburg -- as most apartment complexes currently located in Harrisonburg are new - but are for primarily occupied by college students, or are older complexes and do not offer the these finishes, amenities, etc.
According to the developer, these apartments will NOT be rented to undergraduate students.
Phase 1 of The Reserve at Stone Port includes 168 units, but an additional 228 units are planned for future phases.
The developer also recently began site work for Bellaire at Stone Port, an 88-unit assisted living and memory care community also to be built at Stone Port. This community is slated to open in January 2016.
Read more about The Reserve at Stone Port, Bellaire at Stone Port, and Stone Port in general in last week's Daily News Record article.
If I'm using my iPhone or iPad I search for homes using the Funkhouser Real Estate Group mobile app, but otherwise I'm typically using the "Advanced Search" on my website.
So....help me improve it.....what search fields do you wish my property search offered that are not currently available? What properties, or types of properties are particularly hard to find, or hone in on?
There is also a map search, proximity search, land search, etc., on my website (about which I welcome feedback) but the majority of users seem to use the Advanced Search, so please send on your recommendations on how I can make that better, easier, more intuitive for you.
Email me feedback at scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com.
It's compelling to get a long term fixed interest rate that starts with a 3.....and it might still be possible, but the national average is now 4.01%.
Let me know if you're looking for recommendations for lenders....
One measure of future performance of our local real estate market is how many homes are being viewed by buyers. The data above is an analysis of showings of Funkhouser Real Estate Group listings over the past several months.
A few things to note....
As shown above, there have not been very many new single family home sales in the MLS over the past few years. That said, there have certainly been new single family homes built that are not reflected in these numbers -- for example, custom homes built by builders on customers' building lots.
Why aren't more new single family spec homes being built? And when will we see them being built again?
The Why -- as I was commenting to a builder yesterday, the continued availability of reasonably priced re-sale homes is making it tough for buyers to decide to build a custom home.
The When -- we need to see appreciation of home values, bringing up the prices of these re-sale homes, in order for new homes to be able to be priced competitively enough to more frequently be the chosen option for buyers.
Take a look at the graph above. You'll note that the only price range seeing year over year improvement in sales pace is the $300K - $400K price range.
The under $200K and the $200K - $300K price range are seeing no change in sales pace -- and the over $400K price range is seeing a declining sales pace.
Read more about the current state of the local housing market at HarrisonburgHousingMarket.com.
Featured Property: 4570 Magnolia Ridge Drive, Harrisonburg, VA
I just published my monthly report on the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County real estate market. Jump to the full online market report, or download the PDF, or read on for highlights....
First and foremost -- wow -- September and October home sales have been STRONG in 2014! Those two months alone have pulled the YTD pace of home sales even with (and beyond) the 2013 pace of home sales. We certainly had a slow start to the year (particularly in Feb, Mar, Apr) but the last two months (Sep, Oct) have really made the difference in the pace of home sales this year in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. Take a look at how the past two months of home sales (107, 107) have far exceeded any recent September and October sales pace.
Yes, folks, you heard me correctly -- 2014 YTD home sales (882) have now surpassed 2013 YTD home sales (866). This increase is still relatively small (+1.85%) but it certainly beats the deficit we've been working with for the past nine months.
Of note, the YTD median sales price has also increased (+1.45%) in 2014 -- and the time it takes to sell a home (median days on market) has declined by 3.3% over the past year to 117 days.
Despite colder weather on the horizon, we likely don't have to worry about the pace of home sales cooling off too quickly. As shown above, 94 buyers made buying decisions (signed contracts) in October 2014 -- as compared to only 70 such buyers one year ago in October 2013. As such, we are likely to see another strong month of home sales in November 2014.
There are many factors that have created this upswing in home sales activity in 2014 (and particularly September and October) and one of them is the remarkably low mortgage interest rates. The national average for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage dipped back below 4% in October 2014 -- for the first time in over a year.
Finally, some price trends we've been waiting so long to see -- a modest improvement in median sales price. Perhaps we'll even hit a median sales price of $180K this year? That would finally bring us back to where we were in 2010.
If you are buying or selling now, or will be soon, I encourage you to become a student of the housing market. Learn what has been happening recently, what is happening now, and what is likely to happen next. Being informed will allow you to make better real estate decisions. You can continue your studies by reading the entire November 2014 market report online, or by downloading the PDF.
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.
Heritage Estates is an active adult community in Harrisonburg with a swimming pool and located adjacent to Heritage Oaks Golf Course.
Now, thanks to some new technology you can walk through the model home....
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.
I'm finding 94 properties in the MLS that went under contract in October 2014. Here is what those 94 buyers decided to buy last month....
Here are the articles from the past month that your peers enjoyed (or at least read) most....
Stay tuned for more fun in November 2014, and if you have ideas or hot tips, feel free to email me at scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com.
Welcome to the most realistic, immersive way to experience a property online....
According National Association of Realtors research, photos are the most valuable feature to buyers when viewing a property online. However, even with lots of beautiful photos, buyers are still left wondering "How do these photos fit together?"
Until now, a video tour was the best way to try to deliver this value - but many buyers don't like video tours because they are not interactive. What if . . . we could combine the value of all of these features and put the buyer in control of the experience?
It is now possible, using Matterport 3D Showcase (TM) technology, and the results are pretty exciting!
Experience the difference yourself by visiting WalkThroughThisHome.com....
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