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!
Walk through this new condominium at Founders Way, centrally located in Harrisonburg less than two miles away from downtown Harrisonburg. These condominiums for homeowners are a part of the existing Liberty Square neighborhood providing access to many amenities, including a jogging trail, workout stations, playgrounds and putting area. Each condo at Founders Way features a modern kitchen and an open floor plan, and all residents have access to high-speed internet access and a cable television service.
Find out more about these new condos at FoundersWay.com.
Yes, you are correct, you likely missed the most active months of home buying in our local market -- last year more buyers bought in May through August then in any month thereafter.
However, as shown above, there were still plenty of buyers signing contracts in September and October -- and November wasn't too terrible either.
If you're going to be putting your house on the market this Fall, we should be talking, and planning, now. We need to determine an appropriate price given current market conditions, and we need to discuss any improvements you will be making to your house before it goes on the market.
As I was developing HarrisonburgInvestmentProperties.com, one of my editors commented -- "Multi Family Properties? We don't have have Multi Family Properties in Harrisonburg, do we?"
In fact, we do. Sometimes it is a duplex (the whole thing, both sides), or a triplex, a quad, or a small apartment building.
They do exist in Harrisonburg, and there are always a few for sale to consider.
Check them out on HarrisonburgInvestmentProperties.com.
Many of my past clients have considered, or are considering, the purchase of an investment property in Harrisonburg as a means for diversifying their investments. Today, I launched a new website, HarrisonburgInvestmentProperties.com to provide an overview of your options if you are considering the purchase of an investment property in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
This new website features investment properties in a number of categories, including....
On this new website you can explore a variety of communities where you might consider the purchase of an investment property, and explore useful information such as the pace and price of sales in the community....
....a concise investment analysis of a sample property in the community....
....specific details of recent sales in the community....
....and much more, including properties currently for sale, and a neighborhood map.
But that's not all! I am also releasing several tools I have built in Microsoft Excel to aid in your analysis of potential rental properties, including a mortgage calculator and two different investment analysis worksheets. Check out these analysis tools here.
Whether you are preparing to buy your first rental property, or your 10th, I hope that this new website will serve as a helpful resource to you. If you have suggestions for further additions to the site please let me, and if you would like my assistance in evaluating and purchasing investment properties in Harrisonburg, please email me (scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com) to set up a time for a preliminary consultation.
As Karl pointed out, the declines in inventory levels over the past few years have been more significant in the City than in the County. And as Charles pointed out, this could be a great time for someone to start building some spec homes.
If you are a builder, and are considering building some spec homes, let's chat about what would work best in the current market -- and where you might build it.
If you think there aren't many homes for sale, it's because there aren't many homes for sale. The graph above shows how inventory levels in our area have shifted downward over the past seven years.
Looking at inventory levels at the start of each August, here's what we find....
Past years indicate that we will likely see inventory levels continue to decline over the next five to six months.
Over the past three years (shown above) interest rates have fallen into three categories....
As you can see above, interest rates have spent the most time in the ABSURDLY LOW category over the past years -- and apparently interest rates will be going up "soon, but not now" per a Washington Post article about the recent Federal Reserve meeting....
The Federal Reserve made few waves when its top brass met in Washington last month for their regular policy-setting meeting. Its target interest rate — pegged at zero since the financial crisis — remained unchanged, and the central bank's official statement offered few clues of when it might rise.Read more in the full Washington Post article, This is how the Federal Reserve is preparing to raise interest rates.
Sellers, on average, are willing to take 3% off of their list price -- based on a historical analysis of how much sellers have negotiated in recent years.
That being said....
1) This ratio (homes sell for 97% of their list price) is a comparison of the sales price to the LAST list price. Sometimes it takes a price reduction or two until a list price is seen to be at a reasonable place by buyers to elicit an offer that then gets negotiated to that average of 97% of the final list price.
2) On a related note, a seller can't price their home wherever they'd like and then expect it will sell for 97% of that list price. A home with a market value of $300K will not sell for $388K if you list at $400K.
3) Buyers should not necessarily expect to be able to negotiate 10% off of a list price. Sometimes it happens -- a seller is extra motivated, a list price is way too high, etc. -- but it is not a common occurrence.
4) Sellers should not expect to sell for 100% of their list price. If you lower your list price from $315K to $300K, buyers will certainly take note of the recent price reduction, but they won't necessarily be ready to pay you 100% of your new list price -- unless you have lowered the list price to the point where it is right at, or just below market value.
If you're getting ready to put your house on the market this Fall, let's start talking now about pricing strategies to best prepare you for what a buyer might offer you for your house in the current market.
click here for a slightly larger version of this map
The location of the still relatively new Sentara RMH Medical Center, the completion of Stone Spring Road (the SouthEast Connector), and zoning maps that are currently being updated have all positioned the area shown above (in color) to be the area where we will see the most commercial and residential growth over the next 5 to 10 (to 20?) years.
I used to consider this road to be bound by Boyers Road, Spotswood Trail, Cross Keys Road and Port Republic Road, but Stone Spring Road has certainly reshaped the borders relative to Boyers Road as well as Port Republic Road.
Stay tuned for lots of new growth of businesses and homes in this area.
If you are hoping to build a new single family home on a scenic hilltop (or in a rolling pasture) in Rockingham County, your options have recently expanded. Building a single family detached residence is now a permitted use in A1 zoned land in Rockingham County. Prior to the recent change in the zoning ordinance, you would have been required to file for a special use permit to build a single family home on A1 zoned land.
Thanks to Todd Rhea for the hot tip on this change in the zoning ordinance.
If I knew the Rockingham County GIS had such a helpful ZONING layer, I forgot about it temporarily. Thanks for the reminder, Todd Rhea.
When you're in the GIS, just go to "Map Layers" (tab at the top) and then "Zoning and Districts" (group on the left) and then turn on "Zoning".
This can be helpful for you to examine when considering the purchase of a home out in the County (what is the land surrounding this property zoned?) or if you are considering the purchase of land or development purposes.
Check it out in the Rockingham County GIS.
Home buyers enjoyed mortgage interest rates below 4% for the first five months of this year -- and they even dropped as low as 3.6% in February. But after rates started rising in mid-April, they did not stop at 4% -- they kept on rising, and stayed largely above 4% for much of June and July.
But no longer! Just when you thought mortgage interest rates were going to keep on climbing, to 4.5%, 5%, 5.5%, 6% and beyond -- they dropped again! The average mortgage interest rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage has again been below 4% for the past two weeks.
Despite numerous false alarms of interest rates getting ready to go up, up, up over the past few years -- it still has not happened. I'm sure the rates will eventually go up, and yes, that will affect your monthly payment relative to your home's purchase price -- but for now, we can continue to enjoy these super (super) low interest rates below 4% -- yet again.
The "months of supply" illustrated in the graph above shows how many months it would take to sell all homes currently listed for sale in each price range given the current pace of buying activity in that price range. As you can tell, each price range is performing differently. Let's take a closer look....
The good news, as shown above, is that over the past 12 months, all price ranges have seen a decline in the months of housing supply available on the market for sale. The decline in the months of supply available ranged from 13% to 32%. But when we look changes over the past six months, we find a bit of a different phenomenon....
As shown above, almost all price ranges are seeing more months of supply available now as compared to six months ago. The largest increase in housing supply has been in the $300K - $400K price range with a 56% increase in months of supply over the past six months. The only price range that did not experience an increase in available housing supply has been the $200K - $300K price range.
A few concluding thoughts....
Wait... what?? Inventory levels are headed down... for the winter??
Yep, in some ways, we're already in that seasonal decline. Inventory levels have declined over the past 60 days, and are likely to continue to decline from now until next March based on seasonal trajectories of past years.
Furthermore, there is an 8.6% year-over-year decline in inventory levels, further limiting the number of homes that are on the market.
BUYERS: If you want to buy a home in the next three to six months, you likely have more options now than you will have in a month, and in another month, and the next after that.
SELLERS: While we'll see fewer buyers in the Fall (and then the Winter) those buyers will have fewer and fewer buying options since inventory levels are declining. As such, the declining inventory levels work to your benefit -- giving you fewer sellers to compete with.
Learn more about this month's Featured Property: 1368 Bluewater Road
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, the fun news. As noted above, when looking at 2015 YTD home sales, you'll find that the market has shown a 6% improvement over last year in the pace of sales -- and that the median sales price has risen by 7%. Both of these are signs of a strong, growing local real estate market. A third indicator to note is that the median time it takes for a house to go under contract (days on market) has fallen 11% over the past year.
You may have noted that July 2015 home sales (105) were a good bit below July 2014 home sales (125). It turns out the seven year high of 132 home sales seen in June 2015 may simply been a timing phenomenon. When combining June and July home sales, there were 237 home sales in June/July 2015 as compared to 236 home sales during June/July 2014 --as such, the two month track record for June and July is on pace with last year despite the decline in monthly sales in July 2015.
Looking, graphically, at the first seven months of home sales during 2015 (above) you can see that we're a good bit ahead of 2014 (YTD) and that this is the strongest January - July sales pace we have seen in at least the previous five years. Looking back further into the historical data, it seems that the last time we saw 628 (or more) January - July home sales was waaaay back in 2007.
While every market segment (price range, property type, neighborhood, specific house) has performed differently over the past four years -- it is certainly a welcome sign to see a nearly $20,000 increase in the median sales price over the past four years -- after having seen a $25,000 decline from the peak in 2007/2008.
After several months of year-over-year declines in the monthly pace of contracts being signed, we did see (above) a year-over-year increase during July 2015 with 118 contracts being signed by buyers (and sellers). We are likely to see 100+ contracts during August, and quite possibly into September and October as well.
OK, that's it for now. I'll hit some high points here on HarrisonburgHousingToday.com in coming days. In the meantime, you can read the full August 2015 Harrisonburg Housing Market Report online or by downloading the PDF.And as is always my encouragement -- if you will be buying or selling a home in the near future, 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.
If you are ready to buy or sell a property in Harrisonburg or Rockingham County, contact me at 540-578-0102 or scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com to get the process started.
Just more than half (0.2% more than half) of sellers in 2015 have paid for some or all of the buyer's closing costs via a credit at settlement. This is an increase over previous years, particularly over 2014.
The average amount of that closing cost credit is not increasing -- it is still hovering around an average of $4,000. Of note -- that means that quite often the closing cost credit is higher than $4,000.
So, is a seller paying a buyer's closing costs something that is normal, to be expected, likely to happen if you are selling your home? Yes, certainly so! Expect it, and be ready to negotiate offers accordingly.
Take a few minutes to walk through this spacious, four bedroom, updated Colonial in Lakewood Estates features a finished, walkout basement and a large backyard with a storage building and mature trees. Enjoy hardwood floors, ceramic tile, a two car garage on the main level plus an additional garage / workshop on the lower level, a large eat-in kitchen with attached screened porch, a family room with a wood burning fireplace and build-in bookcases, a formal living room, and a finished basement that offers a rec room, fourth bedroom, third bathroom and an office area. Don't miss the new carpet, fresh paint, PVC railing on the two back decks, the covered front porch, central vacuum and much more.
Click here to walk through this home, on your computer, phone or tablet.
Or, visit this home's property website.
Or, view high resolution photos of this home by clicking the collage below....
I will hold out a bit longer to see any other home sales that might end up being reported in the MLS in the next few days, but thus far, home sales in July 2015 are coming in a bit lower than the same month in the past two years.
Stay tuned for more analysis as the week goes on.
As of this morning, Harrisonburg residents can now just toss their recycling (cans, bottles, etc.) right into their trash can. Yes, you heard that right, you no longer need to separate out your recyclable items from your trash.
Read more about this new Single Stream Collection Program on the Funkhouser Real Estate Group blog.
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