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!
If you are talking to a lender about a potential mortgage on a home you might purchase, you are likely to receive a "Loan Estimate", the first page of which is shown above.
This document will walk you through all of the basic terms of the proposed mortgage, and can help you easily compare two loan offers.
For a full interactive explanation of this document, go check out the Loan Estimate Explorer at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website.
The Harrisonburg Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, December 9 at 7:00 PM in City Council Chambers (409 South Main Street) for the potential rezoning (R-1 to B-2C) of this land adjacent to Spotswood Country Club.....
The Rockingham County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, December 1 at 6:30 PM in the Board of Supervisors Meeting Room of the Rockingham County Administration Center (20 East Gay Street) for the potential rezoning (A-2 to R-2C) of this 10.33 acres being sold by Lakeview Golf Course.
Just a reminder, for anyone who missed it....
NewListingsInHarrisonburg.com allows you to quickly and easily scroll through the most recent residential listings in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, view the pertinent details, all of the photographs of the home, an area map, and then quickly and easily share that new listing with a friend, your spouse, your Realtor, etc.
You can also sign up to receive an email alert every time there is a new listing....
If you have any questions about this new website, or suggestions for improving it, just let me know.
Until then, go check it out, at NewListingsInHarrisonburg.com.
Sorry for the bad news -- but it seems that December is the worst month to sell your home -- as the lowest percentage of active listings are likely to go under contract in December as compared to any other month of the year.
The graph above examines what percentage of active listings have gone under contract in each of the past12 months -- thus, accounting for both fluctuation in buyer activity as well as fluctuation in inventory levels.
Talk about planning ahead! You can participate in a four mile run on Thanksgiving morning, and then eat EVEN MORE on Thanksgiving afternoon/evening! Plus -- this event features a pumpkin pie station along the course -- who wants water along the course when you could have pumpkin pie!
Some details from VA Momentum....
This year my kiddos will be participating in the Kids Dash -- and maybe next year I'll talk them into the longer run.
Click here to register for the Rocktown Turkey Trot and/or the Gobble Gobble Kids Dash.
The video above (click it to go watch it) and the explanation below are brought to you by some creative and civic-minded youths in our community, who are a part of a FIRST LEGO League team known as The Brick Dawgs.
In August of this year, the City of Harrisonburg switched to a single stream trash collection system. Now residents can put all of their recyclables and trash together in the same container. It gets sent to a facility an hour away that sorts the trash from the recyclable material. This is a better system because now, much more of our trash will get recycled. However, there is a problem. When people put food waste or liquids in the trash, it makes it a lot harder for other things to be recycled. It degrades and ruins some of the recyclable materials, especially newspapers or cardboard boxes, and then they can't be recycled anymore. Also, food is 60% water, so this adds unnecessary weight and volume to the trash that the city has to collect and transport, which costs a lot more money.Click here to watch their video.
The map above shows "Alternative 2", which is the identified as the Preferred Build Alternative at Exit 245 in the Exits 245 & 247 Interchange Alternative Analysis.
Here are some comments from the Harrisonburg Rockingham Metropolitan Planning Organization that might help contextualize these possible future changes....
For Exit 245 the next steps are to line up funding. That is already in progress but at this time they are only looking at doing an interim improvement there. With the removal of the former hotel in the southeast quadrant of that interchange JMU offered the city some additional right-of-way and the city has requested funding to realign the northbound exit ramp to match up with the existing Forest Hill Road intersection on Port Republic Road. There would be little to no additional right of way impacts for this improvement. If funding is awarded then construction could begin next summer for this improvement but there is no guarantee that funding will come through.So, while these changes are likely in the future -- the exact nature of them has not been finalized, and many of the changes are not likely to take place for quite a few years.
Looking at the graph above, you might not guess that home sales are up 5% year-over-year. But they are.
Showings, however, as shown above, have been quite slow in many recent months. There were fewer showings in May, June, July, August and September as compared to the same month the previous year - yet despite this, home sales increased.
October was a breath of fresh air, as showings increased dramatically (+60%) as compared to last year.
Thanks to Brent at On the Road Collaborative for the tip on this opportunity for City residents....
The Harrisonburg City School Board is asking residents of Harrisonburg City to submit recommendations for the new elementary school being built on Garbers Church Road AND the new pre-school center being built at Smithland Elementary School.
This is a great opportunity to make your voice heard on important decisions in our community that will last for generations to come!
click here to make your naming recommendation
Facility naming guidelines include:
Recommendations must be received by 4:00 p.m. on December 10, 2015. The School Board will begin discussion on this matter at the January 19, 2016 school board work session.
Click on the image above to download the architect's most recent report on this upcoming school facility.
As noted above, the pace of homes sales is increasing in both the City and County when comparing January through October sales figures in 2014 vs. 2015. The same across the board increase is not found in sales prices....
The median price has declined 2% in the City -- but has increased 5% in the County.
Other items of note....
There have been 1% fewer contracts signed this year....
AHHHH!!??!! -- The Sky Is Falling!! -- alert, alert, panic, panic!
Oh, but wait....
There have been 5% more closed sales this year.
Hmmmm.....could it be that a higher percentage of contracts are making it to closing this year than last?
Maybe the (slight) (itty bitty) decline in contracts is not too worrisome after all.
Learn more about this month's Featured Property: 1730 Buckingham Drive
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....
October 2015 home sales were a bit slower (-7%) than last October -- but year to date home sales (January - October) have increased 5% in 2015 as compared to 2014. This increase in the pace of home sales has been accompanied by a 4% increase in both the median sales price and the average sales price -- and the time it takes to sell a home (median days on market) has declined by14% to 56 days. So -- more homes are selling, more quickly, at higher prices. Good news (for home sellers) on all three counts.
As shown above, October home sales on their own, fit into the middle of the pack as compared to the past few October's. That said, 2015 has been a turbulent year over all -- with several months (June, August) hitting never-seen-before monthly high's -- and with some slower months as well. Looking forward, the past two years have shown dreadfully slow months of November -- will we really see that much of a decline this year? Or will sales stay a bit stronger this November?
I greatly enjoy the graph above -- it most readily shows the overall improvement of the (YTD) home sales market over the past five years in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. Clearly, there was a significant recovery in the pace of sales between 2012 and 2013 -- but we have seen continued recovery in 2014 (barely) and 2015 (more significantly).
Inventory levels climbed ever so slightly (+1%) year-over-year in October -- and actually increased slightly from where we were a month ago. We will likely see these inventory levels drop off over the next few months as we head into the winter market.
OK, that's it for now. You can read further commentary in coming days on my blog, HarrisonburgHousingToday.com, or dive right into the full market report, which you can read online or download as a 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.
We might as well call it the year of the sub-4% mortgage interest rate. Other than a short time in June/July, we've seen sub-4% mortgage interest rates all year long!
For a bit of context, compare that to mortgage interest rates during 2014....
If you're selling your current home to buy a new one, you may be wondering....
So many questions -- all very helpful to think through, calculate and discuss. The worksheet above can help you think through those numbers -- and it is available here as an editable Excel file. Enjoy!
click here for a larger version of the map or here for a PDF
The map above shows where JMU college students live, in a few categories of housing....
If you are interested in purchasing an investment property in Harrisonburg, you may want to check out HarrisonburgInvestmentProperties.com -- or, feel free to drop me an email (scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com) and we can discuss the best opportunities for you.
Sellers are usually quite disheartened to receive a low offer on their house, for example, an offer of $365K on a $415K listing. But it is important to remember that even that low offer really is a complement!
If you have not yet had an offer on your house (that is listed at $415K) and you receive an offer of $365K, that doesn't necessarily mean your house is only worth $365K, nor does it necessarily mean that you should accept $365K or something close to it. It does, however, mean something quite exciting --- somebody wants to buy your house!!!
Of course, negotiations won't always work out with low offers -- but recognize a low offer for what it is -- a buyer who wants to buy your house, and perhaps the first buyer who has declared as much through a written offer!
If there is any way to put a deal together with those buyers, you ought to pursue it, as it's hard to know when the next buyer will work up the courage to tell you that they want to buy your house!
If you are looking for a non-traditional office space from which to launch your next entrepreneurial venture -- or if you are a designer, consultant, free-lancer or telecommuter -- you ought to check out bluehub coworking in downtown Harrisonburg.
Located across West Bruce Street from the Ice House (and Black Sheep Coffee, Pure Eats and Pale Fire Brewery) this coworking space offers affordable access to shared office space, conference rooms, and a great group of coworkers.
While I accomplish much of my work from my real estate office, I also have an office space at bluehub where I work on real estate as well as TakeThemAMeal.com.
So -- make it a point to check out bluehub this week -- I'd be happy to give you a tour.
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