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!
The Planning Commission has approved the rezoning of an 8 acre parcel on the corner of East Market Street and Country Club Road. City Council will be considering the rezoning on January 12, 2016.
The potential rezoning is somewhat historic....
"Brian Shull, the city's economic development director, said the parcel could become the first noncommercial lot of 7 acres or more along East Market to be rezoned for commercial use since 2003, when Harrisonburg Crossing was created at the former Dunham-Bush plant."Two changes were actually needed, as outlined in this Daily News Record article....
For the project to move forward, the parcel's land-use designation in the city's comprehensive plan must be changed to commercial from conservation recreation. The property then must be rezoned to general business district conditional from single-family residential district. Senior planner Alison Banks said the Harrisonburg Planning Commission approved both requests unanimously on Dec. 9. City Council also must sign off and is slated to take up the matter at its Jan. 12 meeting. The change makes sense to the city's planning staff, she said, because of the nature of traffic in the area and utilities on the site. "This portion of the country club that we'd be subdividing off along East Market Street is at a busy intersection," Banks said. "Large [Harrisonburg Electric Commission] power lines run thorough it, too." The conceptual site plan presented to the Planning Commission shows two entrances to the small center - a standard one with turn lanes off Country Club Road, and a right in, right out off East Market Street at the property's eastern edge.Find out more about this parcel of land at SpotswoodLand.com.
The proposed site plan (pdf) is included below....
Are you still doing your last minute Christmas shopping? Are you still looking for that perfect gift for that special someone in your life? Perhaps a new house would be a perfect thing to tuck into their stocking, to hang on the mantle, above the fireplace, of their new house? :)
OK -- clearly, it's a slower time of year -- though last year there were three buyers (and thus three sellers) who signed a contract on December 24th or 25th.
Oh, and between Christmas and New Years Eve? Another six!
Whether you are buying a house in the next week (to nine days) or not, I hope that it is a peaceful, relaxing and joyful time for you and your family.
There have been fewer and fewer and fewer foreclosures of properties in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County in recent years. We're still not back to the sub-100 level of 2000-2007, but we're a lot better off than we were when we were seeing over 200 foreclosures per year.
The data point for 2015 shown above (128 trustee sales) only includes Jan 1 - Nov 30 data.
Updated assessed values were released earlier this month for all properties in the City of Harrisonburg, and they have now also been updated on HarrisonburgAssessments.com.
As per the December 3, 2015 Daily News Record article....
Next Tuesday (December 22) is the first day of Winter. The weather forecast shows we'll likely have 57 degree temperatures. Hmmm. Winter, huh? Might be a rather warm Christmas!?!
Well, anyhow, if the cold usually associated with winter ever arrives, you may want to check out this tip from Charles Hendricks, an architect in Harrisonburg who performs energy audits.
Seal your electrical outlets to improve your home comfort
As Charles points out....
"In every house I visit to do an energy audit, the electrical outlets have been a major source of air infiltration. Sealing these holes up in your thermal envelope will reduce your energy usage and make your home more comfortable."Have you sealed your electrical outlets? How long did it take? How much did it cost? Did you experience the difference?
The Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that it will raise its key interest rate for the first time in almost a decade. This is expected to lead to gradual increases in mortgage interest rates.
WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve said on Wednesday that it would raise short-term interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis, a decision it described as a vote of confidence in the American economy even as much of the rest of the world struggles.Read more in this NY Times article.
I'll take a look at how these prices per acre vary within different acreage ranges soon -- but for now, know that all 1+ acre lots that are selling in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County are selling at a median of $14,025 per acre. Last year's median of $9,932 was an odd departure from the previous several years.
The pace of home sales is increasing in every price range except $300K - $400K. There are only an average of 7.8 homes selling per month in the $300K - $400K price range, as compared to an average of 9.8 sales per month a year ago.
This might seem like a small numerical change, but it amounts to a 21% decline in the pace of sales, and is in stark contrast to the increases seen in all of the other price ranges.
Most housing market analysts consider six months of inventory (active listings) to be an indicator of a balanced market (between buyers and sellers). The "BUYERS" trend line above is illustrating how many buyers are buying in a six month period. The "SELLERS" trend line above is illustrating how many sellers are in the market (active listings) at any given time. As you can see, our market had an extreme imbalance several years ago, with more sellers in the market than were needed based on the buyers in the market. Over the past four years we have been seeing a steady increase in buyers in the market and a decline in sellers in the market.
Find out more about our local market at HarrisonburgHousingMarket.com.
Learn more about this month's Featured Property: 6600 Lawyer 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....
There is plenty to be excited about in this month's report on our local housing market....
Home sales are piling up in 2015 -- as shown above, the 1,039 home sales we have seen between January and November this year is well above the number of home sales seen anytime in the previous five years.
The pace at which buyers are signing contracts to buy real estate is often an excellent indicator of the future sales performance of our local market. Curiously, we are seeing fewer people signing contracts in the most recent 12 months (1,168) as compared to the previous 12 months (1,186). Since closed sales are increasing, this likely means that more contracts are making it successfully to closing.
Inventory levels are both up, and down. There are actually 2% more homes on the market now as compared to a year ago -- however, inventory levels have dropped by 6% over the past six months, as is typical for this time of year.
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.
Who would have thunk it? Seriously!?!
When interest rates started rising from 3.65% in April up to 4.04% in June, it seemed that maybe, just maybe, interest rates were headed back up for good.
But no -- rates then generally declined, again, between June and November.
As shown above, for nearly all of 2015, interest rates have been between 3.75% and 4%. These rates are the average rate on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage.
Opportunities to finance your home purchase with a historically low (fixed!) mortgage interest rate continue -- perhaps on into 2016!
I know, I know, it's cold, you aren't thinking about being outside listening to great music and camping overnight -- but wait -- you should be! As of this morning (10AM) early bird tickets are now on sale for the Red Wing Roots Music Festival to be held on July 8 - 10, 2016 at Natural Chimneys.
It is definitely a highlight of our family's summer -- and I encourage you to make it a tradition in your summer as well.
Click here to go buy your early bird tickets via Eventbrite.
31 sellers in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County would say YES!
Many homeowners took their house off the market over the holidays, some of whom will wait until the first Monday of January to re-list, and some of whom will wait until Spring to put them back on the market. And why not? There couldn't be too many people buying homes over the Christmas holiday, right?
Looking back at this past holiday season, if you took your house off the market 10 days before Christmas (Dec 15) and waited until the first Monday after the New Year to put it back on the market....
You would have missed out on 31 buyers who signed contracts to buy homes between those dates.
There have been 241 contracts signed in the past three months (Sept, Oct, Nov) -- as compared to 248 contracts during the same months last year. With that small of a decline (-3%), we'll say that buyers are buying at "about the same pace" as last year.
While I'd always like to see 3% - 5% year-over-year growth in the pace and price of sales, it is unlikely that we'll always see those steady increases. Thankfully, looking at a wider time frame, sales are up 5% year-over-year in 2015 through the end of October. More stats to come soon.
Location, location, location. Build your new home in the Keister school district, immediately adjacent to Hillandale Park, where hiking and biking and other recreational opportunities abound. You will be in close proximity to the JMU campus and downtown Harrisonburg.
Three lots are being sold, as shown above....
Much of my time and energy in real estate is dedicated to working with buyers and sellers on their real estate goals. However, I also spend additional time analyzing our local real estate market and creating online resources to assist everyone in our community.
Why do I spend time compiling all of this information? I believe that home buyers and sellers can make the best decisions with a detailed understanding of our local real estate market.
I hope the resources I have created are helpful to you in understanding our real estate market as you consider buying and selling real estate.
You can now find a compilation of all of these resources for buying and selling real estate in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County online at HarrisonburgRealEstateResources.com.
click here for a larger version
Lakeview Development Corporation is proposing a rezoning of 10.33 acres from A-2 to R-2C. There will be a public hearing this evening at 6:30 PM in the Board of Supervisors Meeting Room of the Rockingham County Administration Center (20 East Gay Street).
A bit of background....
A few of the proposed new single family home lots back up to existing homes in Great Oaks on Confederacy Drive, and a few back up to existing building lots on Hastings Court in Crossroads Farm.
Rockingham County Staff recommends that the rezoning be tabled, as outlined below....
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