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!
Take a few minutes to walk through this four bedroom, two and a half bathroom home with a two car garage in the Turner Ashby school district offers a spacious and open floor plan with a two-story foyer, formal living room (or study, music room or art room), an eat-in kitchen, a large family room and a formal dining room with a gas fireplace. This home adjoins farmland in the rear of the house and offers beautiful views from the deck and many rooms of the house. Don't miss the hardwood floors in the foyer, living room and dining room, ceramic tile in the kitchen, the laundry room with a sink, the extended garage with lots of storage space, and the storage building in the backyard.
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....
Find out more about this 3D Walk Through technology at WalkThroughThisHome.com....
Olive Garden and Krispy Kreme **MIGHT** open in Harrisonburg. Per today's Daily News Record article....
It has been a while since I posted a sales update on Preston Lake -- the area's largest (intended) mixed use community that was started just before the real estate boom, was foreclosed on, was purchased by a new developer, and now seems to be gaining some momentum.
The pace of single family home sales jumped up quite a bit in 2015....
Sales of rowhouses - the original, large, upscale, ornate townhouses built by The Hine Group slowed (stopped) in 2015....
The new developer at Preston Lake launched several new townhouses concepts, which started selling in 2014....
Finally, a new "villa" product was launched in 2015 -- at the lowest price point (and size of home) yet....
Of note -- these sales (above) are all of the sales shown in the MLS. It is likely that there have been a few other sales direct from the builder/developer to buyer that are not reflected in the MLS.
If you have questions about Preston Lake, check out their website, or email me (scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com). My dad lives at Preston Lake and I am over there quite a bit.
This was another helpful data set in the housing study prepared for the Harrisonburg Housing and Redevelopment Authority....
Non-Student Apartment Complexes in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County:
A recently completed housing study prepared for the Harrisonburg Housing and Redevelopment Authority had a helpful and informative snapshot of recent economic development announcements.....
Do you know of any additional recent economic development announcement? Are any of those on the list above now inaccurate or out of date?
The list above shows the 50 properties in Harrisonburg with the highest assessed values per the 2016 assessments. As you can see, JMU, apartment complexes and City schools are many of the most valuable properties.
Let's take a closer look at the top 10....
017 B 1
900 S MAIN ST
VISITORS JAMES MADISON UN
085 A 3
COMMONWEALTH OF VA VISITORS OF JMU
017 C 0-17
235 MARTIN LUTHER KING JR WAY
VISITORS OF JAMES MADISON UNIVERSITY
081 A 17
250 CHESTNUT RIDGE DR
COPPER BEECH TOWNHOME COMMUNITIES
018 D 2 3 5
VISITORS JAMES MADISON UN
086 D 1
UNIVERSITY BLVD VISITORS
JAMES MADISON UNIVERSITY
117 A 2
935 GARBERS CHURCH RD
HARRISONBURG CITY SCHOOL BOARD
078 C 3
1925 E MARKET ST
SM VALLEY MALL LLC
051 A 1
1301 HILLCREST DR
EASTERN MENNONITE COLLEGE & SEMINARY INC
072 A 16
SCHOOL BOARD OF THE CITY OF
Sorting properties in the City by their owner results in the data outlined above. These are likely some of the most prolific property owners in the City of Harrisonburg. One important disclaimer, however, is that this summary does not account for people who own properties under multiple ownership entities.
A more owner specific notes....
Did your 2016 tax assessment go up or down? As shown above, most properties had the same tax assessed value in 2016 as compared to 2015....
Also of interest....
According to the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development....
A cash proffer is (a)any money voluntarily proffered in a writing signed by the owner of property subject to rezoning, submitted as part of a rezoning application and accepted by a locality pursuant to the authority granted by Va. Code Ann. Section 15.2-2303 or Section 15.2-2298, or (b) any payment of money made pursuant to a development agreement entered into under authority granted by Va. Code Ann. Section 15.2-2303.1.In other words, cash paid by a developer to a locality for the ability to rezone a piece of development land.
There are several bills in the General Assembly that would amend Virginia's proffer system by requiring that proffers be limited to impacts directly attributed to a new development. Apparently, some localities in the more densely populated areas of Virginia (Richmond, Northern Virginia) are using cash proffers for projects unrelated to the new developments.
As per today's Daily News Record article (County Officials Blast Development Proposal), officials in Rockingham County are not in favor of this bill being passed, because it would require that the County would hire an independent body to examine all proposed proffers in the future, which would be an added cost the County, and thus taxpayers.
My read on the matter is that a reform of the proffer system would improve how things work in Richmond and Northern Virginia (making sure that proffers are really only for projects related to the new developments) but would add additional requirements, processes and costs for the rest of the localities throughout Virginia.
As you start shopping around for a mortgage, you should ask each lender for a "Loan Estimate" as shown above. This is a relatively new document that lenders are using, and outlines all of the terms of the loan you are considering.
Even better -- the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has created this interactive Loan Estimate Explainer.
Let me know if you are looking for a recommendation of a local lender....
Learn more about this month's Featured Property: 3853 Traveler Road
I just published my monthly report on the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County real estate market. Jump to the full online market report, watch the overview video below, or download the PDF, or read on for highlights....
A Video Overview....
Let's start by taking a look at the overall market performance in January and over the past twelve months....
Strong Sales Pace....
As shown above, we saw a strong month of sales in January -- with 67 home sales, as compared to only 49 last January. This 37% year-over-year improvement in January 2016 contributed to a 6.42% year-over-year increase in the annualized pace of home sales in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.
While the median price ticked down 0.51% when only looking at January 2016 figures, the median sales price over the past 12 months increased by 2.83% to $185,000 compared to the previous 12 months.
Homes are also selling faster -- at a median pace of 55 days on the market based on sales in the past 12 months.
When looking at a rolling 12-month time frame in the graph above, we note that:
Buyers and sellers signed 74 contracts in January 2016 -- as compared to 76 last January. This is despite a large snowstorm that slowed down the market for at least a week during January. This is an indicator that we are likely to see a similar number of February home sales this year as we did last year.
Inventory levels (the number of homes for sale) are at their lowest levels seen anytime in the past eight months. This is not surprising given the time of year we are in -- though year-over-year inventory levels have also declined by 2%.
More and Much, Much More....
For planning purposes, just a reminder that the tax rate in Rockingham County was both $0.66 and $0.68 during 2015 -- but we can likely now just plan on it being $0.68 (or higher?).
The tax rate for the first half of the year (2015) was $0.66 and then it increased to $0.68 for the second half of the year.
The City of Harrisonburg continues to have a slightly higher ($0.72) tax rate than Rockingham County.
Walmart, Gabe's and Hobby Lobby were some of the major participants in the commercial real estate market in 2015, but as noted in today's DNR article....
[...] it's a nonbuilding project, the completion of the half-loop connecting U.S. 33 east and west of Harrisonburg known as the Southeast Connector, that's predicted to have the greatest effect on commercial real estate.Read the fully Daily News Record article for an overview of some of the changes and new developments seen in the Harrisonburg commercial real estate market in 2015.
If we take NoVa (2.9M), Virginia Beach (1.7M) and Richmond (1.2M) out of the mix, we're left with the eight MSA's listed above. You'll note that Harrisonburg and Rockingham County have an estimated population of 133K, compared to Staunton (next smaller at 121K) and Blacksburg (next larger at 183K).
Click here for a larger version of the graph above.
Of note -- this graph does not include:
Many of my savvy investor clients wait for the winter months to acquire additional rental properties. Their reasons are pretty logical....
Of note -- this advice is most applicable to townhouse properties that might be purchased by investors or owner occupants. This does not necessarily apply to multi-family properties or student housing properties.
If you are looking for some advice on how to get started with real estate investing, check out HarrisonburgInvestmentProperties.com.
(don't worry -- this is not really one of my client's homes)
Preparing your home to go on the market can be challenging (and tiring), and often sellers-to-be need a second (or third) set of eyes to provide suggestions about where to focus their time and energy. There are many different theories about how to best prepare your home to be on the market and viewed by buyers --- and ways of expressing those theories.
Distractions are the things that keep a prospective buyer from focusing on your house. That might be knick knacks, or family photos, or refrigerator magnets, or an overflowing pantry, or fascinating artwork, or an abundance of indoor plants, or a strange odor, or brightly colored wall hangings. Whatever it is --- if a buyer is focusing on one (or more) of these items, they're not focusing on your house. They're reading all of the Far Side comics on the fridge instead of marveling at the granite countertops, tile back splash, recessed lighting, and stainless steel appliances. They're amazed at how you fit 234 board games into the coat closet instead of taking in the quality workmanship of the trim detail in the foyer, and the mountain views out the picture window in the family room. As you prepare your home to go on the market, close your eyes for a few moments when standing at the entrance to each main living area. Then, open your eyes, and take note of where your eyes are immediately drawn. Or, walk slowly through the space (or ask a friend to help) seeing where your eyes (and your mind) linger.
Objections are those correctable physical characteristics of your home that give a buyer a reason to mark your home off their list, or to move it down a notch in their preferences. Perhaps it is that the vinyl siding needs to be power washed, or that three bi-fold closet doors need to be adjusted, or that there is poor lighting in the kitchen, or that the deck needs staining. There are oftentimes small home maintenance items that should be attended to before putting your home on the market. There are two potential dangers of having these items unresolved --- first, a buyer might become too overwhelmed by the work that they need to do to the home once they move in, and second, a buyer might extrapolate from what they can see to imagine what they cannot. A classic example of this is the dirty furnace filter that makes a buyer assume that the HVAC system has never been serviced, is in a terrible state of disrepair, and will need to be replaced immediately.
As you're preparing your house to go on the market, I'm happy to provide you with another set of eyes and to give you some new perspectives on how to best prepare your home to be shown to buyers. When you're ready, just give me a call (540-578-0102) or send me an e-mail (scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com). Also, don't fret about having your home in perfect "show condition" before you call me --- I'm happy to give you some guidance and feedback while you're still in the process of preparing your home to go on the market.
Fear not, interest rate watchers, while mortgage interest rates were on the rise -- climbing up above 4% at the end of December, they have now tumbled back down to 3.79%.
When the Fed raised its key interest rates, it seemed that mortgage interest rates might finally be leaving the sub-4% range for good.
Not so much.
It's anyone's guess where mortgage interest rates will end up in December 2016 -- but their recent trajectory (down, down, down) no longer has me worrying (as much) that we will see a steady increase through the year up to and beyond 5%.
If you're thinking of selling this Spring or Summer, and you have trees (especially large house-obscuring trees) we should discuss taking some exterior photos SOON rather than waiting until later when we can't see your house at all.
Oh, but yes, we should make sure all of the snow has melted first....
It's all about the timing!
Licensed in the
Commonwealth of Virginia
Receive notifications of new content on this blog, via e-mail or RSS reader.
Mobile Real Estate Apps
Housing Market Report
Walk Through This Home
The Glen at Cross Keys
The Townes at Bluestone
Cottages @ Stone Spring
Harrisonburg New Homes
Best Deals In Harrisonburg
Bank Owned Properties
Potential Short Sales
Recent Price Changes
Secret MRIS Listings
Secret GAAR Listing
Broadway VA Homes