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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Some observations without knowing much about the budget:
As per the Daily News Record today, the Finance Committee for Rockingham County has proposed an increase of the real estate tax rate --- from $0.60 per $100 of assessed value up to $0.64 per $100 of assessed value.
Here's how that would impact a few different price ranges of homes....
In many ways, it is actually surprising that we haven't seen an increase in tax rates before now --- many localities across the country have been forced to do so in order to continue to pay for public services.
Click here for the full article from the Daily News Record.
As more (potential) good news for our growing local job market, it looks like CarMax may be opening in Harrisonburg sometime in the near future.
From the record of Harrisonburg Property Transfers last week.....
South Main Ford LLC to CarMax Auto Superstores Inc. a parcel of land on the northwestern side of South Main Street, south of West Mosby Road, $2,900,000.
This follows the recent news of Dick's Sporting Goods coming to Harrisonburg.
As a point of clarification, the title of this article is not an indication that I am willing to bet $2.9M that CarMax is coming to Harrisonburg. ;)
(photo above is a store opening in Nashville, not Harrisonburg; source)
In further (potential) good news for the local economic climate, the Daily News Record reports today that Dick's Sporting Goods may be opening up a storefront at the Valley Mall in Harrisonburg as soon as this fall. Dick's would (potentially) be located in the space that Peebles vacated in 2006. This follows recent news of an Ashley Furniture store opening in the old Books-A-Million space on East Market Street.
Additional tidbits on this developing story:
This is one economic indicator that I am happy to see heading downward. There are still lots of people who are not able to find work, but this trend is headed in a great direction.
In another positive sign for Virginia's economy and thus housing market, there seem to be more people moving into Virgina than out of Virginia.
Of note, Virginia is one of only 9 states where this is the case!
Source: KCM Blog
If you don't have a job, it's hard to buy a house. If you lose your job, it's often hard to keep your house. Thus, it is welcome news for the housing market to see the unemployment rates continuing to drop on the local, state and national levels. Yet another indicator that we should see a further improved local housing market in 2012.
In very good news for the local housing market, foreclosures are declining in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. The graph above shows the number of Trustee Deeds recorded at the courthouse per year for 2008-2010 and the number recorded in the first ten months of 2011.
It is clear that 2011 has marked a sharp turning point in the foreclosure rate in our local area. While we are not yet back to historically normal rates (70-100 per year), we have turned the corner from the peak of 270 in 2010.
Click here to download my full market report (27 pages, 7 MB, PDF) or read on for highlights....
October was a relatively positive month for the local housing market:
A strong sign of strength to come in the local housing market, October 2011 was a great month of buying activity, with 84 buyers committing to buy homes in Harrisonburg or Rockingham County. This marks a 65% increase in buyer activity as compared to October 2010!
Trends are very slow to reveal themselves in annualized sales figures (shown above) because they are an indication of 12-month rolling averages. That said, it seems that it may be a safe bet that home sales and home prices are on the mend when examining the graph above, which has now been showing increases in these long-term indicators for four months.
Some price ranges are recovering more quickly than others. The graph above shows that the price ranges under $300K have been starting to see increases in sales over the past several months. This should eventually roll over into the higher price ranges as buyers move up the price spectrum.
For an even more in-depth look at the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County real estate market, click the image above to download my full market report (27 pages, 7MB, PDF).
If you have questions about the report, or if I can be of assistance to you with real estate that you own, or that you'd like to own, please be in touch. You can reach me most easily at 540-578-0102 or scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com.
Probably not, but there is still some exciting Siri-related news for our local economy....
Siri is a revolutionary personal assistant application on the recently released iPhone 4S.
Apple bought Siri in April 2010.
Siri was developed as a project of SRI International.
SRI International opened a campus in the Shenandoah Valley in 2009.
So....what does it mean?
OK, admittedly, SRI Shenandoah Valley might not develop a component of the next iPhone, but I think the storyline above points out the enormous upside potential of this developing research and technology company right here in Rockingham County.
Per the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, SRI's Center for Advanced Drug Research (CADRE), will focus "on improving the productivity of the pharmaceutical industry, helping the nation respond to bio-threats, and developing life-saving treatments for neglected and orphan diseases."
I think this is rather exciting for our local economy!
Virginia Sets Example for Cash-strapped States
"Gov. Bob McDonnell announced that Virginia ended the fiscal year with a $311 million surplus yesterday. And for the second year in a row, Virginia ends the fiscal year with a revenue surplus, not a revenue shortfall. This is great news for Commonwealth residents, and it puts Virginia sharply in contrast with many other states that have seen revenues fall short of projections year after year."
This is great news for Virginia and for Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. A stable economy leads to job growth, leads to a stable housing market.
Read the rest of the story here, where you'll learn how Virginia was able to finish the year with a surplus!
Great news -- the local foreclosure rate is on the decline!
There were 270 recorded trustee deeds in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County during 2010. In the first half of 2011 there were only 105 recorded trustee deeds.
Yet there are some interesting foreclosure sales currently scheduled:
Learn more about short sales, trustee sales and bank owned properties.
The median sales price in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County has declined by 11% over the past year from $180K to $160K. That's a rather significant decline. But looking closer, it seems that one reason why it has declined as much as it has is because there are more bank owned properties selling this year as compared to last year.
As you can see above, last year (YTD) REO sales only accounted for 8% of all home sales in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. This year, however, REO sales account for 14% of all home sales.
The median sales price of the non-REO properties this year is $170,056, whereas the median sales price of REO properties this year is only $129,250.
There are certainly other factors that are causing a decline in median sales price, but the proportional increase in bank owned (REO) sales is certainly contributing to the situation.
If the development of Preston Lake had taken place just five years earlier, it might have been a much greater, faster, happier success story.
Given its timing, however, Preston Lake was developed and constructed at a very slow rate, which recently reached a significant milestone when Wells Fargo foreclosed on the remaining developed lots at Preston Lake. Why did it happen? It could have been the decline in the housing market....or the decline in the national economy....or that the developer's bank (Wachovia) went out of business....or many other reasons.
Regardless of the cause, the development and construction of Preston Lake was much slower than anticipated, and is now in a state of limbo. Here's a re-cap of where things are at Preston Lake, with a few bits of new information:
Homeowners Association: The Preston Lake Homeowners Association is still controlled by the developer, which is now effectively Wells Fargo. For now, however, the on-the-ground association management is being handled by a Harrisonburg-based association management company, and thus far it does seem as if any services to residents will be interrupted, nor will dues increase.
Ownership of the Land: The undeveloped residential lots all transferred to Wells Fargo (or REDUS VA HOUSING, LLC as it appears at the courthouse). Read more.
Ownership of the 4 rowhouses: Most people attending the foreclosure auction were surprised to hear the announcement that morning that separate from the auction of all of the undeveloped lots, the bank would be auctioning off four rowhouses at various states of completion. Since potential bidders were not prepared to consider purchasing a rowhouse, all four of these properties were bought back by Wells Fargo. Further details follow....
Current Listings: Three re-sale properties are currently on the market. Click here for details.
Despite many negative indicators in our local housing market, there may be hope for better news in the coming months. Click here to view a PDF of my most recent market report on the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Real Estate Market, or read on for several excerpts....
As can be seen above, sales have dropped significantly as compared to a year ago -- both in February alone (28% decline) and in year-to-date figures (21% decline). Furthermore, we continue to see declines in both median sales prices (3% decline) and average sales prices (2%). As would be expected, this has lead to an increase (21%) in the time it takes to sell a house.
Above you will note that January home sales (39) were roughly equivalent to previous years' January sales. February 2011 home sales however (38) were significantly lower than February sales in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Thus far, the trend line for 2011 home sales is headed in the wrong direction -- if you're one of those people who likes to see positive improvement.!
The pace of home sales has declined steadily for three years (orange line above), as has the median sales price in this area (green line above). Of note, the median sales price has actually stabilized and increased somewhat over the past six months.
Above (in red and blue, instead of silver) is the silver lining of this month's housing market report. Buyers were out in full force in February 2011 --- with a full 69 properties going under contract. This marks a 44% increase over February 2010, which should lead to strong sales figures in March and April.
There's plenty more news in my monthly housing market report -- click on the image above (or here) to download and view the full PDF.
As always, if you have questions about this report, or if I can be of assistance with real estate that you own, or that you'd like to own, please be in touch. You can reach me most easily at 540-578-0102 or scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com.
I attended a Realtor Association event last evening that featured the delightful music of Glick and Phillips. I had never experienced their show before, but it was a lot of fun, even if occasionally insensitive or inappropriate. :) They played a lot of songs last evening that poked fun at a variety of towns in this area such as Elkton, Grottoes, Bridgewater and Dayton -- but they also performed several songs (such as "It's Beginning to look a lot like Fairfax") that poke fun at the rapid pace of development in this area.
Had I heard this song five years ago (in 2006) I would have smiled, nodded, and thought -- well, they're right, the rapid pace of development certainly is certainly eating up farmland and creating more and more subdivisions all over the county. But I had a different response last evening as I realized that the pace of development has drastically slowed down over the past five years.
As you can see in the graph above, the sale of new single family homes has fallen drastically since a peak of 186 new homes in 2005 down to only 42 new homes in 2010. Thus, it seems that Harrisonburg's explosive growth into a Fairfax-like metropolis has been delayed or avoided.
Also, back in 2008 I examined the breakdown of land use in Rockingham County and found that much of Rockingham County will likely never be developed (33% is owned by the government) --- and we still have an extraordinary amount of undeveloped land.
Certainly, though, the source of the Glick & Phillips song inspiration was the creation of so many new subdivisions between 2000 and 2005. Below you'll see a strong concentration of those subdivisions in the area just southeast of the City of Harrisonburg, bounded by Boyers Road, Cross Keys Road, Route 33 and Port Republic Road.
Click on any subdivision in the map above to jump to active listings in that neighborhood.
Please know that I'm not accusing Glick & Phillips of being out of date -- but I do think the pace of development, and hopefully our community's view of development has certainly shifted over the past five years. It no longer appears that we are in danger of overtaking Fairfax. Would you agree?
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