Western Albemarle 2018 First Quarter Real Estate Report

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Chart courtesy Nest Realty

Crozet Home Sales Continue to Surge

At the end of the first quarter of 2017 real estate participants were scratching their heads wondering “what just happened?” The period was the strongest first quarter ever in Crozet real estate history. With nice weather early, new home builders and current homeowners alike were experiencing high traffic and quick contracts. The traditionally strong spring real estate season seemed to have started at least a month early. And a year later we have experienced the same again. There were 64 total sales in the first quarter of 2018, up 25 percent from the 51 sales at the same time last year, a scorching clip that portends another record year if the pace continues.

Of the 64 total sales, one sale over $1M will be excluded for statistical purposes (a $4M 135-acre estate on Dick Woods Road). The 25 percent increase in sales compares to the roughly 9 percent increase seen in Albemarle County as a whole (see the attached five-year sales trend chart provided courtesy of Nest Realty). The average price per finished sqft was up 3.5 percent; the average and median prices were both up marginally as well. Fortunately there was only one distressed sale in the period; we hope to see this at zero in coming quarters. Land sales doubled to 8 from 4 at the same time in 2017. Of the total 63 property sales, 12 were for properties on an acre of land or more. These properties tend to be in outlying areas around Crozet, and historically make up about 25 percent of total sales. The 20 percent figure for this past quarter is down slightly, probably reflecting the increasing number of sales of new homes that are on smaller parcels of land. The average days-on-market for resale properties was down to 65 from 79 last year. The quickening sales pace highlights the common buyer complaint of low inventory. The reality is properties are selling faster at higher prices.

There were 36 detached home sales in the quarter, up slightly from 34 last year. The average price for these homes was $487,000, down 3.5 percent from last year. Of these 36 sales 10 were for new construction homes. The average price for these homes was $585,000, which was down a surprising 9 percent from the same time last year. The average size for these homes was down 200sqft, which helps account for some of the price decrease. The cost per finished sqft was down 3.5 percent as well, which helped to knock the price down. Four of the sales were in Old Trail, with the remainder spread across Haden Lane, Chesterfield Landing, Westlake and Foothills.

The bulk of the total sales increase seen quarter-to-quarter occurred with attached properties. As property prices in Crozet advance, townhouses and villas can be more affordable options for buyers, and builders/developers are responding to the need. There were 27 attached sales in the quarter, up 59 percent from the 17 sales in the period last year. The average sales price of $362,000 was a 26 percent increase over last year, reflecting the growing influence larger new construction units are having. There were 10 new construction sales in the quarter. The average cost for a new townhome in Old Trail, the only neighborhood where new construction was happening in the quarter, was a stunning $490,000, with the average size being 3,058sqft. This new construction price was up 22 percent from the same time last year, while the average size was up 42 percent. Going forward, the newly opened Glenbrook at Foothill Crossing will offer attached villa-style homes, a new attached option here.

Crozet seems to be setting sales records with each quarter, and it appears this will continue for the foreseeable future. This is supported by the most recent S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller report, which shows home prices nationally up 6.7 percent from their pre-Great Recession peak in July 2006.  Prices have now risen for 70 consecutive months.

So, the advice remains the same: if you want to sell your home in Crozet price it appropriately and the buyers will come. Quickly, most likely. If you are a buyer, be prepared to act posthaste on a resale. On new construction, get ready to pay what the builders are asking, as there are few incentives at present due to strong demand.  

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