Western Albemarle Second Quarter Real Estate Report 2018

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Chart courtesy Nest Realty

Crozet Home Sales Slow Down

At this time each year I like to take a moment to thank all those volunteers who work tirelessly to put on the annual 4th of July parade and community celebration in Crozet Park. A wonderful day of Crozet fellowship—topped off by amazing firework—was enjoyed by all who attended!

What was less explosive over the past several months were homes sales in Crozet. Total sales for the quarter were down 27 percent overall, from 107 total sales in 2017, to just 79 sales in 2018. This decline isn’t reflected in the rest of the county, where total sales were up 7.5 percent (see attached sales trend chart provided courtesy of Nest Realty). Of these 79 sales, 60 were for detached properties, and 18 for attached townhouses. There was one sale over $1m in the quarter, 6920 Windmere Lane in Old Trail sold for $1,050,000 (this sale will be removed for statistical purposes). The startling figure for the quarter were sales of new construction homes dropping a staggering 59 percent, from 41 total sales in 2017, to just 17 total sales in the second quarter of 2018. Fourteen of the total sales were for properties of an acre or more, which tend to be in outlying areas. There were three land sales in the quarter, down from six at the same time last year. And there was only one distressed sale in the past quarter, down from two last year and hopefully going to zero in upcoming quarters!

The average price for a detached home dropped slightly from the same time last year, to $485,000. Of these 60 sales, only 16 were for new construction homes, a staggering 54 percent decline from the 35 sales in 2017. The majority of this decline occurred in Old Trail, where 15 new construction homes were sold in the second quarter last year, while only four were sold this year. More homes sold in the quarter in Westlake than in Old Trail, a first that exemplifies seemingly greater buying power in non-Old Trail neighborhoods. Cost of all new-construction homes rose 11 percent to $217 per sqft, with the average price being $647,000. This contrasts with the average price of a re-sale detached home selling for $427,000, up from $402,000 last year. Re-sale homes are selling faster this year as well, spending 36 days on the market compared to 54 in 2017. This is reflected in the final selling price being an average of just .6 percent off the listing price, compared with a 2.6 percent discount at the same time last year.

There were 18 townhouse type sales in the quarter, down from 20 at the same time last year. But only one was new construction, compared to 6 sales in 2017. The average price for re-sale townhouses was up 4 percent to $306,000. Average selling time was 25 days. Seven of these sales were in Old Trail, with the balance spread across Waylands Grant, Highlands, Westhall and Wickham Pond. Going forward, new villa type attached homes will be built in Old Trail and Glenbrook at Foothill Crossing, offering a less vertical, main floor living choice for attached housing.

Affordability continues to be an issue in Crozet. The recent large quarter-to-quarter sales decline could portend buyer reluctance to continue to push prices higher. This, coupled with continuing-to-rise construction costs and a predicted 5 percent mortgage rate at year’s end, could lead to a decline in total yearly sales in Crozet for the first time since the Great Recession. Sellers and builders should therefore be cautious when pricing, to try to staunch what hopefully won’t be a sales decline trend. Many economists, including Ivy Zelman and Mark Hulbert, continue to feel that real estate remains a solid investment going forward. For those looking to diversify, Hulbert states, “Real estate may be one of your best investments during the next bear market for stocks.”  

So don’t be afraid to buy smart, and if you are selling make sure you are priced to sell. In either case, do consult a realtor for their professional advice. If you are unsure, just sit tight. You’ll sleep better at night!

Editor’s Note: And thanks also to volunteer David Ferrall for serving as “day of” coordinator at this year’s Crozet Independence Day Celebration for CIDC organizer Tim Tolson, who could not be on site at the celebration this year. 

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