Western Albemarle Fourth Quarter Real Estate Report 2018

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Chart courtesy Nest Realty

Crozet Real Estate Market Holds Steady

The 2018 real estate market in Crozet started with a bang. It was the strongest first quarter for sales ever. And it suggested that Crozet was in for another record-setting year of real estate transactions. Mortgage rates were low, buyer interest was solid, and buyers were out in droves. But as the year progressed things changed, and by year’s end sales year-to-year were down 9 percent to a total of 284 sales. Though the year ended strongly, with 67 total fourth-quarter sales representing a 42 percent increase over the same period in 2017, the strong finish couldn’t overcome the mid-year weakness. But make no mistake, real estate sales and activity in Crozet are strong and looks to remain so for the foreseeable future.

The sales decline in Crozet contrasted slightly with the 3 percent overall increase in sales seen in Albemarle County as a whole in 2018 (see chart and information provided courtesy of Nest Realty). But this county-wide advance marked a slowing as well, so what is in store for the area at large for 2019 remains to be seen.

The 284 total sales in Crozet in 2018 were down from 313 sales in 2017. There were 3 sales over $1 million during the year, and for statistical purposes these are excluded.

The average price of a new home across all categories last year in Crozet was $462,000, mostly unchanged from 2017. There were 94 newly constructed homes sold in 2018, down 17 percent from the 113 that sold in 2017. The average price of new construction was down 3 percent to $579,000 and the average size was down 4 percent, reflecting more, smaller townhomes being sold. There were 187 resale properties sold during the year, a 4.6 percent decline. Re-sales sold 12 percent faster last year, averaging 51 days on market, and sold for 5.5 percent more at an average price of $403,000. There were four distressed sales over the year, not the hoped-for zero figure we all desire, but better than the five experienced in 2017. There were 22 land sales during 2018, unchanged from 2017. The median land price rose to $31,000/acre, while the median size dropped from six to four acres. Land is getting harder to find, and the price has been rising.

There were 198 total detached home sales in 2018, down 16 percent from 236 in 2017. The average sales price in 2018 was off slightly to $500,000. Of these sales 65 were for new construction, a large-ish 29 percent drop from the 91 sold during 2017. Big sales declines were seen in Old Trail (minus 29 percent) and Foothill Crossing (minus 65 percent), with Westlake and Chesterfield Landing both experiencing modest sales increases. The average new construction price dipped slightly to $624,000. The remaining 133 sales were for resale properties. These sales rose 5 percent in price to $439,000, and spent an average of 54 days on the market, down from 67 days in 2017. 

Attached townhome sales rose 12 percent to 82 in 2018. Forty-eight of these sales were in Old Trail and 16 in the Highlands. The average price across these rose 12 percent to $369,000. New construction townhome sales rose 32 percent to 29 units, all of these except one being in Old Trail. These new homes rose 7.5 percent in price to an average of $476,000, but they also rose 14 percent in size to 2,658 sqft.

In 2019 there will be increasing neighborhood and housing options in Crozet. New communities include detached homes on half-acre lots in Sparrow Hill, and villa-style attached homes in Glenbrook at Foothill Crossings. The possibility of a third phase at Chesterfield Landing has also just been raised. Apartments at The Vue near downtown and The Summit in Old Trail are both under full construction and will presumably be available for occupation later in the year. 

Looking forward, real estate in Crozet should manage just fine. While the government shutdown affected some aspects of home purchase, and the unsettled stock market is causing some unease, the overall financial and economic picture is good. Mortgage rates are off their highs; forecasts from Fannie Mae and the Mortgage Bankers Association don’t expect 30-year rates to exceed 4.8 percent in 2019. And construction costs seemed to have plateaued, with land costs being the only current upward variable. So if you are a seller, consult with a realtor to ensure your property is priced to sell. If you are a re-sale buyer, continue to be ready to act quickly. Affordable inventory could remain tight. 

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