2018 was a strong year for real estate sales in Crozet. But it marked the first year-over-year decline in total sales since the start of the Great Recession in 2009. Heading into 2019 real estate participants were looking to see what direction the market might be taking. And if the first quarter is to be an indication, it looks like sales could cool again slightly in 2019. There were 56 total sales in the first quarter of this year, compared with 64 last year. This 12.5 percent decline bucks the National Association of Realtors’ Buyer Traffic Index, which points to increasing buyer demand nationally in the first quarter. Time will tell how this pans out for Crozet in 2019.
Of the 56 total sales in the quarter, one was for over $1 million (a custom build in Handley), which will be excluded for statistical purposes. Surprisingly, the 12.5 percent sales drop was actually less than Albemarle County as a whole, which experienced a 16 percent drop in sales and a drop in median sales price (see chart provided courtesy of Nest Realty). But prices continue to creep higher in Crozet, with the average sales price of a home up 3.5 percent to $448,000. Median sales price and price per sqft rose similarly. For the first time in years there were no distressed sales in a quarter, a trend we all hope will continue! There were three land sales in the quarter, down from eight last year. This continues to highlight tightening land availability outside of development neighborhoods. There were only three sales of properties on an acre or more, which tend to be in outlying areas around Crozet. Representing 5 percent of total sales, this percentage is dropping over time as buyer preference seems to gravitate towards homes with smaller lots closer “to town.” Median total days on market for resale properties dropped 32 percent to 17 days, highlighting the fact that inventory is low and competition is high and increasing for resale properties.
There were 33 total detached sales in the quarter, down slightly from 36 last year. The average price was largely unchanged at $484,000. Of these sales, nine were for new construction homes that sold for an average of $678,000, up over 17 percent from the same time last year. The construction cost of these homes rose 4 percent, and they also rose 11 percent in size to an average of 3,385 sqft. A third of these homes were in Chesterfield Landing. Coming quarters will see sales closing in Sparrow Hill, which is building out quickly.
There were 24 re-sale properties sold in the quarter, the average price dropping 8.4 percent to $412,000. But the days on market for these properties also dropped drastically, the median going from 44 to just 10 days on market, meaning that well-priced, well-located properties went under contract almost immediately. Competition for this type of property remains high.
The number of attached homes sales dropped as well in the quarter, even though attached-style homes are known for offering more affordability to buyers. The 22 total sales represented an 18 percent drop from the same time last year. Of these sales, 12 were for new construction homes. Three-quarters of these were in Old Trail, but the new Glenbrook neighborhood is ramping up its villa style offerings and should grab share, especially for buyers looking for one floor living. The average price for new construction homes dropped 2.5 percent to $476,000, but the average size of these sales dropped a more significant 18.5 percent to around 2,500 sqft. Re-sale prices dropped slightly to an average of $294,000, but the number of sales dropped 41 percent to just 10 sales. These townhome properties represent some of the best values in Crozet at present, a fact clearly not lost on the developer of Pleasant Green, who should begin breaking ground later this year on 268 new townhomes.
The direction the Crozet real estate market will take this year is yet to be determined. It has started slowly compared to past years. But buyer activity remains high, and, surprisingly, interest rates keep dropping, currently hovering around 4 percent on a 30-year loan. If you are in the market for a re-sale home, continue to be prepared to act quickly. If new construction falters at all, buyers can expect the emergence of builder deals.