At this time last year, the big concern in Crozet’s real estate market was the pace of sales. Sales were off the blistering pace of 2017 and headed for their first annual decline since before the Great Recession started. 2019 started slowly, but the past two quarters have changed that. The chance now exists for 2019 total sales to be the highest ever, as total year sales are up 18% over the same time last year.
There were 102 third-quarter sales in Crozet, up a staggering 34% from the 76 sold in the same quarter last year. In comparison, quarterly sales in Albemarle County as a whole rose 5.5% over the same time last year, this increase mostly just reflecting the strong Crozet sales. Seventy-one of these sales were for detached properties, 31 for attached townhomes and villas. There was one sale over $1m: 3966 Garth Road sold for $3.7m (and will be excluded for statistical purposes). Forty-four of the total sales were for new construction homes, which accounts for the majority of the sales increase. And while the majority of new sales were in Old Trail last year, this year Glenbrook and Westlake are the sales leaders. There were 10 sales in the quarter for properties on an acre or more, representing 10% of total sales. Historically this figure is closer to 15-20%, so the trend seems to favor smaller lots in newer neighborhoods. There were five land sales in the quarter, down from six last year. There were no distressed sales in the quarter, the first two such quarters in a row since 2008. Fingers crossed this trend continues!
The average price for a detached house continues to advance, rising almost 6% to $536,000. In part, this remains driven by rising new home prices, which rose to an average of $665,000. Though the construction cost of these new homes actually dropped 6.5% from the same time last year, the price rose due to home size increasing 11% to an average of 3508sqft. There were 57% more detached new homes sold in the quarter than the same time last year, for a total of 30 sales. And for the first time in a long period, the majority of these homes were not sold in Old Trail. Twelve of the 30 sales were in Westlake, only five being in Old Trail. The balance of sales were spread among Sparrow Hill, Chesterfield, Glenbrook and Foothills. There were 40 resales in the quarter, up from 36 at the same time last year. The average price of these resales was up slightly to $440,000. Average days-on-market clicked up slightly on these sales to 44.
There were 31 attached home sales in the quarter, up 48% from the 21 sold at the same time last year. Fourteen of these sales were new construction, eight in Glenbrook and six in Old Trail. The average price for the new construction homes rose to $485,000, driven by sales of more expensive villa-type properties. The average price of the 17 resale properties dipped slightly to $340,000. In this past quarter anyway, the rising price of new construction homes did not propel resale prices. The big news in this sector was the developer’s having broken ground at the new Pleasant Green townhome community. Pricing and move in dates aren’t being advertised yet by the builder, but the community is slated for 268 new units once built out. This will add plenty of volume to Crozet, which will soon also be experiencing increased housing choice with rentals in Old Trail and The Vue.
Looking forward, there are mixed signals in our national economy, from both national and international influences. But what isn’t in question is the strength of our housing market nationwide. According to Doug Duncan, chief economist for Fannie Mae, “Housing remains a net positive to the economy, as the industry anticipates growth fueled by strong household balance sheets, low mortgage rates, and the surge in refinance activity.” Current 30-year mortgage rates are at 3.69% nationally, a drop of 24% from the same time last year. This is making home purchases as affordable mortgage-wise as ever. With low rates, and increasing affordable purchase options, the Crozet real estate market is poised to continue advancing for some time to come.