Western Albemarle First Quarter Real Estate Report: Crozet Housing Sales Skyrocket

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Courtesy Nest Realty

2020 was a year like no other. And that includes real estate sales in Crozet. 2019 was a record year for local sales, but 2020 eclipsed that record by 28%. The Covid pandemic initially halted sales, but a reversal took place that caught most market participants by surprise. The pace of sales accelerated throughout the year, continuing through the first quarter of 2021. 

At quarter’s end there were 81 total sales in Crozet, an eye popping 70% increase over the 48 sales during the same period last year. Just as in the latter part of 2020, resale inventory remains tight and builders are building as fast as they can with materials that have never been so costly. And they are selling everything they can build. The imbalance of buyers vs. available properties is causing multiple offer situations on most new listings. Until this imbalance unwinds a bit, expect more of the same going forward.

Prices for the 81 sales ranged from $237,000 to $994,000, though there are currently five pending sales for over $1m. The 70% increase in total sales far exceeded the 20% increase seen in Albemarle County as a whole (as shown in the chart provided courtesy of Nest Realty). Overall average prices were up, driven by new construction prices. And median days-on-market for resales were down 73% to 18 days, reflecting the speed at which pre-existing homes sold. There were nine sales for properties of one acre or more, representing 11% of the total. Historically, this figure is closer to 20-25%; the decline reflects increasing sales in neighborhoods rather than in the surrounding countryside. There were 13 land sales in the quarter, more than triple the amount from the same time last year. At present there are 14 pending land contracts; if there are no resales available, folks will buy land and build. Land remains in high demand, well-priced and located land listings are also receiving multiple offers.

There were 51 detached sales in the quarter, up 82% from the 28 sales at the same time last year. Twenty-four were for new construction, the average price being up over $100,000 from last year to $656,000. This is due in large part to the fact that the homes being sold are 28% larger than those sold in 2020. The sales-leading neighborhood was Glenbrook, with 14 sales. Old Trail had four. This will change in coming quarters as Glenbrook gets built out, and the Bishopgate area of Old Trail picks up steam. There were 27 resales in the quarter, up 68% from 16 last year. The average price of these resales rose $70K to $477,000, while the median days on market dropped from 60 to 13 this year.

There were 30 attached home sales in the quarter, up 58% from the 19 sold at the same time in 2020. Of these, 19 were for new construction, a tripling over last year. The majority were in Pleasant Green, a trend that is set to continue as phase 1 is sold out, with 19 currently under contract. Phase 2 sales are scheduled to begin later in the summer. Attached sales in Glenbrook and Old Trail continue to be strong as well. Resale attached sales dipped slightly to 11 total sales, but the average price rose 8% to $334,000. Attached homes continue to be the most affordable housing type to purchase at present in Crozet.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented nationwide home-buying spree the likes of which has not been seen in recent times. And while some may sense exuberance that could suddenly stop, Laurence Yun, the National Association of Realtors chief economist, recently said this “is not a bubble. It is simply lack of supply.” The lack of resale supply has forced up prices, and driven buyers to new home construction, which has driven up new home prices.

There is no doubt that here in Crozet there is strong buyer demand, which leads to competition and much frustration. But buyers should stay the course. Mortgage interest rates continue to hover at all-time lows, and a recent Home Price Expectation Survey suggests an average 4.3% appreciation rate over the next 5 years. Home ownership has always been a leading method of family wealth building, and that hasn’t changed. But now is not the time to go it alone. If you are a real estate buyer or seller, it is more important than ever to enlist the services of a real estate professional to help achieve your goals. 

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