Days on Market and Inventory Levels

Many thanks to Debaser who requested to see Inventory Levels and Days on Market. I pulled these this morning for the Charlottesville and immediate area. So, you are seeing numbers for Albemarle, Charlottesville, Fluvanna, Greene, and Nelson only.

DOM_Inv.jpg

The numbers are what you would expect, each Spring, the number of properties on the market goes up and the DOM drops. In the Fall and Winter, there are fewer properties on the market, but they stay there longer. Part of this is that properties that sell in Fall frequently went on the market in the Spring, and have had some time to age, but there are fewer of them.

Hope this helps.

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Edit Note: In looking at this graph, now that it is posted, it is rather disappointingly blurred. Sorry about that, I have to use a different program with data that requires two axes. The DOM is the “Blue” that is below the green line most of the time.

The City By Month

For about two years now, I have been creating reports on various neighborhoods throughout the city and subdivisions in Albemarle County. One of the things I have done is to look at homes by the price per square foot, hoping to minimize as much as possible any bias toward the product mix of homes being sold. Last year, big homes were selling, this year, it is the entry level homes that are selling. (When I can get time on my PC and do a histogram in Excel I will. Apple number crunching bites.) One of the things I haven’t done, until now, is to look at the entire city of Charlottesville as a single unit in the same manner.

At first, when I looked at this graph, I was shocked. I thought for sure the market had moved more than the graph appears to demonstrate. Then I calculated out the percentage shifts and realized that actually the market is about where most people thought. In general, pricing in the City is down. And, as known, the pricing is, at best, erratic and, at times, somewhat irrational. The most obvious part of this graph is a quick look at Days On the Market (DOM). We have known that it was going up, and this sure makes that obvious. I had originally figured that I would need to do two scales, one for DOM, and one for Price per S.F. But alas, the DOM actually exceeded the Price / S.F. at one point.

The graph below is fairly straight forward. I have pulled every detached home that has sold since January 1, 2005 in the city of Charlottesville. I then calculated the Price / S.F. for each home and then pulled the average $/SF and average DOM for every month since January, 2005. The results were then graphed.

City_Monthly.jpg When you look at the green line ($/SF) it looks fairly flat, but in reality, that is just the scale. In fact, I looked at the rise and fall over every three month period during the 05-09 years, and found 5 periods that the price showed over 10% drops during 3 months. There were also nine corresponding positive periods in which the prices rose more than 10% over a three month period. Again, erratic behavior.

But as you look at the line over time, you see the trend downward. From the peak in April, 2006 to current month, we find a price adjustment of roughly 10.5%.

I would have guessed a larger devaluation of the market overall, but if you look back three months to March, 2009 the price was showing values 38% below today’s prices. Obviously, the city has not gone up nearly 40% in three months. Instead, what you are seeing is a light month of transactions where a single deal can dramatically change the average.

So where should this line trend in the next few months? I would be surprised if we see what looks like a positive trend continue much more. I think the city has found a good number of sales in lower priced properties for the entry level buyer. At the time of this writing, there are 85 properties under contract in the City. While this is not similar to 2005, it is a fair number of transactions occurring.

I have addressed this numerous times in other posts, but I continue to shout it, because it matters so much: The big “What If” for the city is the unemployment rate. We are still at the top of the state for our numbers, but the rates are no longer as good as they once were. We are way up. The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Charlottesville as the healthiest MSA in the state with civilian unemployment rates of 5.5%, but that is a far cry from one year ago when we were at 2.5%. This is going to play a major role at how many homebuyers are in the market. No one buys a home when they are afraid of losing all their income. So, we need to keep an eye on it. The BLS numbers project April to be lower than March, but most analysts are projecting the US rate to rise through the end of 2009.

The New Nest

So, over the last 30 days, we have been

1) Waiting for the city to put a stamp on a building permit…. 2 and a half weeks
and
2) Working furiously trying to get desks, bookcases, chairs etc picked out.

But on top of that is the insane amount of time that has gone into figuring out the simple stuff. Paint colors, floor plan, door types, hardware for hanging doors, getting corrugated metal roofing, dealing with the unexpected asbestos flooring we found in the bathroom, cleaning sinks, hanging lights (16 so far… at least 4 more once we get them) and more. But of the above list, the one I am most excited about is the corrugated metal roofing.

You see, our space is inside an old hardware and feed store. There used to be a chute of sorts that allowed employees upstairs to transfer feed from the upstairs to the downstairs via a sliding board of sorts. There were even occasions (daily I understand) that the feed was usually accompanied by one of the employees riding down the slide on top of the feed bag. The ceilings are an impressive 15′ or more off the ground, and they are gorgeous old beams. The kind that if you tried to by would cost you a couple grand a piece, but these are the real deal. Held in place by joist hangers 24″ tall and 10″ wide.

Our space is on the first floor of a two story building, so why would we need roofing? Well, I’m gonna put up a picture here. I know it’s bad, so don’t write comments about how my camera bites. I took it with my BlackBerry not 5 minutes after this installation was finished. I didn’t have my good camera with me. I will get better pics of it when the office is complete. But I’m rather excited about it as it is, because of what it signifies.

FinishedWordle.jpg While we discussed what we were going to do with our office and what kind of a environment we wanted to create, this little idea came up. Just to give you a scope of what you are looking at. This wall has over 200 square feet of roofing material surrounding the mural, and the art itself is 9 feet wide and over 6 and a half feet tall, starting nearly 3 feet off the ground. When you walk in our door, this is what you are staring at. You can’t miss it.

We spent a long time with this, and the full Nest team was a part of putting together what would be in the mural. Each word or phrase is important to us as agents, a company, a community, and to our clients. It encompasses our philosophy, our sense of place, our commitment to our clients, what we love about Charlottesville, and what we think is really important about who we are.

I would love to see people walk in and just stare at the mural. I hope that our friends, neighbors, and clients will do just that. I also hope that I stare at it… All the time…. I hope that it will be a constant reminder to me of why we created Nest and what we are trying to do differently for Charlottesville real estate.

So I invite you to stop by our office anytime. We are working there now, although the contractors will be there another week or so and work will continue to go on around us.

CNU

CNU – The Congress of New Urbanism.

I was first introduced to CNU at least a decade ago when I read my first book by Andres Duany. Since then CNU has grown from being an organization almost exclusively of architects and urban planners. to a group that encompasses and reaches out to folks of all aspects of development, sales, planning, and more.

This past year, they hosted a film competition. The winner was this 3 minute film.

Fun Part of Being a Realtor

I love what I do. And one of the things that I cherish is something that most of my clients rarely see. Despite working every weekend, and many nights, there is the flip side: that I get to go to a lot more of the fun stuff with my kids during the week than most dads.

Today, that meant Safari Virginia in Natural Bridge. For those who don’t know the place, you need to go. Its a big change from selling Charlottesville Real Estate, that’s for sure. In addition to the drive thru section of the park which you will see on the video below (although you will note that sometimes driving is a little tough), there is also an amazing petting zoo with kangaroos, giraffes, tigers (can’t pet them), goats, Watusi Cattle and more… Amazing place and well worth the 75 minute drive.

Safari Virginia from Keith Davis on Vimeo.

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