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Charlottesville-area real estate still a seller's market

Driven by low inventory, home prices in Central Virginia continued to increase this spring, according to a new real estate report.

The Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors’ second-quarter report shows that median sales prices rose in April through June by $44,500, or 13%, compared with that time period last year.

The second-quarter median sales price is now more than $89,000 higher than it was five years ago, according to the report.

“We still just don’t have enough houses,” said CAAR President Quinton Beckham, broker and owner of Keller Williams Alliance. “There was a period in the pandemic where you couldn’t find toilet paper, and it didn’t take long, then the shelves were stocked with toilet paper. This is not going to go away that quickly or that easily; there’s just too much involved.”

CAAR covers the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle, Greene, Nelson, Louisa and Fluvanna counties.

According to the report, there was a 30% increase in the number of homes sold in the region in the second quarter of 2021 compared with the same period in 2020. But the number of homes for sale at the end of the second quarter dropped 48% from the second quarter of last year.

Greene County sales fell by 2% between the second quarters of 2020 and 2021. In Charlottesville, the number of homes sold rose 21% and Albemarle County saw home sales increase by 36%.

Sales in Nelson County remained high in the second quarter, with 85% more homes sold in 2021 compared with the same time last year. Louisa County saw a 27% rise in homes sold, and Fluvanna County had a 22% increase.

While the inventory of active listings is about half the level it was a year ago, more listings are being added to the market, which should provide more options for buyers, the report says. There were some early signs that moderation in the market could be on the horizon, it says, such as a slowdown in pending sales activity in June.

Homes in the region sold quickly compared with last year, the report shows, and were on the market about 29 days on average overall. Days-on-market ranged from an average of 12 in Charlottesville to as long as 50 in Nelson in the second quarter, up from 35 days and 153 days, respectively, in the second quarter of 2020.

Beckham said some of the temporary influences that made homebuying a frenzy in the last year are now lightening up.

“[I’m] knocking on wood that that continues to be the case for the rest of the year, so that when a buyer does find a home, they can go in and it’s a little bit more of a fair fight,” he said.

Median sales prices across the region rose 13% over the second quarter of 2020, to $376,000.

Louisa led the region, with median sales prices increasing 23%, from $260,000 in the second quarter of 2020 to $320,000 in 2021’s second quarter.

Albemarle median sales prices rose 9%, from $397,750 in 2020’s second quarter to $432,500 this year. Charlottesville sales prices rose 14%, from $369,000 in 2020’s second quarter to $420,000 this year.

Fluvanna prices jumped 11%, to $285,695 this year from last year’s second-quarter price of $257,500. Greene saw a 19% price rise, from $301,500 to $360,000, and Nelson prices rose 10%, from 2020’s $260,000 to 2021’s second-quarter price of $285,000.

According to the report, compared with the first five months of 2020, housing construction in the region is up 65%, with an increase of 45% in permits for new single-family homes and an increase of 158% in permits for units in multi-family buildings. The report uses U.S. Census data for housing construction information.

Beckham said that every time a residence is built — whether it’s a rental apartment or homeownership opportunity — the pressure on the system overall is reduced.

“If your only choice is to dive into a super competitive market, or move 30 miles away, you don’t have much in the way of choices, but if you have some rental options to go along with your purchase options, that takes some pressure off of you, the buyer, and helps level out some of that equation between the buyer and the seller, and that’s really what we’re looking for,” he said.


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