Another anecdotal look at property sales with few frills
This month I’ll keep it simple. This is intended to be an anecdotal list of transactions of property in Charlottesville for the month of April. This is not an automated process, because I use this review to keep an eye on what is happening in the city of Charlottesville. I share it with the public because I suspect many of you will find it useful, too. Paid subscribers to this newsletter get a first look before it will be posted on the Information Charlottesville archive.
Some highlights this month:
The University of Virginia Foundation has continued its investment in the Ivy Road Corridor with another purchase directly opposite from the future Emmet / Ivy precinct.
Several vacant lots across the city were sold, prompting my curiosity about what will be built on those spaces in North Downtown, Woolen Mills, and Ridge Street.
Notable commercial sales include the buildings that house Lampo Neopolitan Pizza and the Bridge Performing Arts Initiative, as well as a shopping center on Maury Avenue that has two restaurants and a dry cleaner.
The 15th anecdotal look at the Charlottesville Property Market by a longtime land use reporter
To begin, the answer to the question in the last line of this installment is Medium Intensity Residential.
Nearly five months have passed since the Charlottesville City Council adopted a new Future Land Use Map that grants additional residential density for every single lot in Charlottesville. The table has been set for a more dense Charlottesville, and the property market appear to reflects enthusiastic support of changes that for land designated Middle Intensity Residential.
“Market value is defined as the most probable price expressed in terms of money that a property would bring if exposed for sale on the open market,” reads an FAQ on the website of the Charlottesville City Assessor. “The sale should be an arms-length transaction between a willing seller and a willing buyer, both of whom are knowledgeable concerning all the uses to which the property is adapted and for which it is capable of being used.”
Some people know much more about how real estate works than others. I disclaim I own one house within Charlottesville but otherwise have no interest in using additional property to advance my material wealth. For others, this is their career. I write these because as the community seeks solutions to the high cost of housing, I feel it is crucial to have a sense of what’s happening even if I’m still learning all of the mechanics.
I will also disclaim I do make a living writing about the place around me. I’ve spent nearly fifteen years paying close attention to land use issues and I’m making a living off of it in that manner. This summary goes first to paid Substack subscribers but will be posted to Information Charlottesville on Wednesday. Thank you to the hundreds of subscribers for helping Town Crier Productions get off the ground!
The sales prices here are tied to contracts signed in late November or in December, so the use of the 2022 assessment is meant for illustrative purposes. This report is an exercise for all of us to review in the hopes of better understanding the forces at work.
For each of the past 12 months, I’ve kept a regular record of property transactions in Charlottesville and I’ve posted what I come across for people to see. I’m not a real estate agent, but I’ve written about land use for many years. The best way to stay on top of things is to look at all of the details
The biggest land use story in 2021 in Charlottesville has been the adoption of a Comprehensive Plan in November that seeks to increase residential density across the city. Some have speculated that would add to the cost of property within the city, especially the land value. There have been some spectacular examples of people paying for houses way over the 2021 assessment. How big will the assessments be in 2022?
Eleven months down, one more to go. This year has seen a lot of transactions that are well over the official city assessment, and November was no exception. What will the assessments be like in 2022? Is it possible to determine yet if the Future Land Use Map of the Comprehensive Plan has influenced purchases? Is there a trend towards more limited liability companies owning homes, or has that always been going on?
Those are questions beyond the reach of this summary, which is another anecdotal account of the many individual transactions that took place.
Ten months have passed this year, and I’ve now published summaries of property transactions in Charlottesville for each of them. I look through each purchase and title transfer in order to better understand the market. I am not a real estate expert, but I have been writing about the way land is used in this community since 2005. Like many of you, I have experiences with many of these places. My work overall is improved by a parcel-by-parcel review.
This month, the anecdotal trend of residential properties trading above assessment continues. There are also several purchases of properties by Limited Liability Companies. The buildings occupied by a Guadalajara, Atlas Coffee, and JLK have new owners. Lots, developed or undeveloped, continue to trade hands at higher prices.
This month I’ve also begun referring to a staff report from a 2013 Charlottesville Planning Commission work session that covered Planned Unit Developments. These are specialized zoning districts that have been used for many years to add higher residential densities. As the community looks ahead to a rewriting of the zoning code, it is useful to note the historic presence of these Planned Unit Developments in the community.
(This piece is paid for by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. Consider signing up for a subscription to ensure I can keep going with research like this each and every week! If you do, Ting will match your first payment!)
This past month I have received at least two dozen “price decease” alerts from realtor.com. How is that translating into the market? Read ahead and find out for yourself in this anecdotal look at property transactions in Charlottesville during September. Properties appear to be sold above assessment in most all cases.
Of particular interest to me are two property transfers in areas that are to be designated as “sensitive” to displacement in the Future Land Use Map and the Comprehensive Plan. The Planning Commission recommended adoption of the draft this past week and details still need to be worked out about the mechanism by which bonus units will be allowed in those areas.
One on Charlton Avenue in the Rose Hill neighborhood was over 53 percent of the 2021 assessment. Another on Anderson Street in 10th and Page went nearly 190 percent over assessment, though that reflects major renovations made by the previous owners. What, if anything, might have been altered with different land use rules?
When I launched this particular feature in January, I did so because I wanted to better understand the real estate economy in Charlottesville. I have owned my home for over 13 years now, a time that roughly coincides with the time I have spent taking a close look at local government as it relates to land use, transportation, growth development, and more.
One of the cornerstones of my journalistic philosophy is that I know nothing. Every single time I begin writing a story, I look at every single fact and where I got it from. I want to make sure that what I am putting in writing and sending out under my name is accurate. I try to strip out commentary.
So, this is another in a series of anecdotal accounts of real estate transactions in Charlottesville. It is a result of research I do as I track the Cville Plans Together process. There are big conversations happening about the future of the built environment, and thanks to your support I have been able to stay on top with summaries of these discussions.
My goal in all of this is to provide you with information with context drawn upon all of those years of meetings and interviews and stories. I have dedicated my life to this work and the result is the coverage that you are increasingly coming to depend upon. I cannot thank you enough all for your support but work that much harder with every new subscribe. You get first look at this curated information before it goes out to a wider audience.
This month appears to continue the trend towards purchase prices well above assessments. There are also a few commercial transactions of note. All of the information comes from the city’s Open Data portal as well as other sources cited. Every transaction is unique to a situation between individuals or organizations, and not a single one of the following blurbs is the complete story.
August 2, 2021
A two bedroom house on Valley View Circle in the Martha Jefferson neighborhood sold for $280,000, which is 2.17 percent below the 2021 assessment. The purchaser is Two Dog LLC, a company registered with an Ivy address.
A two bedroom house in the 200 block of Meade Avenue built in 1947 sold for $245,000 which is 2.82 percent below the 2021 assessment.
A two bedroom house in the 1100 block of Altavista Avenue built in 1931 sold for $220,000. That’s 30.33 percent over the 2021 assessment.
Half of a duplex on Rock Creek Road in Orangedale section of Fifeville sold for $175,000, or 24.91 percent over the 2021 assessment.
Another month in 2021, another time of interesting activity in the Charlottesville property market. Only a handful are below assessment, and there are quite a number of transactions that are well over assessment. There are a few items of new construction selling on infill properties, two major transactions on the mixed-use section of Cherry Avenue, and new homes in the Belmont Point and Lochlyn Hills neighborhoods continue to sell to their first owner.
What jumps out at you?
July 1, 2021
A commercial building that has been home to a doctor’s office on 10th Street NE sold for $1,295,000, which is 9.09 percent over the 2021 assessment. The purchaser is Little High LLC.
A unit in the condominium building on Cream Street sold for $235,500, which is 11.9 percent below the 2021 assessment. The purchaser is Wellington Properties LLC.
A two bedroom house on Cameron Lane on 0.316 acres in the Lewis Mountain Neighborhood sold for $487,500, or 17.5 percent over the 2021 assessment.
A three bedroom house on Goodman Street in Belmont neighborhood built in 1929 sold for $600,000. That’s 52.98 percent over the 2021 assessment.
As reported in the July 7, 2021 Charlottesville Community Engagement, Woodard Properties has purchased another couple of properties on Cherry Avenue in an area currently zoned for mixed-use. The company paid $1.55 million for two properties at 801 Cherry Avenue, currently a vacant lot. That’s 41.24 percent over the 2021 assessment. In April, Woodard Properties paid $3.1 million for the Cherry Avenue Shopping Center and five vacant properties behind it. These two lots make up about 0.85 acres.