River & Rural Realty--Find Virginia Waterfront property on the Northern Neck
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River & Rural Realty LLC
P.O. Box 503
Warsaw, VA 22572

Office: (804) 333-3311

Kathryn Murray, broker
Warsaw, VA 22572
(O): (804) 333-3311
Cell: 804-450-4442
Fax: 877-295-0940
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Waterfront sales, 4 counties 0 Comments Posted

A bit of a Northern Neck sales update now that we are going into the last stretch of a cool to cold April. Here are the sales numbers for waterfront homes over the years, as well as how many are active as of April 21st. These numbers are for the four counties of the Northern Neck which includes Westmoreland, Northumberland, Lancaster and Richmond.

It's obvious that things have been improving and judging from both what I'm experiencing and what I'm hearing this is a very busy 2018 for local real estate.

Waterfront residential sales
  2014 2015 2016 2017 Active
# sold 221 255 280 296 359
$ sold (millions) 98.16 109.8 112.6 140.8 211.76
Median sales price 371,000 360,000 360,000 402,353 449,000
Median days on market 231 211 220 193 174


 

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, April 22, 2018  4:00:08 PM
Northern Neck land sales 0 Comments Posted

Yes, I've been slow in getting this up. And after I put up land I need to put up residential to show 2017 year end totals in comparison to the preceeding years. Don't know what but putting up land seemed more pressing.

Below are the sales summaries of land in the four counties of the Northern Neck....Northumberland, Lancaster, Richmond and Westmoreland. The numbers are for the full years 2015, 2016 and 2017. There is a subset of waterfront land in the second chart which is obviously our largest set of land sales. And then finally there is the active listings which are on the market, today, February 5. This all adds to perspective.

All land sales in Northern Neck
  2015 2016 2017 Active 2/5
# sold 133 118 165 782
$ sold (millions) 13.7 11.1 15.7 115.9
Median sales price 48,500 41,750 70,800 81,950
Median days on market 265 250 317 470

Pretty strong sales in 2017. By far the most sales in a year since the crash at the end of 2008. Plenty of active properties though, with almost 5 years worth of inventory. Median sales price is up. Sales time is closing in on a year on market at least. Better, but not great. We can be thankful though, since there were years when there was very little moving with our land listings.

Waterfront land sales only
  2015 2016 2017 Active 2/5
# sold 49 34 77 390
$ sold (millions) 7.4 6.1 10.9 87.4
Median sales price 125,000 105,775 125,000 159,000
Median days on market 265 268 422 384

Good sales numbers for the waterfront properties. In 2017 the waterfront land sales were almost 50% of the overall sales which didn't happen in the previous years. It is clear these sales are taking a long time to finalize with 422 being the median days on market for this set of solds. Again, around 5 years' worth of property on the market. As a bit of a Ripley-Believe-It-Or-Not I looked at the land listing that has been on the market for the longest continuous period of time. It went on in 2005 and is still on the market. In my opinion the market price of the property now, more than a dozen years later refects the adjustment that should have been made in the beginning of 2009 and then the reductions should have followed the market. I guess this person epitomizes the "I don't have to sell it," since it looks as if it may never sell.

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, February 05, 2018  12:48:42 PM
Residential sales 1/1 to 11/28 0 Comments Posted

The sales reviewed in the four charts below are for the four counties of the Northern Neck. This includes Westmoreland, Northumberland, Lancaster and Westmoreland counties. It covers the years noted for the timeframe 1/1 through 11/28. It shows that 2017 has been the best year since the big banking debacle. Thankfully our inventories are coming down although we'll see what the sales to active relationship is come around the 1st of March since there is a fair amount of inventory that has been taken off the market for the winter. Time will tell.

All residential in 4 counties 1/1 to 11/28

 

 

2015 2016 2017 Active
# sold 430 517 560 612
$ sold (millions) 129.9 140.9 166.1 270.3
median sales price 246,750 224,000 221,502 338,200
median days on market 181 178 168 173

Quite an improvement if you look at 2015 to 2017 sales...and even a reasonable increase over last year's sales. We don't have an excessive amount of inventory. It could be that we almost have a year's inventory which is great!

Waterfront residential 4 counties 1/1-11/28
  2015 2016 2017 Active
# sold 229 252 256 378
$ sold (millions) 99.7 101.7 119.6 218.2
median sales price 327,000 360,000 403,750 440,000
median days on market 203 214 200 202

Looking at the waterfront sales there has been a pretty good increase looking at 2015 to this year's sales. There's a considerably higher median sales price in 2017 than in the previous years. Median days on market is pretty close to 200 at any time over the last three years. Actives in this category are more considerable. Still there is less than two years' worth of inventory here which is good.

Land sales, all in 4 counties 1/1-11/28
  2015 2016 2017 Active
# sold 115 99 155 848
$ sold (millions) 12.7 10.1 15.0 118.5
median sales price 52,000 42,500 75,000 74,700
median days on market 258 221 288 517

Big improvement in sales in 2017, a 50% increase over 2016. There's a much higher median sales price in 2017 too. Looks like we are beginning to deal with some of the backlog. Then again with 155 sold this year and 848 active....that's a lot of inventory. Also for the active properties there is a median days on market of 517. That is a really large number. It says to us that there are lots of properties that have been on the market for years and years. I have to believe that those who are sensitive to the market and price their properties are the ones who are finding success. This part of our market is truly starting to move which is great!

WF Land sales, 4 counties, 1/1-11/28
  2015 2016 2017 Active
# sold 44 32 71 391
$ sold (millions) 6.9 5.8 10.4 85.7
median sales price 133,500 105,775 125,000 149,900
median days on market 265 268 408 412

Waterfront properties seem to be the biggest winner in the land sales this year. In both 2015 and 2016 the subset of waterfront land to overall land was close to 1/3. With 2017 we are looking more at almost 1/2 the overall sales are waterfront ones. That says there is some real demand here. It must be too that prices are coming down or people who are buying are having the courage to offer what they believe something is worth and that perhaps is being accepted. Look at that 408 median days on market for the sold property. That is a long time. Then again look at the number of active listings....close to 400 with 71 sold so far this year. Still a buyer's market even though it is a greatly improved market this year.

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, November 30, 2017  10:33:52 AM
Numbers from an October perspective 0 Comments Posted

Here are the sales numbers for the four counties of the Northern Neck. They run from the 1st of January through the 30th of September for the respective years. All along I have been saying that 2016 has been the best year, but perhaps you'd like to see really how well we have been doing. If you keep in perspective that 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 were really bad years for real estate here (as in many other places) then you can see how the market has been turning around with the 2013 through 2017 numbers. It is very encouraging.

All residential, 4 counties, 1/1 through 9/30
  2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Active
# sold 302 322 365 412 451 681
$ sold (millions) 89.1 88.8 110.9 113.6 136.2 299.5
Median sales price 225,950 200,000 240,000 229,500 219,000 349,000
Median days on market 211 202 187 185 168 154

Pretty clear that there has been some real improvement over the last couple of years.

WF residential, 4 counties, 1/1 through 9/30
  2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Active
# sold 149 142 189 204 212 412
$ sold (millions) 66.0 63.6 85.4 82.7 100.6 240
Median sales price 375,000 373,000 375,000 360,000 415,000 449,500
Median days on market 246 231 212 227 195 167

Improvement here too. And quite an increase in the median sales price for waterfront property.  More actives than in the market overall, but not a bad number.

Later this week I'll put up a similar review of land sales. It won't be as encouraging, but it will be some good news I believe.

 

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, October 03, 2017  2:50:57 PM
Very special property at a great price 0 Comments Posted

MAJOR PRICE REDUCUTION!!! Drive Down the Tree Lined Driveway and Discover Paradise On a Beautiful Protected Deep Waterfront Point of Land in Ophelia--one of the BEST areas in the Northern Neck of Virginia. At the end of that lane of trees you'll reach this Magical Piece of History for you and your family and friends to enjoy!

There have been many Updates but Home still has its Historic Charm. It has beautifully Landscaped Grounds.  It is a 4 Bedroom and 2 1/2 Baths home with Hardwood Floors (some Original). There's a first floor bedroom and bath--High Ceilings and Wonderful Waterfront Views - New Water Treatment System - Replacement Windows -Recent New Well Pump & Valve - Newer Appliances except Vintage Stove - Home has Radiator Water Heat to keep warm in Coldest Days and is Comfortably Cooled by Window and Portable A/C Units - Water View 2nd Floor Deck with SunSetter Awning & Curtains - Sunroom - 2 Large Outdoor Sheds big enough to be "Tiny Houses" - Large pier with lift--

Extensive Repairs and Termite Prevention in 2012 - Would be Ideal B&B - HIgh Speed MetroCast Internet Service - This Unique Property is a MUST SEE! Buyers to Verify WaterDepth, believed to be 5 ft.   Call David Fine at 202-297-8946 to get to see this home.

MLS number 101616, address is 157 Edgewater. Take a look, you'll be pleased if you are looking in this pricepoint. An excellent value!

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, August 17, 2017  11:11:20 AM
The best deal, yes....it is! 0 Comments Posted

You see property advertised, you hear agents tell you this, you wonder if it is true....and maybe you take it under consideration and maybe not. I would like you, if you are at the right price point and if you have similar needs that would be met by this property, to take this listing very seriously.

Approximately a year ago it appraised for $490,000. As far as I can tell the market has gotten a little bit better at that approximate price point and there aren't so many good properties with similar attributes available, so perhaps you can factor that in. We put this property on the market (951 Bonums Point....in case you just want to go to our listings and look at it now) at $495,000 or so. The price has dropped once and then most recently the seller dropped it over $20,000. It is now priced at $424,900. That is a very good price. That falls into my cateogry of "the best of the best" simply meaning that when you price a property so that nothing else can compare given square footage, acreage, waterfront, outbuildings, types of fixtures, levels of upgrades....all those sorts of things....it is the best of the best.

The house was renovated a couple of years ago. It has a spectacular kitchen which is part of a large great room that overlooks Bonums Creek. There are decks all around this great room space and you can walk out the side of the living room area of this great room and walk over to the cutest (and sizable) workshop or studio space....with plenty of windows overlook the water views. That space has bunk beds built in to the back of it and a loft space above them. There is a new-ish airconditioner as well as gas logs so it can be an all season space. No water is run out to it...but can't kids run back to the house if they need to? And with two bedrooms other than the large master in the main house....perhaps you've got all your sleeping needs covered. Square footage is in the 2300 square foot vicinity.

There are two master suites, one on the first floor and one upstairs. There are other spaces that allow for a desk or a bookshelf or a collection to be displayed. There is a third bedroom and so two bedrooms on the first floor and one upstairs (an additional bath on the first floor and obviously there is one upstairs with the other master). The floors are handrubbed hardwood, unless they are tile....and sometimes tile is.....marble.....the master bath is terrific with room for someone to sit in a chair next to the large garden bath and read to whoever is the designated "soaker."

The garage space consists of a one and half car attached garage and a detached garage with room enough to have a workshop area in the front of it.

Now you are saying to yourself, why is this still on the market....and here is why.....it is back a long gravel road. Some people don't want to be that isolated. When you don't know the Northern Neck and haven't spent much time here that sort of situation may seem rather remote. I find that coming to the Northern Neck was just like moving to NYC when I got out of college.....everywhere I looked there seemed to be an empty nothingness that didn't have much meaning to me. I found that over time as I did things, and met people and traveled around, the area pulled together and became mine. That happened to me in NYC and that happened to me when I came to the Northern Neck 25 years ago. So I can understand that you can feel isolated. I also understand that you feel a sense of privacy and  have your own special escape that you can either stay home or travel out and there you are without a whole lot of interaction with others. That can be good and that can be bad.

Another aspect of this property that may be a drawback for some is that it doesn't have amenities and when you have grandkids visiting there isn't the pool down the street. Depending on the family and how they interact that may either be good or not be so good. I can't know. I'm simply putting out on the table what this is all about.

There is a large pier. There is a lift for a jet ski.  You can see the Potomac from the pier and so it is not far away from the mouth of the creek. Like many areas this is not a deep water situation. I think you can get three feet of water and maybe more. I'm not a boater and so I tell people that they need to investigate. For someone who is canoe or kayak oriented or has a smaller outboard boat....this should be fine. You can also travel back a considerable distance up the creek where there are other properties for sale now....one that is even offered by Sotheby's I believe at a price of over $1,000,000. So there are other people who have taken this gravel road and built down a side road.

At this property there is only one neighbor. Nice house with large garage with garage apartment. This is pointed out just so that you know that this isn't in an area of homes where it is the priciest in the area....the one next door was built as a more expensive house and sold at above $500,000 fairly recently.

Think about this property. Call us to see it. If it suits your needs add it to your list.....I believe you will be pleased provided you've taken into consideration what's been explained above. 951 Bonums (in the Kinsale area).....a very nice house!!

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, August 04, 2017  12:10:41 PM
Land sales update for July 31 0 Comments Posted

As we've discussed in the past, land is doing better than it has in a long time. This doesn't mean that the market is perfect by any means. It is still a buyers market and so when putting your land on for sale there is a far better opportunity to sell, but that doesn't mean it will sell quickly....or perhaps at all.

I've been approached by a number of parties who would like to sell their land. I totally understand. This has been a period of time since 2008 when the land sales have been literally crawling. Now we are doing better while at the same time there's plenty on the market. You'll see.

The factors that come into play when someone purchases property can be rather complex and even if you have a great lot that is priced right....if the one or two real buyers who might want such a property have a friend that is in another county, or they want to boat on a specific river, then that property is out. Part of what is going on is just the attributes of the property....acreage, waterfrontage, depth, ability to build reasonably (not too much site work) and perhaps amenities in the community. Then the other part is travel distance, proximity to friends or family or shopping, and other unnoted possible concerns.

What I'm trying to say is that as a Realtor I can price your property correctly per the prevailing market and we can look forward to someone coming and wanting to purchase it, yet there are other factors that may make the difference between a property sitting on the market and a sale. Keep in mind....this isn't simple.

With that preface, here are the numbers and they show greatly increased sales in 2017 over 2016 and 2016 was the best year for land sales since 2008. These numbers are for the four counties of the Northern Neck--Northumberland, Lancaster, Richmond and Westmoreland.

Land sales 1/1-7/31
  2016 2017 Active
# sold 58 101 875
$ sold (millions) 6.6 9.9 122.7
Median sales price 42,700 79,500 75,000
Median days on market 207 288 482

There's no denying that 2017 is a better year for sales. Almost double the number of sales, considerably higher dollars, increase in median sales price. Yes, longer median days on market for 2017, but look at the median days on market for those that are active....there's still a lot of OLD inventory out there and let's hope it's getting priced to sell.

 

Waterfront land sales 1/1-731 (subset of above)

  2016 2017 Active
# sold 17 45 407
$ sold (millions) 3.1 6.4 85.7
Median sales price 111,600 129,000 150,000
Median days on market 284 435 477

Waterfront land is really an improved segment with more than double the number of sales in 2017 and more than double the dollars. It looks as if in the waterfront category those older properties (meaning having been on the market longer) are selling which is great.  Still plenty of inventory. Still plenty of days on the market for the actives with a median closing in on 500 days. Not a simple market but clearly one that has improved.

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, July 31, 2017  7:49:24 AM
Residential sales update on July 28 0 Comments Posted

We're holding our own in 2017 with numbers slightly below 2016, but really not significantly. The dollars being spent for residential real estate are greater this year which says that the higher end properties are selling. In these residential charts you'll see what has been going on. I'm changing my format a little, but it should be clear. This is for the four counties of the Northern Neck—Northumberland, Westmoreland, Richmond and Lancaster.

All residential sales 1/1-7/28
  2016 2017
# sold 306 305
$ sold (millions) 82.2 91.9
Median sales price 218,750 220,000
Median days on market 216 170

 

Waterfront residential sales 1/1-7/28
 
  2016 2017 Active waterfront
# sold 146 139 438
$ sold (millions) 59.3 66.7 260.3
Median sales price 375,000 439,500 462,500
Median days on market 146 139 137

 

   
   

Please excuse this extra structure on the chart. Our vendor has "upgraded" our service and I can't figure out how to get rid of this stuff. I will call them later today, but don't have enough time to do that right now and would rather have this information up.

Land is tomorrow or Sunday. We'll see how that is going....it has been going quite well.

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, July 28, 2017  9:02:19 AM
A great waterfront property 0 Comments Posted

Anyone coming from either the DC direction or Richmond at the $350,000 and under price point should have this one on their list. It is spacious with the perfect floorplan for just a family, or a finished downstairs that would help accommodate a bunch more people. (3 bedroom/3 bath plus bonus room) In very good shape, with an open floorplan and a great large screened porch, you have to see it to appreciate all it has to offer. The home at 77 Merganser (and you can see it by looking at "our listings" button) has a good sized pier with two lifts (one for your boat and the other for a jetski). The screened in porch, though is the place you could really spend your whole summer unless of course you are out on the boat. In a protected cove just off the Potomac River, there are great views out to the Potomac without the stress of what storms could do to the waterfront.

77 Merganser is located in Glebe Harbor and the association offers amenities that include a clubhouse, pool, tennis courts, large boatramp and sand beaches to bike to. This is an easy distance when coming from DC since you are just below Montross and don't go as far as Hague to get here.

Give us a call to take a look and we'll be pleased to get you into the best property at this price along the Potomac!

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, July 10, 2017  7:40:28 AM
Land sales update for the Northern Neck 0 Comments Posted

Here are the numbers for the first half of the year compared with the two earlier years. Shows that we are doing much better in the sale of land on the Northern Neck than we have in a very long time. This is the best since the end of 2008 which sent all real estate into a tailspin. Good to see.

All land sales 1/1 to 7/1 for the four counties
  2015 2016 2017 Active
# sold 68 51 91 849
$ sold (millions) 6.5 5.8 9.2 109.8
Median sales price 53,500 42,500 79,500 75,000
Median days on market 242 265 266 465

These numbers are really self-explanatory. Many more sales in 2017. Significantly more dollars which of course mostly has to do with more sales although the increase in median sales price contributed to that as well. Still the median days on market is significant and is way more than 1 year for the actives that are on the market. Good news, though, all in all.

waterfront land sales 1/1 to 7/1 for the four counties
  2015 2016 2017 Active
# sold 27 15 40 392
$ sold (millions) 3.8 2.6 5.8 83.5
Median sales price 115,000 91,000 132,000 157,000
Median days on market 275 308 393 458

Waterfront land sales fall into line with the overall sales of land in the Northern Neck. Many many more sales in 2017, more than double the number of solds in 2016. Significantly higher total sales dollars in 2017. Much higher median sales price this  year. Interestingly what has been selling has a very high median days on market. These properties have been on the market for quite a while for the most part and must have dropped in price to catch the buyers' attention.  Looking at those properties that are on the market....well 458 days for the median days on market is a big number. For the moment let's just concentrate on the fact that properties are selling and are doing much better than at any time since the end of 2008. Good news.

 

 

 

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, July 07, 2017  8:48:32 AM
Residential sales update 0 Comments Posted

Here are the numbers from January 1 through June 29 for the respective years. This is for the four counties of the Northern Neck--Richmond, Lancaster, Northumberland and Westmoreland. Shows us that there isn't signficant increase over last year in terms of numbers sold although dollars sold are up. You'll see below.

All residential sales 1/1 through 6/29
  2014 2015 2016 2017 Active
# sold 189 205 250 252 719
$ sold (millions) 49.9 62.4 66.5 77.5 310.2
Median sales price 175,000 235,000 200,000 222,500 349,000
Median days on market 225 204 222 184 129

As you can see there have only been two more sales in 2017 than in 2016 at this same time in the year. The dollars, though are considerably up. Median sales price is up and median days on market are down considerably in 2017. Not bad news at all. Pretty good news, especially for higher end properties.

One thing to take from this information is that we are improving in sales, but that our improvement has no relationship to the big improvements in city real estate. We are different. Special, but different.

                                 Waterfront residential sales 1/1 through 6/29

 

2014 2015 2016 2017 Active
# sold 73 104 122 116 429
$ sold (millions) 33.9 48.9 49.2 57.1 247.1
Median sales price 370,000 391,000 375,000 425,250 465,000
Median days on market 288 237 251 215 130

Here is a subset of residential, the waterfront residential sales. For 2017 there are fewer homes that have sold than in 2016 in this same time period. The dollars, just as in the full residential numbers, are higher for waterfront sales and may be a big part of the overall improvement of dollars for this market.....it may not affect the non-waterfront sales. Perhaps I'll check and see next week.

2017 has slightly fewer sales, higher dollars sold, higher median sales price and reduced median days on market when compared with the three previous years. Median days on market for the actives is only 130 which looks pretty good. In the next day or so I'll check on the million dollar plus properties....also, I'll check what the "average days on market" is for this segment and I'm betting it looks very different. Still, this information from yesterday's check on sales looks pretty good.

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, June 30, 2017  9:46:15 AM
Update on Land Sales in the Northern Neck 0 Comments Posted

As we've been seeing, sales are improving for land here in the Northern Neck. The charts below show that really this is good news for this market that has been really sluggish for many years. Take a look and see just how far we've come since last year. This is very good news!

Land Sales (four counties of the Northern Neck) for 1/1 through 6/1
  2014 2015 2016 2017 Active
# sold 52 50 42 67 860
$ sold (millions) 6.9 4.2 5.6 7.5 106.9
Median sales price 104,500 39,250 49,250 87,500 73,000
Median days on market 155 215.5 274.5 317 443.5

Just look at how many more properties have been sold in 2017 in comparison to 2016....a 50% improvement over last year. That's great. And total dollars sold exceed the preceding three years. This is good. Yes, granted there are 860 active properties and their median days on market is 443.5, but in comparison to last year we've moved into much more positive territory!

And here's the waterfront subset. 

 WF Land Sales (four counties of the Northern Neck) for 1/1 through 6/1
  2014 2015 2016 2017 Active
# sold 23 22 14 31 395
$ sold (millions) 4.8 3.2 2.5 4.8 80.9
Median sales price 185,000 112,500 83,000 149,000 150,000
Median days on market 117 218.5 321.5 390 433

Big improvement in sales this year over last year. Big improvement over any of the last three years. Still a lot of inventory, but in a climate where far more is selling....also the median sales price is up considerably over the past two years. Some of the more expensive inventory is being sold and I am hopeful that people are getting ready to build on those nice lots. Yes, an improving market! 

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, June 05, 2017  8:10:04 AM
Waterfront residential sales comparison 0 Comments Posted

We've been seeing that the number of sales this year does not exceed last year's but the dollars for the solds are up.  The information that you'll see below certainly supports that. I've broken out the waterfront residential sales in the four counties of the Northern Neck (Northumberland, Westmoreland, Richmond and Lancaster) into two categories. One is the under $500,000 and the other is $500,000 to $1,000,000. Although it is interesting, it's not surprising given what we've been seeing in the overall numbers.

Waterfront residential sales up to $500,000 (1/1 through 5/30)
  2014 2015 2016 2017 Active 
# sold 40 48 70 58 249
$ sold (millions) 12.2 15.4 21.2 19.2 88.4
Median sales price 305,000 344,925 297,500 347,000 369,000
Median days on market 277 234 247 205.5 135

Considerably fewer sales in 2017 when compared with 2016. A higher median sales price in 2017 and fewer median days on market. Looking pretty god overall. The median sales price of the actives isn't far off the mark of the solds for 2017 either.

Waterfront residential sales $500,000-$1,000,000 (1/1 through 5/30)
  2014 2015 2016 2017 Active 
# sold 14 27 25 29 150
$ sold (millions) 8.5 17.1 14.9 18.6 103.1
Median sales price 623,550 597,500 595,000 654,000 649,000
Median days on market 297.5 240 266 240 114

2017 gives us our best sales and best dollars in the four we're looking at. That's good. Also we have the highest median sales price .....Sales have improved and that's another good sign for our market.

 

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, May 30, 2017  9:13:11 AM
Memorial Day 0 Comments Posted

The special morning is starting out grey and very quiet around here. In all the celebrations over this weekend I hope there has been recognition for the contributions and losses of those supporting us through the years and those currently caring for the U.S. citizens through their service.

The campground at Naylors was pretty packed on Friday. Some left as early as Sunday morning. There was a pretty good band down near the water on Saturday night and I hope that many of the campers enjoyed it.

These big holiday weekends are always a bit of a double-edged sword. You want the owners of the campground to have plenty of people down and enjoying the area. For city dwellers I'm sure that this little bit of heaven is quite a reprieve. Granted most people are in campers and not in tents, but truly this is a get-away.

On weekends such as this I know that there are lots of dogs accompanying campers and that my ever-curious Lab mutts think they rule the area. They also want to check out the base of any grilling area to see what they might find for a bit of a snack. What happens is I try to control what is rather uncontrollable and so the weekend has a bit of extra responsibility keeping track of the dogs and letting them out one at a time, or taking them out with one on a leash. This is extreme for them.

For anyone in real estate mode or soon to be in real estate mode, keep in mind that there is plenty out there for sale, but certain inventories are getting tight. As someone suggested to me recently there has been a fair amount of time when you could purchase a nice getaway on the water for $250,000 and under. Now a lot of those properties are gone and it is looking like the new projected "low price" would be under $300,000.

We have numerous excellent properties for sale and so you can either look at "Our Listings" button or perhaps the "Featured Listings" to take a look. Some real values and some exceptional properties. 

Wishing you a Memorial Day full of friends and family and remembering.

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, May 29, 2017  8:15:37 AM
Mid May sales data 0 Comments Posted

The information below confirms that we are in an improving market. Not hugely improving, but improving. These sales for residential property are from the four counties in the Northern Neck, Richmond, Lancaster, Northumberland and Westmoreland. They are for the period January 1 through May 16. I've changed this slightly in that the waterfront residential subset is included in the overall chart. I believe it is clear.

 

Residential sales 1/1 through 5/16
  2015 2016 2017 Active
Ttl # sold 151 174 177 696
Ttl $ sold (milions) 47.3 44.9 55.1 301.9
Median sales price 240,000 195,750 225,000 349,000
Median days on market 204 233.5 210 131
Wf # sold (subset of above Ttl) 76 84 82 417
Wf $ sold (millions) (subset of above Ttl) 37.7 33.6 41.1 241.3

Slightly less than half the sales were waterfront property this year. A very major portion of the dollars $41.1 million was for waterfront when looking at the value of sales overall $55.1. Although I haven't put it in, it's obvious that with slightly fewer waterfront sales this year (82 versus 84) in comparison to last year and greatly increased dollars $33.6 compared with $41.1 this year, the median sales price has to be much higher this year. Yes, improving, and by the weekend I'll look at the price points of waterfront property to see what under $500,000 is doing and compare it with $500,000 to $800,000 and then some of the higher segments. Good news, although not a big change except for the more high-end properties.

 

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, May 18, 2017  9:21:05 AM
May updates on sales 0 Comments Posted

The numbers below are for January 1 through May 4 for the respective years. Much as I had thought that residential sales were improving I find that the overall shows that, but the waterfront residential sales are not a bigger number (yes, more dollars and higher median sales figure this year but one fewer sold). Take a look below to see what is going on. Basically the improved number of sales this year is associated more with non-waterfront properties. 

All residential (4 counties) 1/1 through 5/4
  2015 2016 2017 Active
#sold 139 155 162 692
$ sold (millions) 43.2 40.3 50.2 298.5
Median sales price 250,000 185,500 222,500 339,000
Median days on market 212 239 195 156

For the residential market as a whole, more sales, more dollars, higher median sales price and reduced median days on market. All of this is good. Also we have about a year and half of inventory if you annualize the sales we've had thus far. That's not bad at all.

Waterfront residential (4 counties) 1/1 through 5/4
  2015 2016 2017 Active
#sold 70 73 72 411
$ sold (millions) 34.3 30.1 36.6 236.4
Median sales price 394,675 370,000 427,250 469,000
Median days on market 230 249 232 175

Looking at waterfront residential we see that in terms of the past couple of years there isn't anything significant to say except that some higher end properties are selling. A tiny drop in sales from last year, a higher median sales price and a higher set of dollars in the sold transactions for this year. Pretty similar median days on market as has been going on in the last couple of years. We have close to two years worth of inventory which for the Northern Neck is not a really bad number. It just shows that there are more actives in relationship to solds in the waterfront properties than in the non-waterfront ones.

All land (4 counties) 1/1 through 5/4
  2015 2016 2017 Active
#sold 37 30 53 861
$ sold (millions) 3.0 2.7 5.1 114.5
Median sales price 39,000 28,500 80,000 75,000
Median days on market 271 296 317

429

Land is doing better. Significantly better than it had been. This has to be great news for land owners. Not something that you can look at and start raising prices....just look at the number of actives....861 versus the 53 sold thus far this year. But certainly reason to believe that if your property is priced well and provides value to the land seeker that you could actually be selling this year. Can't know but it sure looks better than 2015 and 2016.

 

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, May 04, 2017  8:03:19 AM
Land sales update 0 Comments Posted

 

 

These numbers are for January 1 through April 13th for the respective years. What this suggests is that land sales are doing better for the first time in a couple of years. Who would have known? It has been a consistently tough segment for sales and this does look better.

All land sales in the four counties (1/1-4/13)
  2015 2016 2017 Active
# sold 30 22 38 865
$ sold (millions) 2.3 1.4 3.9 116.9
Median sales price 38,300 20,750 82,500 75,000
Median days on market 215.5 274.5 361 418

More sales. More dollars. Higher median sales price. And we seem to be getting rid of some older inventory since the median days on market for 2017 is 361.

Waterfront land sales in the four counties (1/1-4/13)
  2015 2016 2017 Active
# sold 12 6 17** 407
$ sold (millions) 1.7 638,500* 2.6 88.8
Median sales price 103,750 64,000 145,000 159,000
Median days on market 223.5 296 495 409

* Not millions, just $638,500....didn't even get to $1,000,000 in 2016.

**Of the sales in 2017 I looked at the one that was on the marke tthe longest. It was on for 2360 days and it initially came on the market in 2010 for $599,000 and eventually sold for $210,000. Now that is quite something!! 

Again, more sales, more dollars, higher median sales price and 495 median days on market for 2017. We are making some progress with these properties. That is a very good thing. I'm hopeful that most properties are priced well so that they don't endure more than 2000 days on market.

Here's looking at a very productive spring selling season!!

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, April 17, 2017  4:07:06 PM
Waterfront equestrian estate 0 Comments Posted

It's hard to believe that you can find all this (see explanation of what this is, below) just 2 and a half hours from DC. This gorgeous, top of the line 5,000 square foot+ home with great expansive views is just the beginning. Almost ten acres of land mostly open and many acres fenced for your horses, 800 feet of waterfrontage on one of the nicest rivers on the Northern Neck. There's plenty of deep water with 6ft+ and there is a covered and protected pier complex with two boat lifts. 

The main home has the best of everything with such compoents as heated floors on the main level. There's a gourmet kitchen with a professional range as well as dual dishwashers. Custom cabinetry with granite and Caesar stone surfaces. Also a temperature controlled wine room. So much more.

There's a guest house/office facility with a full kitchen, fireplace, 1.5 baths, laundry area as well as a bedroom and a den. An outside pavillion with a kitchen is adjacent to this guest home and there is area for a swimming pool, if desired.

An 8 stall heated barn is recent construction. There's hot and cold running water in the facilty as well as tack room, wash stall and more for the horse lover. A four-railed fence encloses approximately three acres as well as a riding ring.

The property is beautifully landscaped with apple, pear, pomegranate, persimmon and fig trees. There's also a grape arbor.

A large dog run has attached to it a heated 11 x 11 canine guest house.

And just when you thought there couldn't be more there is a three car attached heated garage. The 55 x 40 detached garage is just steps away from the house and provides additional covered boat storage.

All this for $1,135,000 and within very reasonable driving distance from Washington DC. Please call David Fine, the listing agent at 202-297-8946. To see photos take a look at our featured listings here on this web site. You won't be disappointed.

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, March 29, 2017  9:09:11 AM
Northern Neck residential sales update 0 Comments Posted

Below you will see the up-to-date sales numbers for the time period January 1 through March 28th for the four counties of the Northern Neck--Westmoreland, Northumberland, Lancaster and Richmond. As noted in asnapshot of sales about a month ago, we are doing reasonably well but not making huge strides over last year. As a matter of fact in terms of numbers of sales we are behind. The dollars for 2017 sales are up.

All residential sales 1/1 to 3/28
  2014 2015 2016 2017 Active
# sold 84 87 90 81 640
$ sold (millions) 21.6 26.6 23.0 26.4 267.7
Median sales price 159,950 230,000 176,000 227,000 159,000
Median days on market 2224.5 233 224.5 215 203

 Here's a subset of the above sales. This is for waterfront only.

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 to 3/28
  2014 2015 2016 2017 Active
# sold 28 42 37 36 374
$ sold (millions) 14.6 21.5 16.3 19.2 212.7
Median sales price 384,000 403,000 335,000 442,000 469,250
Median days on market 304 243 264 249 239.5
View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, March 29, 2017  8:25:34 AM
Sales data as of March 13 0 Comments Posted

These sales are for the four counties of the Northern Neck, Richmond, Lancaster, Northumberland and Westmoreland for almost the first quarter of each of the respective years. Interesting about 2017. I would have thought we were doing better than this in 2017.

All residential sales 1/1 through 3/13
  2014 2015 2016 2017 Active
# sold 61 70 67 57 616
$ sold (millions) 14.7 20.5 16.2 18.4 259.6
Median sales price 159,900 212,650 178,000 225,000 339,000
Median days on market 239 205 223 210 221

Least number of properties sold in this timeframe since prior to 2014. Best median sales price of the four years and therefore almost the highest dollars from sales of the four years. Reasonable number of median days on market this year.  Probably in the vicinity of three years' worth of inventory right now although we'll be getting lots of new listings in the next 6 weeks or so.

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 through 3/13 (subset of above)
  2014 2015 2016 2017 Active
# sold 22 32 25 25 357
$ sold (millions) 10.0 16.2 10.6 13.5 204.3
Median sales price 425,000 384,000 317,000 429,000 469,000
Median days on market 304.5 224 264 261 257

Waterfront sales this year isn't exactly a dynamic segment, although it is good to see that the median price is up and that shows some of the higher-end properties are selling. If we were to round this out and think that there'd be about 100 waterfront homes sold this year, then looking at what we have here we'd think we have a bit in excess of three years worth of inventory. Not bad....not great....yet.

All land sales 1/1 through 3/13
  2014 2015 2016 2017 Active
# sold 18 20 14 12 733
$ sold (millions) 2.9 1.9 1.3 1.5 110.8
Median sales price 164,500 49,950 53,000 118,000 90,500
Median days on market 140 177.5 274.5 534 471

Hmmm. Fewest properties sold in this timeframe looking at our four years. Better dollar sales this year than last year. Much increased median sales price over the last two years. Look at the median days on market for these twelve solds!!! 534 days. That means many of the sold properties came down quite a bit to get sold. And look at the number of active properties. This is a difficult market for selling land.

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, March 13, 2017  12:00:41 PM
Fannie Mae perspective on housing as forwarded by RIS media this morning. 0 Comments Posted

All-out growth in the housing market this year is hinging on the Trump Administration’s policies, with the Fannie Mae Economic & Strategic Research Group expecting standstill wages to cripple affordability unless incomes improve.

“We expect the housing expansion to continue, albeit at a more moderate pace than last year given continued pressure on affordability,” says Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae chief economist. “Depressed inventory, particularly in the more affordable segments, will likely constrain sales and push home price gains that outpace income growth. A faster pace of monetary tightening, unless accompanied by a stronger increase in household income, also poses downside risk to housing.”

I believe that this is what will happen here. The lower end of the market is turning over properties more quickly. The middle range may still be okay because by and large these properties are purchased by people from out of town. The upcoming year isn't a simple one and may bring us some good sales, or may stay on the same course as 2016. All I can say is it won't be dull.  Kathryn

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, February 22, 2017  9:20:02 AM
Waterfront residential sales from $700,000 on up 0 Comments Posted

Here are the numbers that I didn't finish off quite some time ago. They are for the higher end properties, residential waterfront, in terms of sales in the four counties of the Northern Neck. Sorry to have taken so long to get these up. This was completed as of 2/16/17 and so that is when the actives were noted. Let's see what this tells us.

$700,000 to $800,000 wf residential sales
  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 5 7 8 21
$ sold (millions) 3.4 5.1 5.7 16.2
Median sales price 700,000 750,000 717,000 778,000
Median days on market 235 150 306 238

Highest number sold in 2016. Highest total value sold. Lower median sales price than 2015 and very significant median days on market in 2016 at 306. Actives are somewhat numerous but not horribly so. Also median days on market for those actives is at 238 which is within reason for our market.

$800,000 to $900,000 wf residential sales
  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 9 4 9 10
$ sold (millions) 7.4 3.2 7.3 8.7
Median sales price 829,000 815,000 828,000 879,000
Median days on market 273 170 269 246

Not bad. Not bad at all. Good number of sales. Good value for those solds. Good median sales price and not a terrible median sales price for 2016....plus not that many actives in relationship to solds. This looks good.

$900,000 to $1,000,000 wf residential sales
  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 5 6 4 10
$ sold (millions) 4.6 5.3 3.7 9.8
Median sales price 915,000 900,000 943,000 992,000
Median days on market 231 160 340 318

Some good news and some bad news. Fewest sold but when you are talking about the difference between 4, 5 or 6 sales that difference isn't huge. Then again....hmmm....at 4 sales it is 1/3 fewer homes sold than in 2015. You decide. Got some inventory off the market in 2016 that had been on for a long time. There is still a fair amount of inventory, but not terrible....the active inventory has in terms of the median been on for almost a year. It's taking a while, isn't it?

 

$1,000,000 to $1,250,000 wf residential sales
  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 5 5 0 11
$ sold (millions) 4.8 5.2 0 12.6
Median sales price 950,000 1,050,000 0 1,150,000
Median days on market 299 128 N/A 340

This is where 2016 was a real problem. No sales at all. And 11 actives, and they have on at a median days on market of 340. This is not good news for sellers.

$1,250,000 to $1,500,000 wf residential sales
  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 4 4 3 12
$ sold (millions) 5.1 4.45 3.5 16.6
Median sales price 1,270,000 1,200,000 1,330,000 1,380,000
Median days on market 203.5 273.5 318 516

Reasonably active when compared with 2014 and 2015. Reasonable number of sales in relationship to 2014 and 2015. Four years' worth of inventory on the market with a median days on market at 516. That says it takes a very very long time....or maybe never depending on how a property is priced.

$1,500,000 plus wf residential sales
  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 2 5 2 10
$ sold (millions) 5.35 7.8 2.3 21.3
Median sales price 2,700,000 1,360,000 1,170,000 1,890,000
Median days on market 369.5 92 229 335

Some sales. Nothing to write home about. 2015 was obviously much better. There are 5 years' worth of active inventory. Close to a year for the median days on market. Not a quick sale by any means and plenty in this category.

 

View Comments | Add Comment Saturday, February 18, 2017  12:55:22 PM
Completing year-end waterfront residential sales information 0 Comments Posted

A number of weeks ago I put up the sales data for waterfront residential properties priced up to $700,000. I had promised to finish that up and have it here (finally). In any event for those of you either selling or purchasing in this higher end category, I hope that this is helpful.

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, February 17, 2017  12:02:19 PM
Year-to-date sales information 0 Comments Posted

Here we have just a bit of information that shows a six week period. It does give us an overview of activity and where we stand as of February 16, 2017. This is a comparison for 2014 through 2017 covering just January 1 through February 16 for each year.

All residential sales for the four counties:

2014       41 sold          9.7 million total        $140,000 median price        225 median days on market

2015       46 sold          14.5 million total      $229,000 median price        224 median days on market

2016       37 sold           10.5 million total     $205,000 median price        242 median days on market

2017       32 sold           11.2 million total      $284,000 median price       262 median days on market

And for the current active residential we have:

              594 active listings  244 million total      $325,000 median price       228 median days on market

For 2017 we have fewer houses sold, but more dollars realized and a higher median sales price. Not great news, but not bad news either.

Land information is as follows for the same January 1 through February 16 period.

2014           7 properties sold for a total of $950,000

2015           13 properties sold for a total of $983,000

2016           10 properties sold for a total of $421,000

2017          10 properties sold for a total of $1,100,000     So truly 2017 is looking better for land sales if we just look at this beginning of the year. That's good news!

Active properties are 861 for a total value of $117,000,000.

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, February 16, 2017  8:45:04 PM
Snow....and yes, some statistics 0 Comments Posted

First, we've had quite the snow storm here. There's plenty of ice on the roads and really not much is going on. No school and I'm betting there are a lot of businesses closed. Cold, cold, cold. My husband thought I was crazy this morning because I had to make sure the dogs got their walk. Bundled all up and since there isn't any of the wind we had yesterday, really 4 degrees didn't feel bad at all. This, he thought, was really hard to believe. Nice day all in all and for those of us from up north it's nice to see some snow from time to time. True to form, though, we'll be hitting close to 70 degrees on Thursday so this snow will be history, and soon.

Second, some numbers. These are waterfront residential sales broken out by $100,000 increments (same four counties of the Northern Neck--Northumberland, Lancaster, Richmond and Westmoreland). I did the research on January 4th, so the actives might have changed a bit, but really hardly at all. If we look these first set of numbers from $0 through $700,000, the majority show an improved market. The improving market is good for all of us.

Sales of waterfront residential Up to $200,000
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 21 25 23 20 19 16
$ sold (millions) 2.9 4.0 3.6 2.9 2.99 2.8
Median sales price 140,000 162,500 160,000 147,725 170,000 175,000
Median days on market 228 220 203 205.5 150

253.5

Pretty stable sales overall. Slightly down in numbers (a grand total of 1) from last year. Median sales price is up considerably in 2016 and median days on market are down to their lowest level within this overall timeframe. There isn't that much inventory in that we have less than a year's worth of it at the moment. Then again we know that property does come off the market (expire) around the first of the year and may come back on around March 1st or so. Can't be sure, but I'm betting we'll see more inventory in a couple of months.

Sales of waterfront residential $200,000 to $300,000
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 32 36 46 58 73 41
$ sold (millions) 7.7 8.8 11.3 14.2 17.8 10.7
Median sales price 247,000 244,500 246,500 246,250 250,000 269,000
Median days on market 231.5 290 272.5 251.5 177 255

This segment is significantly improved when comparing to 2015 but also when comparing 2016 sales with the whole trend since 2012. There are more than double the number of sales in 2016 as there were in 2012. Also the dollars are more than double when you make that same comparison. Days on market are decidedly down in 2016. Looking very healthy for sales in this segment. Not much inventory either with only 41 on the market and 73 sold in 2016. Less than a year's inventory.

Sales of waterfront residential $300,000 to $400,000
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 49 46 57 70 71 71
$ sold (millions) 16.4 15.7 19.6 24.1 24.2 25.9
Median sales price 327,500 340,000 345,000 347,450 339,000 365,000
Median days on market 207 232.5 246 177.5 215 236

Another improved segment, although not significantly improved in 2016 over 2015. Certainly holding its own.

Sales of waterfront residential $400,000 to $500,000
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 31 35 35 31 42 55
$ sold (millions) 13.0 13.9 15.3 13.5 17.9 25.0
Median sales price 425,000 415,000 440,000 435,000 422,500 449,500
Median days on market 173 335 163 187 245 230

Another improved segment both in numbers and dollars when we look at 2015 and the previous three years. Not too m any actives either. More days on market in 2016 with a lower median sales price than in 2014 and 2015. Still, healthy numbers of solds in 2016 and better dollars.

Sales of waterfront residential $500,000 to $600,000
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 27 20 17 31 23 35
$ sold (millions) 14.0 10.5 8.9 16.1 12.1 20.1
Median sales price 519,000 527,500 524,000 513,000 528,000 579,500
Median days on market 238 235 297 267 207 265

This segment saw the numbers drop from 2015. It shows that not all of the market segments are marching upwards. Also, when you get to the higher dollars there aren't as many to purchase (most of the time....this doesn't always apply and you'll see how when I finish this set of charts up) and there aren't that many sold. Not great news here, but not really bad news either. About a year and a half worth of inventory when you look at the actives.

Sales of waterfront residential $600,000 to $700,000
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 8 11 15 16 23 27
$ sold (millions) 4.9 6.8 9.7 9.9 14.4 18.1
Median sales price 597,500 625,000 646,000 613,500 625,000 679,000
Median days on market 96 197 218 250.5 305 172

Another improved segment that shows steady advances over the years. 2016 brought us more sales, higher dollars and in comparison to 2015, higher median sales point. 2016's sales did require median days on market of 305, so that was quite a bit. Not too many on the market at this price now and the median days on market for the actives quite low at 172. Looking good here.

I promise to finish this up later this week so that we see how the higher priced segments look. If tomorrow is another snow day, it may be sooner rather than later.   Kathryn Murray, broker

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, January 09, 2017  12:00:03 PM
Waterfront land sales in the Northern Neck 0 Comments Posted

As a subset of the most recent post, I'm breaking out how many waterfront lots have sold in the four counties of the Northern Neck (Northumberland, Lancaster, Richmond and Westmoreland). All evidence as we follwed sales this year directed us toward poor results for 2016 and this has been borne out by looking at the below numbers today. 

In the below chart are the sales for the full year for all years (2012 through 2015) with 2016 being the exception where the sales are through today, December 29. (Please keep in mind that some Realtors take a bit of time to post their sales so perhaps by the 10th of January there will be a couple more stragglers to this sales total.) The current years' sales show a considerable decrease from 2015, actually slightly more than a 25% decline. And we're at lmost half of the 2014 sales. 12 years' worth of inventory is active, if sales continue at this rate. Not a pretty picture for waterfront land sales. We'll see if the economy will accelerate in 2017 and provide more sales to the owners who are ready to sell and have their lots have a new life....more new construction and activity for this very special part of the world.

Waterfront land sales in NNeck (four counties)*
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 53 52 66 48 34 407
$ sold (millions) 7.8 8.4 11.8 7.3 6.1 102.4
Median sales price 130,000 142,000 167,500 131,750 105,775 160,000
Median days on market 202 295 210 270 267 436

* sales for the full year except for 2016. 2016's sales are for January 1 through December 29th.

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, December 29, 2016  9:57:35 AM
Update on land sales 0 Comments Posted

On Saturday (Christmas eve) I updated the sales of residential properties on the Northern Neck (Richmond, Westmoreland, Northumberland and Lancaster counties). In that blog it was suggested that were we to combine those sales which are definitely improved with land sales then it might be said that overall 2015 and 2016 have very similar sales. Well the answer is, almost. Still 2016 comes out on top I believe.

Here are land sales for the four county area. It does show that we have a very long way to go to start chipping away at current inventory. With 887 lots for sale at the moment and 112 that have sold thus far in 2016, that's a lot of inventory. Also, this is the year of the fewest sales and the lowest dollar total and the lowest median sales price when looking at 2012 through today. There are some great deals out there on lots and you can understand why!!

Land sales 4 counties of the Northern Neck*
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 118 136 135 132 112 887
$ sold (millions) 11.3 12.7 15.7 13.6 10.8 132.2
Median sales price 50,500 60,000 77,500 48,200 41,750 74,900
Median days on market 173.5 183 202 268 249 448

*Sales are for the full year except for 2016 which includes January 1 through December 26.

Look at the median days on market for the actives!! 448 days....that's a lot of time for the median property to have been sitting on the market. As we've said in the past, it is important to be the best of the best in any category in order to get sold. In land that is especially true. In some instances it seems to require more than that because there aren't many people building these days.....truly a complicated situation. Then again, more than 100 lots did sell, so there are buyers out there!

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, December 26, 2016  8:51:41 AM
Quick overview of a strong 2016 market 0 Comments Posted

In this blog we've been reporting that 2016 sales have basically been keeping pace with 2015. That was truly what was going on. I suspect that if I factor in the land sales, then the overall total will be very close between 2015 and 2016.  Looking at residential sales in 2016 in comparison to the previous years it is clear that our market is truly better. This is good for all of us. 

Later, next week, I'll break out segments of the market and so we will see where the sales are and are not. There are shifts going on and 2016 was a year with fewer homes in the high price points selling. But that clarity will come in a bit. And yes, I'll lump in land at a later date for a comparison so we'll see the total market. For now, though, it is great to see that 2016 has been a good one for residential sales, and one that reflects our market getting more and more healthy.

This information is for the four counties of the Northern Neck--Westmoreland, Northumberland, Lancaster and Richmond.

All residential sales 1/1 to 12/31 except 2016*
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 366 405 459 479 549 615
$ sold (millions) 105.1 118.9 130.9 142.9 149.9 262.2
Median sales price 229,750 214,500 212,500 245,000 229,000 325,000
Median days on market 179.5 212 211 192 178 214

*sales are for 1/1 through 12/24 for only 2016.

2016 gave us the most homes sold in the last 5 years. Most dollars in the five year period (2016). Not the highest median sales price. Fewer median days on market in 2016 than any of the other years shown here. Not that many active properties in relationship to what we've sold this year, although significantly higher dollars in the active category when compared with 2016 overall sales number. Higher median days for the on markets too. Still and all, this snapshot shows an improved market that we should be pleased with. Good to see. Suggests a strong market for next year too.

View Comments | Add Comment Saturday, December 24, 2016  8:30:22 AM
Quick current overview of NNeck Real Estate Market 0 Comments Posted

I realize I haven't completed my earlier exercise and will get back to it later this week and finish up. Thos higher price points need to be explained in context, but not today. Today I have an overview that is helpful in general. Shows that the residential market is up and the land market is down. Shows that we are about holding our own with residential sales, albeit at lower price points. We also don't have a huge amount of inventory of active properties, which is good. Land doesn't have any of that it its favor. You'll see. The numbers just really jump out at you about land sales. (Sales are for the four counties of the Northern Neck: Lancaster, Richmond, Westmoreland and Northumberland.)

NNeck 1/1 to 11/27 all residential sales
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 332 378 421 428 505 670
$ sold (millions) 95.6 110.6 121.2 129.3 138.3 284.2
Median sales price 234,500 212,400 215,000 244,000 225,000 329,000
Median days on market 180 211 201 181 178 193

As I said, not a bad market for the Northern Neck residential market.  Interesting to look at a certain relationship here, though....if the 505 sales of 2016 are 75% of the total actives (670), then what do we have when we figure 75% of the active dollars ($284.2 million)? The answer is $213.15 million which is quite the far cry from $138.3 million....just another way of looking at the residential market and see how the higher priced properties are very much present in the active market. The disconnect between the median sales price of the solds this year ($225,000) and the actives ($329,000) is another indication of a pricey side to the active properties. We'll see if next year changes this at all. I know Realtors are looking forward to a better market.

NNeck 1/1 to 11/27 all land sales
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 105 113 123 114 96 886
$ sold (millions) 9.1 10.3 14.5 12.5 9.7 131.7
Median sales price 48,000 60,000 80,000 52,000 42,500 74,950
Median days on market 148 210 202 251 215 444.5

And yes, 2016 has the lowest number of properties sold in the 5 years that MLS covers. Granted the dollar value is a bit better than 2012, but not much. The days on market are significant but not anything like that for the actives at 444 DOM. There are also 886 properties for sale versus the 96 that have sold so far this year.....a lot of inventory is certainly an understatement. The strong belief is 2017 will be a better year. Let's certainly hope so, and especially for land.   --Kathryn Murray

 

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, November 27, 2016  12:00:37 PM
More price points for residential sales 0 Comments Posted

I started on this last week, running (hah!) through the different price points to show how sales are going in particular price points. Bit by bit this will be done. Here are three more as we rise a bit higher in price. This is for the four counties of the Northern Neck (Lancaster, Northumberland, Richmond and Westmoreland).

Residential sales 1/1 to 11/10 (4 counties) $500,000 to $600,000

  2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 24 26 33 28 65
$ sold (millions) 12.6 13.5 17.0 14.8 36.8
Median sales price 528,500 524,500 511,000 526,500 575,000
Median days on market 185 267 245 248.5 190.5
$/sq.ft 218.50 219.50 224.05 207.50 206
 
As I've said before I don't set much stock in the $/sq.ft numbers because there are so many variables in a property here on the Northern Neck. We don't have all subdivisions or all city blocks. We have properties that may have a lot of outbuildings or none. A lot of acreage or none. A pier or no pier. Good water depth, bad water depth. Good view. Bad view. Many many more variables than in suburbs or in the cities. (As an aside....that is why I find it fascinating that rural Realtors aren't considered to be the best of the best....the good ones. We need to know a lot. We need to navigate a lot. City Realtors do not have anywhere near the complexities that we do.....interesting thought, isn't it?) 
 
Anyway, looking at the numbers for the above segment sales are doing pretty well. With the exception of 2015 the sales this year are the best. The median sales price is the second highest too. We still have plenty of days on market for the solds. Looking at the actives we have about 2.5 times as much inventory as the solds. Not great, but certainly not terrible.

 

Residential sales 1/1 to 11/10 (4 counties) $600,000 to $700,000

  2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 14 24 17 27 36
$ sold (millions) 8.6 15.1 10.5 16.9 24.1
Median sales price 625,000 646,500 615,000 625,000 674,000
Median days on market 192.5 192 142 305 227
$/sq.ft 251.50 235.00 221.48 207.48 191.50
 
Sales in 2016 are the best of the four years....doing quite well really. And there aren't that many active in comparison to the solds....just 36 active to the 27 solds. The 2016 solds obviously had a fair amount of older inventory that came down in price. That's the reason for the median days on market of 305. Interesting. Pretty healthy segment.
 

Residential sales 1/1 to 11/10 (4 counties) $700,000 to $800,000

  2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 9 6 8 9 37
$ sold (millions) 6.2 4.2 5.9 6.5 28.5
Median sales price 715,000 705,000 755,000 725,000 778,000
Median days on market 303 265 223.5 242 236
$/sq.ft 210.36 225.50 211.50 206.55 218.77

We are certainly holding our own in terms of the numbers of sales at this price point. Both 2013 and 2016 had the greatest number of sales with the 2016 sales recognizing the greatest number of dollars. This is good. What isn't so good is the number of properties that are active versus what has sold. With 37 active and only 9 sold there are at least three years' worth of inventory right here. Anyone selling at this price should take note!

 

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, November 10, 2016  10:43:02 AM
Residential sales by $100,000 increments 0 Comments Posted

This will be a work in progress. Obviously it takes time to compile these statistics and then to lay them out here for your review. For that reason today will be up to $500,000 and in a couple more days I'll do probably five more segments and a day or two later I'll finish this off.

These are residential sales and all types are contained in the numbers. No breaking out for waterfront. No breaking out for non waterfront. Everything. The numbers are for January 1 through November 3 for the respective years. This is for the four counties of the Northern Neck, Lancaster, Northumberland, Westmoreland and Richmond. This approach sheds a little more light on our market. And even though I believe the $/sqft is not a very good indicator of anything given the huge variables for each property (acreage, etc... just as a start) it's here for your review. That's it. Here we go for the price points up to $500,000.

Residential sales up to $100,000 (1/1 through 11/3)
  2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 53 57 63 63 56
$ sold (millions) 3.2 3.5 3.9 3.8 3.8
Median sales price 62,500 63,000 65,000 63,000 69,000
Median days on market 117 184 149 136 165
$/sq.ft 55.35 60.38 61.54 54.41 62.50

What do we see here? Well a gradual increase in sales and an improvement dollar-wise. Nothing earth shattering. Reasonable median days on market....all below 200 including the actives. Fewer actives than we have solds for this year. Looks good!

Residential sales $100,000 to $200,000 (1/1 through 11/3)
  2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 97 124 102 133 152
$ sold (millions) 14.1 17.4 14.9 19.3 23.5
Median sales price 147,500 143,500 147,250 142,000 154,450
Median days on market 198 199 154 170 143.5
$/sq.ft 103.59 103.00 99.50 97.80 101.50

Considerable increase in sales this year although you can see that 2014 was a good sales year for this segment and then 2015 the sales dropped off. Certainly the highest number of dollars in 2016 by far in terms of total sales. All median days on market are below 200. Actives are a bit more than the number of solds thus far this year, but still are under 20%. This looks good too!

Residential sales $200,000 to $300,000 (1/1 through 11/3)
  2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 64 71 76 101 122
$ sold (millions) 15.3 17.2 18.3 24.5 31.7
Median sales price 236,950 245,000 241,500 247,500 262,450
Median days on market 257 286 214.5 174 177.5
$/sq.ft 135.50 150.00 146.50 150.40 144.00

Quite a jump in sales for this segment in 2016. This both for numbers of solds and for total dollars. We have the highest median sales price in 2016 as well. Looks like the median days on market are declining with both the days on market for the solds and for the actives at under 200. Not a huge amount of inventory in relationship to the solds....about 20% and we haven't gotten through the year yet. Looks good to me.

Residential sales $300,000 to $400,000 (1/1 through 11/3)
  2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 46 52 68 70 101
$ sold (millions) 15.5 17.6 23.4 23.5 31.7
Median sales price 333,250 340,000 348,500 330,000 363,000
Median days on market 245.5 191.5 212 212 199
$/sq.ft 187.00 187.00 178.00 165.50 179.55

Some improvement in sales for 2016, although not sizable when compared to 2015. Median days on market is 212 for the solds, although 199 for the actives. About 30% more inventory on the market as we have solds for 2016. Not bad really, quite good. Just not quite as strong as the previous segments.

Residential sales $400,000 to $500,000 (1/1 through 11/3)
  2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 32 32 29 39 84
$ sold (millions) 12.7 13.9 12.7 16.6 38.6
Median sales price 410,000 444,250 435,000 420,000 450,000
Median days on market 289 116 187 242 182
$/sq.ft 194.00 177.50 180.34 199.28 187.00

Hmmmm. Yes, improved in 2016 both in numbers and in dollars. Median days on market are  up for 2016 over 2014 and 2015 and exceed that 200 mark. More than double the number of actives as we have solds in 2016. Obviously this is more competitive and not as well a selling segment as any of the ones we've looked at thus far. 

 

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, November 03, 2016  11:11:55 AM
Market snapshot on October 30 0 Comments Posted

Since sometimes I have the most time on Sundays to do a bit of this I thought, let's get this done!! Granted I'm going to have to break out the market some later this week to see where the sales really are, but this bit I have here is helpful.

In response to most people saying that "the market is getting better," I agree but guardedly. Essentially I believe we are mostly just plain stable with some segments of the market improving and others not. That said, here are the numbers both for residential and for land. They cover the four counties of the Northern Neck (Northumberland, Westmoreland, Lancaster and Richmond) and run from 1/1 through 10/30.

Residential sales, four counties 1/1 to 10/30
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 295 336 374 401 450 701
$ sold (millions) 82.2 97.9 103.8 122.2 125.4 295.0
Median sales price 226,000 218,750 200,000 243,000 233,750 329,000
Median days on market 179 211 200 190 181 187

The increase in units sold and dollars sold is significant from 2012 to 2016. So that is a good thing. (Essentially 300 sales to 450 sales...quite an increase. The dollars follow along proportionately as well.) What isn't clear with 2016 versus 2015 is how this year will end...on an even note, a down note or an up note. I suspect that 2016 will be a slightly better year compared with 2015, with the majority of the increase due to more lower priced properties selling and that the high end properties will continue to lag. We'll check on this once all the numbers are in, but if you've been following this blog this year that really does look like a fairly good guess at the year end (with a touch of numerical information to inform that guess).

Land sales, four counties 1/1 to 10/30
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 99 103 117 107 84 931
$ sold (millions) 8.3 9.4 13.9 10.4 8.3 138
Median sales price 48,000 59,000 75,000 52,000 40,000 75,000
Median days on market 148 188 206 238 215 424

Here's a completely different dynamic. Sales in 2016 when compared with the previous four years are at an all time low. Dollars for the overall sales are at the same level as 2012, which is the lowest point...both 2012 and 2016 had $8.3 million in sales from the 1st of the year through October. What that 84 sales says about this year is if we averaged that out we'd be selling about 8 pieces of land each month. Think about what the 931 actives number says.....we have more properties that those we could sell in a ten year period. That is a lot of land!!

I'll do some more analysis this week. Had to do some family type checking on things, dealing with things. I think we all know that that isn't always simple.

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, October 30, 2016  12:46:40 PM
Residential overview update 0 Comments Posted

Here are the numbers for January 1 through October 8 for the respective years. It was a bit difficult to get this information yesterday since the cloud cover was sufficient that my little wifi device seemed to take FOREVER. For that reason there is only residential information here. I'll update land tomorrow morning when I will be back in full swing....for the moment I just want to do a bit of catch up and then turn off the computer.....half a day a week seems reasonable (and there's always my phone to double check if need be.)

Here we are starting in on the fourth quarter. And here we are really looking at a year that probably should be seen as quite similar to 2015. You decide since we have more sales, but not significantly more dollars.

Residential sales, 4 counties, 1/1 through 10/8
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 all 2016 $500,000+ Active all Active $500,000+
# sold 277 308 335 369 409 55 725 180
$ sold (millions) 77.0 90.4 91.6 112.6 113.5 37.5 300.9 158.4
Median sales price 226,000 222,950 199,999 243,000 230,000 625,000 327,000 699,000
Median days on market 175 211 201 187 192 264 172 217

Other than looking at the numbers sold in 2016 and the dollars sold and seeing that it is a similar market to 2015 (lthough more skewed to lower priced houses in 2016).....what interests me most is tha the over $500,000 properties, has a median sales price of $625,000. Also, that the over $500,000 group has a significantly longer period of time before the property sells.

People approach me all the time and ask "isn't the market getting better....looks like it's getting better...." As you can see, that isn't a simple question and there isn't a simple answer. As we've looked at before, in certain price segments the answer is decidedly, yes. In others the answer is really, no. Just not simple.

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, October 09, 2016  11:06:46 AM
Non-waterfront residential sales 0 Comments Posted

A couple of parties have told me they would benefit with having these numbers generated. So here we have non-waterfront residential sales for the full years of 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The sales for 2016 are through today, the 5th of October. This is for Westmoreland, Northumberland, Lancaster and Richmond counties.

Non-waterfront residential (4 counties) 1/1-12/31
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016**
# sold 131 159 184 180 150
$ sold (millions) 19.2 23.9 24.7 26.2 21.3
Median sales price 131,900 135,000 125,000 136,500 133,500
Median days on market 163 187 200 164.5 169.5

** 1/1 through 10/5....obviously only 9 months

Active properties number 249 at the moment. They have a total value of $51.7 million. The median price is $179,000. Median days on market is 146.

Projecting out for 2016, it looks as if this year will be about the same as 2015. So our dollars and our numbers will be the best since 2008....I'm quite sure, since it has been a slow rise in sales since the banking debacle. This is a pretty stable market at the moment.

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, October 05, 2016  9:34:45 AM
Sales, a subset of waterfront residential 0 Comments Posted

These sales figures are for the four counties of the Northern Neck as well as Essex and Middlesex counties (Middle Peninsula properties). I've added the $/sq.ft. since some people are interested in these numbers. I find them particularly difficult to use when we look at properties that are rural. You aren't compensating for more acreage, or more water depth or a better view or a myriad of other things that affect value. Far easier to apply this to urban locations where it is more apples to apples, even if some adjustments might need to be made. So take these numbers ($/sq.ft.) with a grain of salt.

Sales 1/1 through 9/21 waterfront residential $400,000 to $500,000
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
#sold 25 33 33 28 37 84
$ sold (millions) 10.6 13.3 14.3 12.4 15.8 38.6
median sales price 430,000 415,000 430,000 436,000 425,000 450,000
median days on market 151 335 163 154.5 242 156
median $/sqft 226.82 195.40 207.92 181.50 199.28 195

Improved number of sales this year. Improved dollars. Slightly lower median sales price and a considerable uptick in median days on market for the 2016 sales.

Sales 1/1 through 9/21 waterfront residential $500,000 to $600,000
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
#sold 23 18 14 27 19 64
$ sold (millions) 11.9 9.4 7.2 14.0 10.0 36.4
median sales price 520,000 525,000 524,000 515,000 528,000 572,500
median days on market 172 185 345,5 312 202 160.5
median $/sqft 219.90 218.50 226.50 217.31 214.88 207.50

Considerable drop in sales this year versus last year. Better than 2013 or 2014 though. A real drop in the median days on market for this year. That's a plus. A bit more inventory that is available in relationship to the current solds.

Sales 1/1 through 9/21 waterfront residential $600,000 to $700,000
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
#sold 10 11 14 15 21 39
$ sold (millions) 6.0 6.7 8.8 9.3 13.2 26.1
median sales price 592,500 625,000 643,000 612,000 625,000 673,000
median days on market 98 188 201 249 305 177
median $/sqft 285.00 264.00 239.50 221.48 195.80 193.36

This is the healthiest segment of these three price points we're looking at here. Slightly more than double the sales of 2012 have occured seen in 2016. More than double the dollars in 2016 versus 2012. A considerable uptick from 2015 in numbers sold and dollars sold. An increase in median sales price in 2016. A really notable number is the very long median days on market for the solds thus far this year. Must say that there's a lot that's been on the market that the price has come down to the point that it has sold. Interesting. 

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, September 21, 2016  2:44:13 PM
Long-term perspective on waterfront residential sales 0 Comments Posted

We've been looking at how the market has been faring mostly by seeing this year's results in relationship to the past two years. It made me curious as to what the relatively "long-term" perspective might be. Our MLS system holds data for only five years and that is the reason for the limitation of the below chart. I realize that this is a lot of data, but I think it serves its purpose—it tells us where we stand today in relationship to a full five years. You might wish I'd broken it out in smaller increments....still this does add something to how we view the market. 

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 through 9/1 (4 counties) $400,000 and under
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 63 66 67 81 102 177
$ sold (millions) 16.1 17.8 18.1 22.6 27.9 54.6
Median sales price 269,900 275,000 272,000 285,000 276,000 329,000
Median days on market 216 305 254 257 219 159

This chart shows that there has been some real improvement since 2012 in the segment. The median sales price hasn't changed much through this five year period and the actives have a much higher median sales price (actually list price) but still, this looks pretty healthy. Not a huge amount of inventory....just a factor of about 1.5 times as much available as has sold this year.

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 through 9/1 (4 counties) $400,000 to $800,000
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 45 50 45 59 65 193
$ sold (millions) 22.3 24.6 23.4 33.6 33.7 110.6
Median sales price 485,000 450,000 481,000 515,000 510,000 549,900
Median days on market 172 221 171 203 264 171

As with the $400,000 and under, this segment, too, shows improvement when looking at the 2012 to 2016 relationship and also the intervening years. A considerable improvement in terms of sales, and a slight improvement over 2015 in dollars, but yes, improving. Much more inventory than the lower priced properties. About 3 times as much inventory available as has sold thus far this year.

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 through 9/1 (4 counties) $800,000 plus
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 10 14 12 18 9 67
$ sold (millions) 9.7 15.8 14.9 19.3 8.6 91.7
Median sales price 925,000 897,500 960,000 942,500 835,000 1.2 mill
Median days on market 296 347 283 130 244 236

Easy to spot what is going on....this is the hard hit segment. Look at 2016 in relationship to the four previous years. Fewest number of properties sold. Fewest dollars realized. Lowest median sales price this year. And a bit more than 7 times as many actives as there are solds in 2016. Not a pretty picture. Also look at the disconnect in terms of the median sales price (lowest of the five years in 2016 at $835,000) versus the median sales price of the actives at $1.2 million. Very very challenging.

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, September 12, 2016  1:01:17 PM
Sept. 1, 2016 update on Northern Neck real estate sales 0 Comments Posted

Here's the overview I promised. Thoughtit would be nice to know where we stand as of the 1st of September. I think we're really doing pretty much as you'd expect if you've been following this blog for the last few months.

These numbers are for the four counties of the Northern Neck which includes Northumberland, Lancaster, Richmond and Westmoreland. The numbers are for the timeframe 1/1 throug 9/1 for the respective years. Also included are the active properties for each category. First are the residential sales with the waterfront residential sales following and they are obviously a subset. Then the same is displayed for land and then for waterfront land.

Residential sales 1/1 through 9/1

  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 279 308 349 778
$ sold (millions) 78.9 94.9 93.7 327.4
Median sales price 210,000 240,000 220,000 326,500
Median days on market 204 181 196 157

Noticed that the property in the residential category that has been on the market the longest has been on 2488 days. I'd say someone has been witing a while. And there hasn't been a price change in a year. That certainly fits as someone who "doesn't need to sell."

That little note was just an aside. If we look at the numbers above we see that more property has sold this year, but fewer dollars have been spent on these sales. Mixed results although it is good to reduce our inventory.

 

 Waterfront Residential sales 1/1 through 9/1

  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 124 157 168 443
$ sold (millions) 56.5 73.2 67.6 259.7
Median sales price 370,000 392,000 370,000 450,000
Median days on market 233 215 235.5 167

As with the total residential market we have the same situation....more sales with fewer dollars and a lower median sales price. Slight more days on market for the median. Quite a bit of inventory in regard to the solds. Looked at the Million Dollar plus sales for this same timeframe. 6 sold in 2014, 9 sold in 2015 and 2 have sold thus far in 2016. There are forty-six $1,000,000 plus properties for sale in our four counties at the moment.

Land sales 1/1 through 9/1

  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 107 94 80 950
$ sold (millions) 14.8 9.2 8.6 139.4
Median sales price 136,500 52,000 49,250 75,000
Median days on market 202 265 206.5 387

As you can see the numbers of properties sold has been diminishing and the dollars are fewer. Also an incredible difference in the active inventory (950) to the sold of 80 properties.

Waterfront land sales 1/1 through 9/1

  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 44 35 25 437
$ sold (millions) 8.7 5.4 4.2 108.7
Median sales price 187,000 125,000 99,950 169,000
Median days on market 226 265 284 366

Same story as the sales of overall land, fewer properties sold in 2016 and fewer dollars for those solds. In this case the median sales price is dropped and median days on market has increased. Median days on market is right around a year. And the multiple of actives to solds in 2016 is right around 17.5 times as many active as sold....that could take a few years?

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, September 01, 2016  2:50:37 PM
Two special waterfront properties 0 Comments Posted

I realize that by and large you come to this web site for information about the market and I respect that. Occasionally I like to put up something about my listings that might be of real interest to someone coming here.

There are two waterfront listings that I think are particularly of interest and I'll explain why.

One is located on Bonum's Creek and is just off the Potomac. (Westmoreland county near Kinsale.) It is protected by being on a creek and so not vulnerable to the full front Potomac weather while at the same time being barely a stone's throw away from the Potomac. Lots of waterfrontage, all rip-rapped except for a little piece that allows for someone to put a canoe or kayak in without dragging it over stone....it is a slightly sandy area. There's a nice sized pier and a beautiful view. 

The landscape is such that there are trees but they are not close together. Nice view and not a lot of lawn even though there is over 200 feet of waterfrontage. There is considerable privacy with only one nearby house.

The house has two master suites, one up and one down. The downstairs one which is the main one has a gorgeous large bathroom with marble and a large custom shower as well as a jacuzzi. Naturally there are double sinks. A large walk in closet too. There's an additional bedroom (guest) on the main floor. The kitchen area which is open to the dining and living area....as well as another small sitting area, is the kind of kitchen that many houses priced at twice this property's price (951 Bonum is priced at $486,000) might not be able to compete with. 

Beautiful floors, lots of exterior decks. An attached one-and-a-half car garage, a separate single car garage with workshop space. A studio that one could only dream of with a beautiful view, tucked in the woods, large windows...a cathedral ceiling. In the back of the open studio space are bunk beds. There is electric to the studio as well as heat and air conditioning. No water presently.

To view this property take a look at featured listings and it will show quickly since there aren't too many featured ones and none at this same price point.

The second property is 164 Bayview. It is a four bedroom, four and a half bath house that has been renovated and upgraded to the point that in a different market the asking price would easily be $1,000,000. Unfortunately that is not the market we are in and so that is what allows a purchaser to approach this house that has an asking price of $649,000. For anyone who is looking for the perfect waterfront getaway in terms o large open spaces, lots of room for people to spread out, a spectacular view....this is it. A huge master suite is at one end of the first floor. Beautiful bath and his and hers walk in closets. Another bedroom is down this wing and then you have the dining room, living room and then the kitchen. A small office is off the back of the dining room. The living room has a beautiful fireplace that is such that it works both for the living room and then on the other side for a sitting area which has the breakfast area behind that and adjacent to the kitchen. The kitchen has stainless appliances and a custom granite counter top with the least number of seams one could have for a very large space. 

The waterfront has a sandy area. There is a boathouse and although this is on the Potomac there is the breakwater of Sharks Tooth Island directly in front.

Since this little community is truly small (perhaps 8 houses or so) there isn't a lot of activity. If you went straight rather than turn onto Bayside you would find a public boat ramp that as best I can tell isn't used very often. So isn't it perfect that right there, less than 5 minutes away....probably two, you'd have access to this ramp.

The location here is great for anyone coming from the DC or Fredericksburg area. You don't have to add an extra half an hour or hour to get to your waterfront home. It is tucked back behind Montross and you can easilly come to Montross and get to it, or drive down the Stratford Hall Road and get there a little more quickly.

If either of these properties interest you, please look at the listings in the Featured Listings here on this web site. Take a look at the photos. And if I can answer any questions please email me or give me a call. Depending on what you are looking for either of these would be a very worthwhile trip. Thank you.  Kathryn Murray, broker, 804-450-4442 cell, kam129@aol.com

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, August 16, 2016  8:44:34 AM
Overview of the Northern Neck real estate market, August 2016 0 Comments Posted

With the information I put together earlier this week showing that in the waterfront residential market there are numerous segments that are really improving this year....I thought, well how are we doing in the overall? That is what brought me to put together the nice snapshot shown below. And it really does tell us something. It tells me a lot. (If you are just checking this web site's statistics after a week or so, it really would be worthwhile to look at the post that just precedes this one. It gives a breakout of waterfront residential sales at $100,000 increments....for most of that market.)

The numbers in the three charts below are for the four counties of the Northern Neck--Westmoreland, Northumberland, Lancaster and Richmond.

Sales all residential 1/1 through 8/12
  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 232 277 320 803
$ sold (millions) 62.2 86.5 85.6 334.5
Median sales price 198,000 250,000 220,000 324,900
Median days on market 226 163 212.5 148

Looking at the 2016 sales numbers you might say, wow, what an improving market. The difference between 277 residences sold in 2015 and 320 in 2016 is considerable....43 more houses (interestingly that is almost exactly the number the market improved from 2014 to 2015 with far more dollars in 2015 looking at 2014 dollars....but that's not what we are really looking at here). Great, more sales!!! But wait a minute....what is this?.....fewer dollars total for this larger number of sales ($86.5 million in 2015 and $85.6 million in 2016). That isn't what you'd expect with 43 more sales in 2016.

This set of numbers supports what we saw in waterfront residential recently. It shows that in the rest of the market (anything non waterfront including water access and water view) there is a high percentage of sales at lower price points. We've also increased the median days on market for these sales. 2016 is not a bad market but it also isn't a really improved one, unless the goal is decreasing inventory. We are certainly doing just that, but most significantly for the lower priced properties.

Sales all land 1/1 through 8/12
  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 89 78 58 947*
$ sold (millions) 11.2 8.0 6.6 142.8
Median sales price 94,000 53,500 42,700 79,000
Median days on market 168 268 206.5 372

This is a pretty straight forward set of information. Fewer sales, fewer dollars, lower median sales price and the only improvement is that median days on market for 2016 are lower than those in 2015. Lots and lots and lots of inventory. Median days on market for the active inventory is over a year.

*Property on the market longest at this moment has been on for 4061 days. No kidding!!

Sales waterfront land 1/1 through 8/12
  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 40 30 18 454
$ sold (millions) 8.0 4.7 3.1 113.7
Median sales price 187,500 122,500 101,300 169,250
Median days on market 225 295 296 360.5

Hmmmm. Waterfront sales are hurting. Look at the numbers from 2014 through 2016. Drop in number of solds. Drop in dollars sold. Drop in median sales price. Slight increase in median days on market.....and wow, 18 sold in 2016 and 454 active at the moment.

This is a nice snapshot of the market. Helpful to see that there are the positives and the negatives. There is no real generalization that applies to the residential market. Land, though, is certainly very challenged.   (Kathryn Murray, broker)

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, August 12, 2016  9:03:38 AM
Waterfront residential sales broken out by price 0 Comments Posted

What I put together and show below surprised me a little bit. Just goes to show you that the broad brush approach of looking at large segments of the market can be deceiving. In general when people ask me about the market I say it is flat in regard to last year (2015) which has been the best one since the debacle of the banking/mortgage meltdown. In broad brush terms that is true. But looking closer we can see that there are solid improvements in many sectors and so I'll go back and look at other portions of the market (other than waterfront residential) but for now we'll stick with this large slice of the market.

These numbers are for sales in the four counties of the Northern Neck--Richmond, Westmoreland, Northumberland and Lancaster. They are for the period 1/1 through 8/7 for the respective years.

Looking at the market in $100,000 segments until we get to $800,000 shows many different results. Most portions of the waterfront residential market are doing quite well. It is just that overall 2015 and 2016 numbers are similar. This, mostly because the high end properties are not doing as well as they had been in the last two years and that affects our dollars.

Waterfront residential sales up to $200,000
  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 10 11 12 21
$ sold 1.6 1.5 1.7 3.66
Median sales price 163,000 140,000 159,500 184,900
Median days on market 263.5 297 174.5 332

 We have just on more sale than last year in this category. And the dollars sold this year is more. The median sales price is higher than 2015 (although lower than 2014) and the median days on market is much improved over 2015. Yes, there are 21 properties on the market at this price, but that isn't a lot given what we've sold this year. So although it isn't a huge improvement, this segment is improved.

Waterfront residential sales $200,000-$300,000
  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 23 30 38 69
$ sold (millions) 5.7 7.4 9.4 17.9
Median sales price 245,000 245,000 252,500 252,000
Median days on market 279 254.5 221.5

115

As we saw with the first segment, everything here is improved over the last two years....and significantly so. This is an improved segment. Not too much inventory either.

Waterfront residential sales $300,000-$400,000
  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 23 34 37 106
$ sold (millions) 7.8 12.1 12.5 38.6
Median sales price 345,000 359,750 335,000 365,000
Median days on market 276 223 251 144

More sales, more dollars (just barely), a reduced median sales price and an increase in median days on market for 2016 in this segment. Improved, but mixed....I'd call it improved but not significantly. Looks like the inventory is quite a bit more with this price point.

Waterfront residential sales $400,000-$500,000
  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 14 16 25 84
$ sold (millions) 6.2 6.9 10.7 38.6
Median sales price 450,000 424,075 425,000 449,995
Median days on market 173.5 141.5 266 147

More sales (significantly) and more dollars (significant too) with a very slightly higher median sales price over 2015 and a huge increase in the median days on market. This for 2016. All in all this is a quite improved segment with a fair amount of inventory. (As an aside, I looked at one property that sold this year in this category just to see what it went through to get to the finish line. It went on in 2011 at $825,000 and sold this year for $402,000. It's almost unbelievable, except I saw it and looked up these particulars.)

Waterfront residential sales $500,000-$600,000
  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 7 18 13 54
$ sold (millions) 3.6 9.4 6.8 30.9
Median sales price 526,000 516,500 525,000 577,900
Median days on market 297 304 254 180

2016 market has fewer sales and fewer dollars. Median sales price is higher than 2015 and median days on market are dropped. Considerable inventory although there must be a fair amount that has come on recently since the median days on market for the actives is only 180 days. This is the first waterfront segment that has NOT IMPROVED since fewer numbers and fewer dollars in 2016.

Waterfront residential sales $600,000-$700,000
  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 8 12 16 32
$ sold (millions) 5.1 7.4 9.9 21.2
Median sales price 643,000 600,000 625,000 662,450
Median days on market 158 271.5 298.5 142

Another improved segment. More sales, more dollars, higher median sales price all in 2016. The only negative is the median days on market has increased. Reasonable amount of inventory for a Northern Neck high end waterfront property...only twice the number of solds thus far this year sitting in the active category. Yes, improved.

Waterfront residential sales $700,000-$800,000
  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 4 5 4 30
$ sold (millions) 2.8 3.7 2.8 23.4
Median sales price 705,000 760,000 717,500 791,950
Median days on market 306 203 240 183.5

There isn't a lot of action in this segment. Although this is not an improved segment there isn't too much that is different among the three years here. What we do see is a lot of inventory which would be a challenge if someone were selling and not priced well. Not improved...but almost unchanged really.

Waterfront residential sales $800,000 to $1,000,000
  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 5 9 5 22
$ sold (millions) 4.4 7.6 4.1 20.3
Median sales price 850,000 829,000 835,000 912,000
Median days on market 231 133 296 271

2016 we have fewer sales and fewer dollars than the two years previous. Also we have signficantly increased the median days on market for the solds. This one has quite a lot of inventory and obviously falls into the not improved category....actually significantly behind 2015. 

Waterfront residential sales $1,000,000 to $1,250,000
  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 2 3 0 16
$ sold (millions) 1.9 3.2 0 18.4
Median sales price 975,000 1,050,000 0 1,150,000
Median days on market 300 53 0 176.5

Nothing happening in this segment thus far in 2016. As you can see, there haven't been a lot of sales in the last couple of years. Quite a bit of inventory. Not improved.

Waterfront residential sales $1,250,000 plus
  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 3 5 2 32
$ sold (millions) 4.9 7.7 2.9 56.7
Median sales price 1.3 1.3 1.4 1.48
Median days on market 293  105 281 257

Decidedly not improved and with an extremely challenging inventory.  Not improved.

I think what this shows is that stating that a market is improving or not is a very difficult thing to do. Having said that the market is basically flat to last year I've shown myself that there has been significant improvement at many price points. That is very good for our overall market and so that is what I'll explain going forward. Hopefully you've learned a little something here today.  Kathryn Murray, principal broker

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, August 08, 2016  8:44:37 AM
Northern Neck Real Estate Sales to date, August 1, 2016 0 Comments Posted

As promised, here are the numbers to put this year into context with the previous few. Really nothing here is a big surprise, but it does serve as confirmation. In residential there are more properties sold thus far this year both in the overall category of residential and in the subset, waterfront residential, but dollars are down....sort of a mixed blessing. More property getting cleared from inventory. Greater focus on lower priced properties. All in all, property is selling.

Residential sales 1/1 through 8/1
  2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 220 224 267 305 810
$ sold 65.1 59.7 84.2 81.8 336.1
Median sales price 210,000 188,500 250,000 220,000 324,450
Median days on market 210.5 224.5 163 218 141

So yes, more property sold in 2016 but at a lesser overall value and at a lower median sales price. Also the median days on market is up considerably when compared with last year. What we can see with the active properties is that people area putting property on the market at a fair rate since the median days on market is relatively low. Quite a bit of inventory, but if we are generous we'll say about 40% of this amount of inventory has sold this year. That isn't too bad in our buyers market.

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 through 8/1 (subset of above)
  2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 103 94 140 147 462
$ sold 47.7 41.9 65.8 59.4 266.2
Median sales price 385,000 357,500 382,250 371,250 449,500
Median days on market 246 274.5 212 246 153

Nothing surprising here. More properties sold and at a lesser price in 2016. Fewer dollars for the overall sales. Here we are at 32% of the overall active number in terms of what has sold in the NNeck in 2016. Again, not that bad for our buyer's market. We've certainly seen worse. Of course I will break out the sales in the various segments sometime later this month and that will tell us that that number doesn't apply across the board. That's for a later blog.

----------------------------------------------------

There are two waterfront residential segments that I have a bit of special interest in right now. The first is for properties priced between $400,000 and $500,000. We have 83 that are active and 25 that have sold thus far this year. The median sales price for those solds was $425,000.

On the million dollar plus waterfront residential sales we still have only two that have sold thus far this year. One closed in January and the other in March. There are currently 46 active million dollar plus waterfront residential properties.

All land sales 1/1 through 8/1
  2013 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 61 83 73 57 928
$ sold 6.5 10.5 7.2 7.2 140.8
Median sales price 75,000 90,000 52,000 49,900 79,000
Median days on market 287 168 271 204 363.5

No surprise here either. Fewer units but same amount of dollars for the sales in 2016. Huge amount of inventory. One drop of good news is that the median days on market for the solds has dropped. 

That's it for now. Lots of inventory. Lots of great deals. Call us......Kathryn Murray, principal broker

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, August 01, 2016  8:25:23 AM
Miscellaneous, mostly fun 0 Comments Posted

From time to time I try to bring up suggestions of places to go and things to do. I have my own favorites and I'm sure that people who live throughout the Northern Neck have a full range of preferences as well.

Recently I spent time at the used bookstore in Warsaw. It is affiliated with RCC and so the funds go to the library or go to the college (I'm not sure). It's a good cause. While there I overheard one man as he and his wife were leaving with a big bag-full of books. He said he had one request and that was that the store moved to Richmond to make it more convenient for them. Obviously this very reasonably priced, and chock-full location is a book lover's dream. And so this couple comes about once a month to find their books in little old Warsaw.

For me, although I have been there before, I had a startling good visit. Part of it had to do with the fact that I gave myself time which is not the most normal of ways I fit in fun. I really took my time...perhaps an hour and left with an armful of hardcovers and paperbacks. The total came to $4 and so I splurged and left $5. What a treat! What fun! Really, although it doesn't look like anything fancy, it is a treasure for someone who wants to find books....and the prices are very right with paperbacks running at 5 for $1.

The hours may cause some to feel challenged since they are only open on Friday and Saturday from 10 to 2. But if you plan and give yourself some reasonable time and get there during those hours, I believe you'll be glad you did.

Two eateries in town have their own specialness. I would expect that just about everyone has stopped in to The Daily there at the main light in town, but if you haven't you should. They have great sandwiches and terrific soups that get ordered quickly on any given day, so don't expect to order a bowl if you come at 1 or 1:30. Just a nice place to stop with good food and good service. Then Relish, which is owned and cheffed by Carol (the sister of the owner of The Daily, K.G.) does her specialty cooking and could surprise the most discerning palate with a dinner out at Relish. I believe they are open Wednesday through Saturday for dinner, so check the web site to be sure. And make time to have a meal there....you won't be disappointed.

Another favorite Warsaw spot is Colonial Collectibles, right there across from the new Family Dollar (which unfortuantely took up a very nice corner of our little town, but I'm not part of those politics and figure the almighty dollar succeeded where planning for a future that didn't look like every strip mall wasn't in the cards....no opinions here!!) Anyway back to Colonial Collectibles.....as you might expect there is furniture and some of it old and nicely refinished. Then there are clothes in the back section....women's and very nice. In the front there is just about anything you would need to decorate your house or your dinner table. There are housewares, artwork, candles and jewelry. A lot of it has a nautical theme and so works well whether it is for your home or for a house warming present. I tend to give gift certificates to my clients to this store because it might be overlooked. Any of my buyers who receive this gift really do enjoy going in and searching for the perfect accent to their homes.

Moving out from the Warsaw area I do find that from time to time I have to spend time and the Essex Square Antiques Mall. It is right there in the same strip as the movie theater. Basically across the highway from Food Lion is where you'll find this storefront. They have just the right amount of stuff to peruse.  You can spend an hour or you can spend 15 minutes. The prices are reasonable given the quality and you shouldn't be bored. Nice staffing too. Definitely worth a shot and I'm quite the junker. What I try to do when I junk these days, though, is to confirm that I already have enough stuff and I've done very well over the years when I've acquired. The goal is to see things but not to buy.....most of the time it works.

Moving right along, I'm connected with the Rappahannock Art League and my photos (infused in aluminum) are on display there at their very nice facility on Main Street in Kilmarnock. When I first joined a few years ago I was a bit intimidated, but what I've learned is that it is a generous place with nice people and most everyone is either an artist or is supporting the arts (volunteers are either artists or friends of the arts or just interested). They offer classes and in the summer those classes are geared to kids. Although there is a discount to members, the prices are really reasonable for the quality of class and I know those kids have fun.  Both in the spring and fall there are classes for adults that run the gamet....if you look them up and go to their web site you'll learn more http://ralgallery.com/. You never know what it might feel like to start up a new direction in life....try your hand at something creative, spend some time with a great group at the photography group. There's really nothing stopping you!!

Coming a bit full circle I thought I'd let people know that David Fine (who is an agent with River & Rural Realty....the firm behind this web site and blog) has opened a coffee shop in Callao. This is located at the corner in Callao and is open 7 days of the week which is a real plus. (We of the Northern Neck full-time contingent get very tired of trying to figure out when things are open.) They are open 8 to 3 everyday but Sunday. On Sunday they open at 9 and stay open to 3 p.m. On Sunday they also serve breakfast all day for those who are in search of a breakfast place. I really think that this is a terrific idea. Montross has the Art of Coffee. Warsaw has The Daily and now Callao has the Callao Coffee Cafe. What is particularly nice about the Callao location is that it is open on Sunday. I'm pretty sure The Daily isn't and don't know about the Art of Coffee. I think lots of people would like to go out on Sunday, especially after church.

Oh, the other day my clients and I ended up at the Lancaster Tavern. It was Sunday and we rolled up to the CarWash Cafe (which is a nice place to eat) and it was 2 p.m. and they were closing up. Didn't make me happy at all. But with a call to the Lancaster Tavern we were driving up Rt. 3 in pursuit of a late lunch. We weren't disappointed. All of the food was great and the service was very good. Couldn't have been better.

That's about all the rambling for today. Tomorrow is another day and a day to look at how 2016 is holding up in comparison with the previous couple of years. That's coming soon and I'll be very interested. Yes, we already got a bit of a taste of it with my almost three month analysis, but that doesn't tell us the whole year story. We'll see tomorrow.  Have a great Sunday!

 

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, July 31, 2016  9:43:10 AM
A quarter's worth of date--almost 0 Comments Posted

This is a bit of an unorthodox quarter, but I was just wondering about how we were doing and thought I'd look at it in a slightly different way.

We are almost at the end of July and so this is for all of May, all of June and July through the 28th (today) and looking at sales from 2014, 2015 and 2016. This for the four counties of the Northern Neck----Lancaster, Westmoreland, Northumberland and Richmond.

This is a little bit interesting. And because it is odd, I'll do the numbers for the full year-to-date on Monday when we've finished out this month.

For this timeframe (5/1 through 7/28 for respective years) here are the numbers:

2014 (all residential)              94 properties sold              $26.8 million, value of the solds

2015 (all residential)              120 properties sold            $37.9 million, value of the solds

2016 (all residential)              151 properties sold            $40.9 million, value of the solds

All in all looking at the above we see that the numbers of properties have improved each year with 2016 giving us the most sales so far.

In the subset of residential we see that waterfront residential has done the following:

2014 (wf residential)              46 properties sold              $19.7 million, value of the solds

2015 (wf residential)              66 properties sold              $29.2 million, value of the solds

2016 (wf residential)              74 properties sold               $28.7 million, value of the solds

Again, the improving number of sales, but in this case the 74 properties sold in 2016 in this category sold for fewer dollars than the 66 properties that sold in the same time period in 2015. (66 sold in 2015 and 74 sold in 2016. In 2015 the sold value was $29.2 million and this year it is less than that at $28.7.)

Finally land sales

2014 (all land)                        44 properties sold                $5.5 million, value of solds

2015 (all land)                         36 properties sold               $4.5 million, value of solds

2016 (all land)                         28 properties sold               $3.9 million, value of solds

We know that the number of lots for sale in the Northern Neck is greater than 900. We know if we round up the current sales we would end up with approximately 100 lots sold and so that is approximately 9 years' worth of inventory. We've known that land sales have been challenged. Essentially  nothing has changed except that in the last three years worth of sales for this quarter, 2016 has performed the poorest.

We'll see what the full year tells us (to date) on Monday.

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, July 28, 2016  8:44:52 AM
Quick update on Northern Neck Land sales as of July 2016 0 Comments Posted

Here we are in the midst of serious summer. This hot weather is hot!! And all that peculiar cloudy, cool of Sunday and Monday of 4th of July weekend is a distant memory.

The numbers we found today seem to support what we've been seeing all along. Land sales are down. And inventory is very high. Take a look at how we stand as of today!

Sales in the four counties of the Northern Neck, Lancaster, Northumberland, Westmoreland and Richmond. This is for the timeframe January 1 through July 8th for the respective years.

2014      76 sales of all types of land, value $9.9 million

             33 of those sales were waterfront land, value $7.1 million 

2015      68 sales of all types of land, value $6.4 million

             26 sales of waterfront land, value $3.7 million

2016      49 sales of all types of land, value $5.8 million

             15 sales of waterfront land, value $2.6 million

Active properties   960 with a value of $141.7 million (all land)

                           463 waterfront land with a value of $111.2 million

I added the colors above to make it easier to look at each year within each category. For instance with waterfront land there were 33 sales in 2014, 26 sales in 2015 and now in 2016 there are 15 sales. Not a large amount of sales....and 463 active properties that are waterfront land.

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, July 08, 2016  9:26:34 AM
Million dollar moment 0 Comments Posted

Yesterday I posted the overview for sales of residential properties in the four counties of the Northern Neck. The subset was posted as well showing us how the waterfront residential is doing as well. Seems we are holding our own but there's no indication of a surge in sales, just nice steady sales.

Just wanted to touch on one of my pet categories which is the million dollar club. Here is what I found.

1/1 to 7/7 in 2015     there were 7 waterfront homes that sold

1/1 to 7/1 in 2016     there are 2 waterfront homes that have sold

There are now 47 active. Lots of inventory!

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, July 07, 2016  1:18:07 PM
Residential sales data as of July 2016 0 Comments Posted

All residential four counties 1/1 through 7/6

2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 195 216 257 821
$ sold (millions) 51.5 66.3 68.6 341.8
Median sales price 175,000 236,000 220,000 324,000
Median days on market 219 202 223 131

Okay, back on track after a terrible time trying to renew and them moving the domaine name. I can't believe how much technology helps us. I also can't believe how much it hinders us.

Looking at these sales data it kind of looks as you'd expect from all the discussions thus far this year. We are "holding our own" in that we are diong better, sort of, than last year. More sales and more dollars.....just not significantly more dollars. And not a whole lot of extra days on market....so that is pretty good.

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 through 7/6 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 75 111 126 472
$ sold (millions) 34.7 52.1 50.7 270.6
Median sales price 370,000 392,000 373,125 449,000
Median days on market 273 234 251.5 132

Really the same story as the overall residential sales market. More units. Not more dollars in 2016. Reduced median sales price in 2016 and increased median days on market for 2016. In the overall this isn't too bad in that it looks as if we have about two years worth of waterfront inventory. That changes when you start looking at how the different segments are selling. To be continued.

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, July 06, 2016  1:59:21 PM
Details on waterfront residential sales 0 Comments Posted

I decided to do this series of breakdowns on sales because even though I believe that what was posted yesterday is helpful for perspective, it doesn't give a full enough story. I keep looking at the 2015 versus 2016 numbers and know that overall 2015 exceeded 2014. Nonetheless, I do think it is instructive to see where the sales were in 2014 before the "improvement." Here we will look at them broken down into many price categories. That may help.

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 through 6/1
List price up to $200,000 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 7 5 8 18
$ sold (millions) 1.2 734,450* 1.2 3.0
Median sales price 164,000 151,950 173,500 175,000
Median days on market 224 297 189.5 330.5

2016 shows an improvement over 2015. With the same number of sales in 2016 as in 2014 and the same total dollars, the one telling part here is that the median sales price is up and the median days on market are down in 2016. Both of these are good news. With 8 sold and 18 active there isn't a huge amount of inventory. That factor is just 2.25 times the number of actives as sold this year.

*734,450 is the total dollars and not in millions.

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 through 6/1
List price $200,000-$300,000 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 14 14 26 70
$ sold (millions) 3.4 3.41 6.4 18.5
Median sales price 241,750 245,000 250,000 269,250
Median days on market 320 307.5 229 95

Wow! This segment is doing well and that's really what I had thought. I've been talking to people and telling them that this is where the action is. This is where people want to spend their dollars and that under $300,000 is a good segment.  You can see that this is a health one. Twenty six sales this year versus the previous two years with 14. Obviously better total dollars. A slightly increased median sales price and a considerably reduced median days on market. Good.   The factor for this one is 2.69 times solds for the active listings. Not bad.

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 through 6/1
List price $300,000-$400,000 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 11 21 22 96
$ sold (millions) 3.8 7.5 7.5 34.9
Median sales price 345,000 360,000 332,500 359,000
Median days on market 288 296 243 104.5

This segment saw marked improvement in 2015 and in 2016 we're holding our own. The median sales price is a bit lower, but their is an improvement in median days on market with them down to 243.  The actives to solds is 4.36. Not great.... a couple of years inventory here.

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 through 6/1
List price $400,000-$500,000 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 9* 10 15 90
$ sold (millions) 3.9 4.2 6.5 41.2
Median sales price 450,000 413,750 435,000 499,900
Median days on market 184 141 266 115

An improved segment. More sales, improved median sales price in 2016 versus 2015. Ooops, considerably increased median days on market for 2016.  The actives to solds in 2016 ratio is 6 times. Looks like the higher the price, the higher this ratio becomes. Therefore the more competition their is for any seller trying to sell their house. I'd have to say this ends up as mixed. Improved and challenged.

* one of these nine took 1530 days to close. Who knows what the original price was.

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 through 6/1
List price $500,000-$600,000 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 6 11 10 54
$ sold (millions) 3.1 5.8 5.2 30.7
Median sales price 528,000 528,500 518,500 574,000
Median days on market 305 341 230 155

Thus far 2015 was the best year for this segment. Then again one sale and we are only 5 months into the year doesn't tell the story. As you can see the median sales price is slightly decreased in 2016. The real good news is that the median days on market has really dropped.  Our actives to sold in 2016 number is 5.4, so not as large as the previous segment....less challenged in terms of inventory.

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 through 6/1
List price $600,000-$700,000 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 6 7 11 36
$ sold (millions) 3.9 4.3 6.8 23.8
Median sales price 643,000 599,000 625,000 662,500
Median days on market 223.5 372 321 235.5

An improved market in  2016. More sales, more dollars, higher median sales price in 2016 versus 2015 and reduced median days on market versus 2015.   Our actives versus solds figure is 3.27. An improvement on a couple of the categories just before this. This is a better off segment for a number of reasons. Doesn't say that properties are flying off the shelf, but it is the best it has been in a couple of years which probably means since 2009.

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 through 6/1
List price $700,000-$999,999 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 2 9 4 54
$ sold (millions) 1.6 7.1 2.9 45.7
Median sales price 800,000 765,000 717,500 831,000
Median days on market 450 203 298.5 177

2016 shows far fewer sales with 4 and 9 in 2015. Median sales price is down considerably from either of the previous years. 2014 Median Days on Market was horrendous at 450. For 2016 the median days on market have inceased considerably. Our actives to solds in 2016 number is 13.5....that is something to take note of!!

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 through 6/1
List price $1,000,000 plus 2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 4 6 2 43
$ sold (millions) 5.8 7.4 2.9 68.7
Median sales price 1.25 1.2 1.4 1.37
Median days on market 296 79 281 242

We've been looking at this segment off and on. This puts it in perspective with the prevous two years. Obviously this year is more challenged with the fewest sales. Median sales price is up a bit. Median days on market for the solds is way up over the 2015 number of 79 days. Our actives to 2016 sold is 21.5 times. This one has all the others beat, and no one would want to win this category.

Yes, overall the market seems to be improving a bit. Where you are in the market makes a huge difference in the current market. It's good to know where you stand...

--Kathryn Murray, principal broker, MBA

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, June 03, 2016  8:21:21 AM
June 1st update on Northern Neck sales 0 Comments Posted

Back to the numbers and seeing where we stand now that we're in to June. In my book we are really right on track with what we saw at the beginning of last month. More sales in 2016 and fewer dollars. This is true of all residential and also waterfront residential. Ironically with a considerable drop in number of land sales, we have increased dollars for 2016.

Residential sales 1/1 to 6/1
  2015 2016 Active
# sold 166 187 792
$ sold (millions) 51.3 49.8  
Median sales price 237,000 203,000  
Median days on market 205.5 223  

 

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 to 6/1

  2015 2016 Active
# sold 83 94 447
$ sold (millions) 40.5 37.7  
Median sales price 400,000 349,500  
Median days on market 226 250.5  

Million dollar plus waterfront sales have been six (6) in 2015 at this point in the year. There have been two (2) thus far this year, with 42 active.

Dollars from those sales were $7.4 million in 2015 and $2.87 million in 2016.  

Land sales 1/1 to 6/1
  2015 2016 Active
# sold 50 39 441
$ sold (millions) 4.2 4.9  
Median sales price 39,250 49,000  
Median days on market 215.5 265  
View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, June 02, 2016  10:03:15 AM
Rainy grey Sunday 0 Comments Posted

I just can't get too inspired about numbers today. We've already seen last week that we are pretty much holding our own. That's pretty good. 

So I'll just add a bit of information. In the last week 66 new listings came on. There were 37 price changes and 24 sold. Fourteen properties expired. (I think I'm going to start tracking what goes on in total on any given week to see if things accelerate of there are changes. This will be something new).

Then in my favorite category....houses priced at over $1,000,000 here is the latest. In the four counties we look at....Westmoreland, Northumberland, Lancaster and Richmond there are 41 active residential properties priced at $1 million or above. Two have sold thus far this year. In annualized terms we're looking at about ten years' worth of inventory. That looks challenging!! (Twenty one of those 41 are in Lancaster county. 16 are in Northumberland and 4 in Westmoreland. Richmond county has no houses priced at $1,000,000 plus at the moment.)

Anyway, this week will be a study in contrasts. Here we're having a cool grey and rainy weekend and all is very quiet. The week will start out much the same. Next weekend, despite the fact that 1/3 of the houses on this street are still in process because of the tornado (mostly they are empty lots where the houses have been bulldozed and hauled away) this place will be very alive. I expect the campground to fill up and all of the houses that haven't been opened up yet will be filled to capacity. The campground seems to only have big surges at very particular times of the year: Memorial Day weekend, 4th of July weekend, Labor Day weekend and also when the Tri-athalon is here. For such a pretty place, it is a bit of a shame for the owners, but for me it provides a very nice park like setting to take a walk around...when there's no one for me to bother.

So happy Sunday. I hope that you enjoy a quiet day with a bit of catch up time, or reading time.....a time to regroup for the next challenge and also to get ready for next weekend....it will be a great River Weekend!

--Kathryn Murray 804-450-4442

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, May 22, 2016  1:39:50 PM
Quick mid-May sales snapshot 0 Comments Posted

Here we are mid-May. Practically everywhere I go I am asked how the market is doing. As with the last month or two I've been saying that 2015 had been the best year since 2008 when the banking meltdown took place and that 2016 seems to be about even with the 2015 market. As you will see below, that is sort of true and very not true. Sort of true with respect to residential since more residential properties have been sold this year, but at a lower price and with more days on market (median). The "very not true" is shown in land sales.  With 4 and a half months under our belts the land market is beginning to show even less "strength" if one could say that there was any strength recently. You'll see. Take a look at the numbers below. They will give you a quick sense of what is going on in the four counties of the Northern Neck (Lancaster, Northumberland, Westmoreland and Richmond) up to the minute....in mid May.

Residential sales from 1/1 to 5/15 for the respective years

  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 136 151 167 781
$ sold (millions) 34.8 47.3 43.7 323.6
Median sales price 164,500 240,000 200,000 328,300
Median days on market 224.5 204 232 186

This looks pretty encouraging to me in regard to having a good 2016. Having had very strange weather and a cool and often cooler spring, we seem quite on track. You never can trust the anecdotal information so take this with a grain of salt, but I see a lot of motivated to buy people out there and I think 2016 will show an improvement over 2015 for sales and not just in units. (Right now we are down in terms of total dollars, have a lower edian sales price and have higher median days on market. There is no question that 2016 shows a much improved market over 2014.)

Land sales from 1/1 to 5/15 for the respective years

  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 44 43 30 953
$ sold (millions) 6.1 3.9 2.6 140.9
Median sales price 104,500 45,000 36,000 79,000
Median days on market 171.5 265 274.5 388

The numbers really speak for themselves. Goodness, 30 sales thus far this year and 953 actives. Active listings that have median days on market in excess of a year!!!  388 days as the median. The land market is very challenged.

And in the "just because" category I took a look at land sales for properties priced at over $100,000 and this is what I found.

Listings priced at $100,000 plus --number of sold lots thus far in 2016 is 6. The number of active is 389.

Total dollars of the six solds equals $1.8 million.  Total dollars of the active inventory is $115.1 million.

Median sales price of 2016's solds is $228,000, while the actives has $199,000 as the median sales price.

Median days on market of this year's solds is 309 days. Median days on market for the actives is 360.

 

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, May 15, 2016  10:49:50 AM
A tale of 3 great waterfront listings 0 Comments Posted

It is rare that I put up information about our specific listings. I realize that for the most part what people are looking for are the statistics. And statistics aplenty arrive on this board. There will be more in the next couple of days.....so stay tuned.

In the meantime I'd like to introduce you to three properties we currently have listed that I believe are real values at their price points. One is listed at $491,000. That's this first one.  

This beautiful waterfront home near Kinsale has the following attributes: 2500+ sqft, 3 bedroom/3 bath, Great room, Top-of-the-line kitchen appliances, Hardwood floors, 2 master suites, Walk-in closets, Studio or workshop, Decks, Attached & detached garages, Pier, Riprapped shoreline, 200+feet of waterfrontage. Lightly wooded with superb creek views. Privacy, just one neighbor. (MLS#97273)

It would be worth your while if you are looking for this type of house to type in the MLS number and take a good look at the photos. As I say regularly, a seller has to be the best of the best in their price point. This house is one of those that shows the seller has heeded the suggestion. It is a bit of heaven with the greatest kitchen and a large great room space that really has all sorts of space. Walk into a little foyer area that is a seating area. Then move toward the center of the house and there's a place for the dining room table. The living room area is straight in front of you and you can see out to the little studio. On your right is the kitchen. Gorgeous. The main master is on the first floor as well as the guest room. Master bath and closet is high end to say the least. The second master is upstairs with its own private sitting room as well as private bath and walk-in closet. This is a reasonable distance from Washington DC....you don't have to travel the full distance of the Northern Neck. It is a special place.

Next up, a property listed at $649,000. Another great value, and it too is closer to DC (being outside of Montross) and although the street has a handful of houses, this is far from a crowded neighborhood. The house has the best of the best. It needs an owner who can take advantage of it!!

Currioman Bay Waterfront--3300+ sqft (plus walk-out basement ) with 4 bedrooms and 4.5 baths. Large Bright Living Room, Somewhat separate Dining Room, Sitting Room. Spacious, open kitchen with high-end finishes & appliances. Hardwood floors through much of the house.  Large 1st floor Master suite. Large screened porch. Attached & detached garages. Pier. Boat House. Sand Beach. Riprap. Extraordinary views.  (MLS#98544)

Just as I said about the first property, this owner has taken into account what it takes to sell and so this house is priced wonderfully. Where can you get two acres, incredible views, house that is 3300 square feet as well as a basement? Attached two car, detached one car......it just goes on and on. If you need this much space and want a house in great condition and very tastefully done.....come see. This is worth it!

Last but not least is an exceptional waterfront estate which is truly boater's and a horse lover's paradise!

10 Acre Deep Waterfront, Yecomico River, Equestrian Estate   5,000+ sqft Residence with the Best of the Best Building Components. The house is large, elegant, beautifully sited on the property. Extraordinary views. Pier complex with great water depth. There's a Detached Guest House which is quite spacious and might serve many purposes including mother-in-law's suite. With one bedroom, a study/office and one and half baths, it is a very nice addition to the house square footage. An Oversized Detached Garage has 6 bays for boats or cars. There's a large area at the end of the detached garage that is perfect for storing hay and feed. Custom Built Barn with 10 stalls and washroom & Fenced Pasture. There's much more to see when you come look this great house over. $1,350,000 reduced to $1,299,000  (MLS#97975) 

Take a look at any of these that might suit your needs and then call us and come see. These three properties show what savvy sellers are willing to sell excellent homes for. These are real values.

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, May 03, 2016  11:33:06 AM
What's happening with waterfront residential 0 Comments Posted

Here are the sales of waterfront homes broken out in $200,000 increments. These charts compare the timeframe of 1/1 to 4/27 for 2015 and 2016. Then we see what is active in that same category. This is for the four counties of the Northern Neck--Richmond, Lancaster, Northumberland and Westmoreland. There really is something to learn taking a look at this breakout!

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 to 4/27
Up to $200,000 2015 2016 Active
# sold 3 5 20
$ sold (millions) 457,500* 817,500* 3.45
Median sales price 160,000 170,000 177,500
Median days on market 107 261 293

This segment doesn't look too bad. More sales. Higher median sales price. True, median days on market aren't great. Not too huge an inventory.

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 to 4/27
$200,000-$400,000 2015 2016 Active
# sold 26 27 164
$ sold (millions) 8.5 7.7 53.3
Median sales price 350,000 290,000 329,750
Median days on market 301.5 259 100

More sales (very slightly....just one). Reduced dollars and reduces median sales price. Reduced median days on market. Plenty of inventory!!

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 to 4/27
$400,000 to $600,000 2015 2016 Active
# sold 14 12 128
$ sold (millions) 6.7 5.6 63.5
Median sales price 492,500 460,000 479,000
Median days on market 183 256.5 190

Slightly fewer solds this year. Fewer dollars. Lower median sales price this year. Considerably higher median days on market. Lots and lots of inventory!

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 to 4/27
$600,000 to $800,000 2015 2016 Active
# sold 9 12 64
$ sold (millions) 5.9 7.8 44.9
Median sales price 600,100 642,750 695,000
Median days on market 372 348 247

More sales. More dollars. Higher median sales price....all for 2016. Reduced median days on market for 2016 as well. That's pretty good news. And although there's plenty of inventory, it is a much better amount than the previous two segments. 

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 to 4/27

$800,000 to $1,000,000 2015 2016 Active
# sold 4 0 29
$ sold (millions) 3.3 0 26.2
Median sales price 805,500 0 895,000
Median days on market 214 0 207

This one make me take a bit of notice. No sales in 2016 at this price point. Twenty nine active properties. That is noteworthy.

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 to 4/27
$1,000,000 plus 2015 2016 Active
# sold 3 2 42
$ sold (millions) 4.1 2.9 67.5
Median sales price 1.33 1.44 1.38
Median days on market 53 281 262.5

Two sales in 2016 versus 3 in 2015 for this period. Median sales price is higher. Median days on market is much much higher for 2016. Forty-two actives in this category says....wow....lots and lots and lots of competition. Then again I didn't break it out so the $1 million to $1.5 might be a reasonable category and anything in excess of $2 million may be hugely challenged. Perhaps I'll better define this at a later date.

 

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, April 28, 2016  2:29:42 PM
Northern Neck sales in 2016: Mostly holding our own 0 Comments Posted

As we've seen in recent blogs it looks as if the 2016 market is quite similar to the 2015, at least as far as residential sales go. Below are statistics on the four counties of the Northern Neck, Lancaster, Richmond, Westmoreland and Northumberland. Yes, pretty similar sales. 

Residential sales 1/1 through 4/26
  2015 2016 Active
# sold 120 122 762
$ sold (millions) 35.8 32.2 321.7
Median sales price 219,500 182,750 329,000
Median days on market 212.5 242 196

120 sales in 2015 and 122 in 2016. Pretty darn similiar. There's a drop in the overall dollars of $3.5 million and the median sales price has dropped. Median days on market have increased. Lots of actives and a considerably higher median sales price for the actives than for the solds. Then again let's look at that relationship when looking at waterfront. That really skews things since there are many many million dollar properties in that category.

Waterfront Residential sales 1/1 through 4/26 (subset of above)
  2015 2016 Active
# sold 57 56 433
$ sold (millions) 28.0 23.7 253.9
Median sales price 399,000 366,250 449,990
Median days on market 226 265 197

57 sold in 2015 and 56 sold in 2016. Again, very similar sales. Again a drop in dollars in 2016 to the tune of $4.3 million. The median sales price has dropped in 2016 and the median days on the market has increased. It is true, as expected, that the relationship between the median sales price with the recent solds ($366,250) and the actives ($449,990) is not as badly disconnected. There is a better relationship. The actives have a much lower median days on the market, but I'm betting that a whole lot of waterfront properties have just come on the market or come back on the market and that is why that number reads at 197.

Land sales 1/1 through 4/26
  2015 2016 Active
# sold 36 23 944
$ sold (millions) 2.7 1.8 136.8
Median sales price 38,300 21,500 72,250
Median days on market 248.5 284 390

Land. The story of struggles that have been going on since 2008 really. There were some moments when investors or speculators of some sort saw an opening and went after land. Sometimes they were absolutely right and they got some good deals. Right now the market is what one might call very very slow. 36 sales in this period in 2015 and now only 23 for the same period. Median sales price is down. Median days on market are up and the number of properties on the market....944....in relationship to the 23....it is huge. Also, median days on market for the actives is over a year. That is a long time and that is the median!

 

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, April 26, 2016  7:04:22 AM
Water view and water access homes 0 Comments Posted

Our MLS system allows us to enter listings in a number of ways. There are waterfront properties (either residential or land) as well as water view as well as water access as well as non-waterfront. What ideally this would mean is that any property that is waterfront is put in as such. That works out pretty well. That is clear cut. It is the other designations that can get a bit cloudy. (For residential waterfront the letter that precedes the MLS number is "R.")

Waterview is pretty clear cut too....mostly. What that designation doesn't tell you in and of itself is whether there is anything that comes with that view. It may be that the property in question obviously is not waterfront, has a view but does not have any special amenities associated with it. That's certainly fine, although a lot of the time those who want a water view also want the amenities. So look carefully at a waterview listing to determine all of its attributes. (A residential listing that has been put in as a waterview has a "V" that precedes the MLS number and "A" precedes the access MLS number.)

Water access is just that, water access. In my book it means that there is private access to water amenities. That isn't the way that everyone in our MLS sees it and I have seen listings where the access is a public boat ramp at the end of the street. Again, read the listing and understand just what the property has to offer.

With that bit of a preface I decided to look at how water view and water access properties have been selling in the Northern Neck. This isn't a category that I write about very much. This may be helpful to some of you looking for property. I hope so. Four counties of the Northern Neck, including Richmond, Lancaster, Northumberland and Westmoreland.

Water view & water access residential
  Sold 2015 Sold 1/1/2016 to 4/12/2016 Active property
# sold 46 11 81
$ sold (millions) 7.5 1.6 16.0
Median sales price 148,000 149,500 179,000
Median days on market 146 243 213

In 2015 the solds were selling with median days on market of 146. Now, thus far in 2016 that number has increased to 243. Also the active properties are now with a median of 213. The number of properties sold thus far in 2016 suggests that we should be able to keep up with 2015. Obviously we have a fair number of actives at 81, although in the scheme of things....a bit more than two years' worth of inventory is pretty reasonable for around here.

We're selling. We still have plenty to sell. If my experience is any gauge, the prices on many of those properties that have been on for a while are quite good. In Glebe Harbor, a subdivision that has a large pool, tennis courts, sand beaches and a great boat ramp, I have a house that is a fairly recent Cape. It is three bedroom and three bath. Nice open floor plan in the kitchen, living and dining area.....$149,000 (185 S.Glebe). The seller has brought the price down to the point where this would be a great deal for someone looking to be in a waterfront subdivision who didn't want to spend a lot of money and would have newer construction. You never know....this might be the one for you!!!

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, April 12, 2016  11:42:19 AM
Waterfront residential sales in the last 6 months 0 Comments Posted

Appraisers need to look at recent comps (sold properties) in order to do their work. Knowing that three months back is preferred, with 6 months sometimes being an option, I took a look at how many properties have sold at a given price point in the last 6 months. (For anyone who hasn't been on this site in a few days I did put up other new information just two days ago).

Here are waterfront residential sales for the four counties of the Northern Neck from October 1 of 2015 to March 31 of 2016....our six month window.

Waterfront residential sales 10/1/2015 to 3/31/2016
Listing price # sold $ sold (millions) Median sales proce Active listings
Up to $200,000 10 1.5 169,950 20
200,000 to 300,000 26 6.3 248,750 54
300,000 to 400,000 32 10.7 329,500 84
400,000 to 500,000 12 5.2 432,500 75
500,000 to 600,000 8 4.1 500,000** 44
600,000 to 800,000 14 9.0 637,750 67

800,000 plus            4 sold    5.2                     1.265                         65                 (as you can tell I miscalculated on this chart, but this works!)

** I looked at that number and thought, how could that be? Went back and double checked and yes, it is true that it is the median sales price. If you look at those 8 sales half of them are less than 500,000 and half are more.

For the up to $200,000 there have been 10 sold and there are 20 on the market. That isn't bad. Not bad at all. A reasonable inventory given what is selling.

$200,000 to $300,000 is really in the same boat with 26 sold and 54 active at this moment. Nice ratio.

$300,000 to $400,000 with 32 sold and 84 on the market. Not quite as good a ratio, but not bad.

$400,000 to $500,000. 12 properties have sold and there are 75 on the market.....quite a bit more challenged, I'd say.

$500,000 to $600,000. 8 properties have sold and 44 on the market.

$600,000 to $800,000. 14 sold and 67 on the market.

$800,000 plus. 4 sold and 65 on the market.

Makes "waterfront residential sales" a bit more clear when you look at it this way. More reasonably priced properties have more of an audience and that makes sense.

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, April 05, 2016  2:33:24 PM
1st quarter residential Northern Neck sales 2016 0 Comments Posted
Just confirming what we pretty much already knew from the last check of sales data. Although we may be ahead in numbers of residential property sales, we do lag behind in terms of dollars. You'll see. 

This is just a bit of information for the four counties of the Northern Neck—Richmond, Westmoreland, Northumberland and Lancaster. First are the total numbers (all residential). The second chart shows waterfront residential sales as a subset. Then I have a couple of numbers for waterfront solds up to $500,000 and over $500,000. Does sort of sum up where we are.

All residential sales 1/1 to 3/31
  2015 2016
# sold 91 94
$ sold (millions) 28.2 24.9
Median sales price 330,000 180,000
Median days on market 230 230

2016 has more sales, lesser dollars and much lower median sales price. Ironically or rather coincidentally there are the same median days on market.

Waterfront residential sales (subset) 1/1 to 3/31
  2015 2016
# sold 44 41
$ sold (millions) 22.9 17.9
Median sales price 408,500 339,000
Median days on market 237 261

Fewer numbers of houses sold in 2016 in the waterfront category when compared with 2015. Fewer dollars and considerably lower median sales price. An increased median days on market number.

And in the category of "just because" here are the numbers of sales of waterfront properties up to $500,000 in 2016. A total of 27 have sold with a dollar value of $7.64 million. Compare that 27 sold for the first quarter of 2016 with the number active--227. That's a pretty big difference.

Then looking at the over $500,000 listings, there have been 14 sold to the tune of $10.3 million and 175 are active on the market. Another slight difference.

We're moving along and perhaps sales are flat in relationship to 2015. 2015 was the best year we experienced since the aftermath of 2008. Let's hope that 2016 does improve on last year. Time will tell.

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, April 03, 2016  9:17:33 AM
Quick market assessment on March 23 0 Comments Posted

Earlier in the year I noted that we were lagging behind in sales in 2016 (compared to the same timeframe in 2015). Hoping that the bad weather was mostly the cause for that I wanted to look at the more broad brush perspective on where we stand at the moment. Truly late in March isn't exactly a clear indicator of what will occur for the balance of the year. Still we're almost 1/4th of the way through the year and this is how things are looking today. It may well be telling us something.

The numbers below are for the four counties of the Northern Neck: Westmoreland, Northumberland, Lancaster and Richmond. This is for the dates of 1/1 through 3/23 for the respective years. Also included are the "Actives" for each category.

All residential properties, 1/1 through 3/23

  2015 2016 Active
# sold 77 81 714
$ sold (Millions) 22.6 21.8 304.7
Median sales price 219,000 180,000 329,050
Median days on market 215 223 224.5

These numbers provide us with a mixed result. If you think the number of properties sold is the key indicator, then 2016 is an improvement (81 versus 77). One needs to balance that fact (4 properties more in 2016) with the fact that the median sales price is down in 2016 and as a result so are the total dollars. The median days on market is up slightly in 2016 but nothing that is cause for concern. There's still plenty of inventory and the median sales price for the actives is considerably above what is selling (329,050 active, versus 180,000 for 2016 sold). So much as the article in yesterday's Times Dispatch focused on how little inventory there is and how much demand (this from the National Association of Realtors) we all know that each market is a local phenomena. Our market does not have a tight inventory. Our market has a generous inventory....and that probably is an understatement.

All land properties, 1/1 through 3/23

  2015 2016 Active
# sold 27 16 868
$ sold (Millions) 2.2 1.2 129.2
Median sales price 39,000 37,250 77,900
Median days on market 226 274.5 416

The residential market looks to be about on the same track in 2016 as it was in 2015. That isn't good news, but it isn't bad news either. In regard to the land inventory I'd say that there is a pretty clear indicator that this year shows a slowdown.....With just 16 properties sold in the almost three months and 868 out there as active, well that's quite a hurdle for  a seller. The number of properties sold and the dollars sold is down in 2016. Also down is the median sales price and the median days on market has climbed considerably from 2015. Land is still challlenged. We knew that. We just didn't have the latest numbers and now we do. Back to that phrase you've seen before...."you have to be the best of the best in your specific category of land sale in order to be in the running." Just being vaguely on the market without understanding your position and your odds is not effective in my mind. Too much competition.

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, March 23, 2016  8:50:54 AM
Waterfront land 0 Comments Posted

Lots of calls are coming in from owners of waterfront land who potentially want to sell. Can't blame them since it has been a buyers market for years. And if this is true for homes, well it is even more true for land. The crux of the problem of selling land is simply that "if you can find a home you are satisfied with, it is much more cost efficient to buy something already built than to build." That's really just the way it is.

Given that we are still in a buyers market for residential properties, land is being hit even harder. This stall has been going on now for a long time. It feels as if it is time for that property to fly off the shelf. After all "they aren't making anymore of it." Well, no, they aren't making any more waterfront property but as you will see below, we certainly have a lot of waterfront land and there are many sellers who have allowed their listings to drop off the market and haven't come back. I believe the numbers below are considerably unrepresentative of the real inventory that we have.

As a for instance as to how convoluted this all is in terms of sales and values, etc.....I have a family member who asked me to assist with a waterfront property that we both agreed was over-assessed. I did my research and I knew the property very well. During the timeframe when I could discuss this with the county I went and met with them and handed over my data, and explained the property thoroughly. I thought, why in the world should my family member be saddled with this albatross in terms of excessive taxes if the property would never sell at anywhere near that price? The reassessment arrived and was thankfully  one that took into account the reality of the market......the assessment was cut in half. Still doesn't make this perfect. The property wouldn't sell for the now half-original assessed value, but it is closer to something that reflects the market. So for anyone who is relying on your assessed value to tell you the truth of the situation, know that it may or may not be a gauge.....it can be misleading, sometimes very.

We hear a fair number of "feel good" stories about improved real estate markets while watching the news. When we hear this news we think,  hmmm, it must have some sort of trickle down effect here on the Northern Neck. Well it does and we are fortunate to have an improving market....at least through 2015 since 2016 has started out slow. Generally though, those feel good stories are not our story. We are doing better but we still have a bunch of inventory.

Just recently an agent and I visited with a potential seller. Their expectations of their property were way out of line with reality. As best I can tell they have been talking to many Realtors waiting for someone to tell them what they would like to hear. It really doesn't work that way. I've said it before and I do mean it, it would be far more pleasant to agree with sellers and do their bidding, but if I did that all the time I would be working for free. Really, I wouldn't sell anything since there would be no reflection of the actual market.

Let's get to the numbers. I'll start with the data I just pulled this morning. This is for active waterfront properties in the four counties of the Northern Neck as of this morning, March 13th.

There are 393 active listings. This represents $98.2 million in asking prices. The median sales price is $170,000 and the median days on market is 392. Almost 400 waterfront lots on the market. That's a lot of lots and you'll see why both buyers and sellers should take this into account. See below where I break out the data by county.

Waterfront land 3/4/2015 to 3/4/2016 Richmond county
  Solds Actives
# sold 1 7
$ sold  57,000 785,450
Median sales price 57,000 99,000
Median days on market 102 775

Look at the median days on market for the actives.....almost 800!! That is a market of properties that is having a very hard time.

Waterfront land 3/4/2015 to 3/4/2016 Lancaster county
  Solds Actives
# sold 12 113
$ sold (millions) 2.6 47.4
Median sales price 209,000 269,000
Median days on market 251 383

Looking at the ones that sold, there was one that was on the market for 3108 days. It was originally put on the market for $319,000 and sold for $100,000. That certainly tells us something. Most of the other stories are not like that one, but it is worth noting. Also, we have slightly less than ten years' worth of inventory in this county.

Waterfront land 3/4/2015 to 3/4/2016 Westmoreland county
  Solds Actives
# sold 9 66
$ sold (millions) 1.2 14.0
Median sales price 138,500 190,000
Median days on market 308 389

Right around seven years' worth of inventory here. Over a year for the median days on market of the on-the-market properties.

Waterfront land 3/4/2015 to 3/4/2016 Northumberland county
  Solds Actives
# sold 21 203
$ sold (millions) 2.7 35.4
Median sales price 95,000 135,000
Median days on market 472 438

Not quite ten years' worth of inventory here, but close. Lots of days on market both for the solds and the actives.

Looking at these numbers doesn't mean that you can't sell land. This doesn't mean that a buyer won't find a piece of property that would be the best place for their dream home. It simply says that unless you have a very well priced piece of property for sale it simply is not going to sell in this market. Anyone selling should very closely examine the market and see if they are willing/able to sell at the prices that really are the going prices.

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, March 13, 2016  10:19:22 AM
Naylors Beach Tornado, a close-by perspective 0 Comments Posted

This is one of the many voices of those who experienced and continue to experience the tornado of last Wednesday evening, February 24th. Not to say that this was the worst of it on Rappa Point Road, although horrific, just to say that we were here that night.

My husband and I live in Naylors. His association with the place goes back almost 60 years when his relatives bought down here and the first cottages were built. I am a relative newcomer and have lived here for 15 years. As everyone here says, there is nothing remotely like this that has happened to the area. Nothing.

Wednesday was a reasonable day. Having returned from visiting my parents and arriving Tuesday evening, Wednesday was a catch-up day. With the morning TV weatherman letting me know that strong thunderstorms were headed our way, my timing for errands and bit of food shopping changed to early afternoon (rather than evening) and so all was set with my mailings out the door and food for that evening packed in the refrigerator.

I had my first inkling that the rest of the day might be different when one of my husband's cousins from Richmond called asking if we knew about the tornado warnings and watches. Not me. I work on my computer and was doing paperwork and I didn't know that there were conditions developing that might bring us a tornado...lots of cells moving in our direction....obviously including Richmond, but our location as well.

My husband had had minor surgery in Richmond earlier in the day, and around the time of this call--about 3:30, was nowhere to be found in terms of picking up a cellphone call. His cousin wanted to make sure he knew about this. After the call I turned on the TV and was following the movements of the storm cells for about half an hour during which time I caught up with my husband and let him know about the potential dangers. We also discussed his getting home and which way to come. We have what we call the "front way" which entails taking Naylors Beach Road and passing over the little bridge--that is slightly shorter. The "back way" requires a little more travel and much as it is a beautiful country road, it doesn't hold a candle to traveling the winding roads, passing the silos and then having the view open up to include the Rappahannock River and Catpoint Creek. It's funny how you come to take it all for granted....the beauty, the peace. We agreed that the back way was the best bet since the water was almost up to the bottom of all the piers out front on the Rappahannock and that really is a good indicator of how much water is over the little causeway before the bridge.

My husband arrived home around 5:45 and we watched the continuous coverage of the storm until we couldn't watch anymore. Some part of the storm had come so close that there was no more satellite TV. I had already begun collecting candles and matches and flashlights and pulling out a couple of oil lanterns that might be necessary. We knew we would take the dogs into the little bathroom that has a rather small window and is on the back of the house. Since that would be rather close quarters even for just the four of us, the cat was relegated to the small storage room next door so that we could all manage.

The cellphone warning of a watch is certainly something that grabs your attention. With that screaching noise we knew we had to move into the most sheltered area. The watch came perhaps a bit before 7, so with a collection of blankets, pillows, flashlights and most especially the emergency radio we moved into the little bathroom. We listened to the updates and the calls in to the local radio station. The dogs thought we were crazy because we were doing something so uncomfortable (certainly what was wrong with the sofa in the living room?), so I think they were worried about us--they did finally settle down. There were moments when we experienced lots of lightning and there were sheets of rain and there was certainly wind. Unlike many others, we heard nothing particularly different....perhaps it was the radio that covered up that noise, perhaps it was the path and we weren't close enough. I don't know. We didn't think it was nearby.

The information coming in about the Tappahannock disaster was coming in slowly but surely and we were shocked as more and more reports surfaced. Included too was the entire shut down at the Mount Landing bridge (a site we can see directly across the river from our home). In the midst of the many calls into the radio station about the Deshay area located up Airport Road, there was one brief mention of emergency services having pulled a person out of their house at Rappa Point. All of this information was getting our attention, but that report really did. About a half an hour later we were out of the watch area and we moved into the rest of the house. There had been some noise of vehicles going by on the road but we weren't putting two and two together. The electricity had gone out almost immediately when we moved for the best shelter, so we lit candles and lamps and weren't completely in the dark.

The weather was so unusually warm that the house was almost 70 degrees when the electric went out. Given the extreme wind that continued all night we made no efforts to get the generator out. Next morning the indoor temperature had dipped to about 60....very nice. 

Shortly after 7:45 pm on Wednesday when the watch expired, I received a couple of phone calls and a picture of what had happened started to emerge. None of this first-hand and I couldn't believe what I was hearing and my husband was even more skeptical. But the rumour of two houses being destroyed, evolved into more houses being destroyed. The stories of persons from two households having come from their homes safely but that the homes were basically gone....that was what we heard. Continued activity was up and down the street with emergency vehicles, and lights out at the bridge entrance-- members of the Fire Department were walking the street. What I learned a bit later that evening is they hadn't realized we were here. After the second watch expired (one that kept us in the little room until about 9), they saw the candlelight and came to the door. They asked if we were okay and I said, yes. They asked if we'd experienced any damage and I told them I didn't think so. One of the firemen accompanied me to the water side of the house and we saw that all was intact and he commented on how lucky we were. I asked a bit about what was down the way and he confirmed a couple of houses had been lost, but we left it at that. It was all beyond shocking.

That evening I was also told that we were on lock down. That no one would be allowed in and no one would be allowed out. That this was now a secure site. This sounded really good to me. It was great that they were taking such good care of us. 

Over the years I've walked this area extensively. I've walked and taken photos and have been the earliest of early birds. It all feels so much like home. That evening I knew I was so thankful to be sitting in my home and that much as I was curious there was no way I'd go outside again until the light of day. I did have a need to be out in the early morning--two neighbors who live in Richmond and have second homes down the way asked if I'd check on the homes for them and report back. I said I would.

Hardly sleeping because the wind was so powerful all night, I got up a bit before 6 and kept watch down toward the bridge and to the part of our road that hooks around and runs parallel to Catpoint Creek. It all seemed out of kilter. I thought, hmmmm, those must be some sort of vehicles parked that look so out of place, but I was wrong. As the dawn broke it could be seen that the treeline had been totally ravaged with trees crushed or hanging broken or pushed over. Thrown against the treeline was a huge amount of debris...to some extent small mountains of debris. It was enough to take your breath away. The field in front of the houses down at the other end was an explosion of bits and pieces of things....something you would never expect to see.

Grabbing some warm clothes and a cell phone and a camera, I told my husband I was off to look at the damaged homes and would be back soon. My constant companions, my two dogs, came with me for this world is their back yard and they certainly wouldn't let me out the door alone. Walking down the road I found that I couldn't go very far. There were heaps of debris in the road and you had to step out to the field. There were downed power lines, but I knew we didn't have any power. I avoided them anyway. It was so extreme that I almost lost my resolve to check on the houses I had promised to look at. I angled out further in the field away from the road, and then I could see. I called one individual and said, I think maybe you are partially okay and then I realized that no, the house next to his was somewhat standing and that his was pretty much totally gone. He was shocked and relayed this information to his wife. I didn't stay on the phone long for what else was there to say? I think too that this scene was overwhelming. The second party I called a couple of hours later and he said he knew his garage was in rough shape since he'd seen a photo. I said, don't you know about the house....he said, no and I told him that it was totally destroyed.

(The people from out of town wanted to come and immediately. I can understand that but I told them that this was a secure site and that until the authorities determined otherwise, no one would be allowed in. There were a handful that came early and were able to get in because the place wasn't completely secure, but that changed probably by 10 a.m. And because there were so many who wanted to see what was had happened here, the sheriff's department eventually cut off traffic over the bridge and turned cars around that came up at Strangeway so that the location remained secure.)

After calling the neighbor in Richmond I looked back to the main road where a deputy was parked to oversee the situation and I thought I'd go to talk to him. I just felt so shocked. While walking across the field a truck pulled up and out of the truck came three men. One was the man who survived in a first floor closet....and he had brought his son, and the other was a man who with his wife had gone into the crawl space of their house only to find that eventually it was raining down there. Their roof was mostly gone, and much of the water side of their house was destroyed. That was after the 7:30 or so tornado came and changed the street forever.  Hugs were exchanged and few words. One of the objectives was to "look for the cat." Others were simply to see what could be seen. Another truck pulled up about the same time, and that gentleman was a son of one of the owners. We marched back. Comments were made about "there's some flooring from the second floor." This remarked about a piece some 100 feet from where the house had stood. There was a huge trailer that was contorted and almost flattened against the trees. Piles of debris were all along our left. And there was something out in the field that seemed to tell the story almost better than anything else. It is an inboard/outboard powerboat (don't hold me to this exactly since I'm not good with boats) and easily 24 or more feet long (February 29 revision....the boat is 22 feet and weighs a ton. Now ask me if I always used to catch really big fish.) It had flipped off its trailer and sailed into the field....it probably travelled 50 or 75 feet out....maybe more. Powerful wind. Incredibly powerful wind. And no one was hurt here.

We walked in. We saw the houses up close and personal, but really what we saw was unbelievable destruction. One of the men said, be careful of the nails and yes, I could see that among the rubble were pieces of flooring that had been ripped apart and there were nails sticking up. Then I noticed the glass. Then I realized, this is crazy, I'm walking around with two dogs in a war zone acting as if nothing further could happen. I'd done what I need to do. I'd seen all I needed to see. I needed to go home. So I walked up along the water side of the houses where there was far less debris. Yes, some destroyed waterfront boathouse type structures or decks built into the waterfront area, but not the kind of rubble that comes from houses with glass and nails and shattered items in heaps. I had taken photos coming in on the walk. I took photos as I walked out...these of the waterside of a number of houses. But not so many. It almost felt obscene.....to be telling a story that was so painful about people's homes who really hadn't had a moment to absorb the shock. I later put photos on a Facebook page with an explanation and to let people know that we were fine, but those photos were ones that others have taken. It gives this a bit of distance.

Thursday was a day when all the various services did great jobs. The Fire Department, the Sheriff's office with deputies, Northern Neck Electric, the inspectors, and I'm sure the gas company. The key reason for keeping everyone out was to make sure that all safety issues were addressed. They checked for gas leaks. They cut power to the far end of the street and returned ours by about 1 p.m.. We only had our generator up for a couple of hours and then were back with full electric and able to function. Although it seems simple to recount the list of activities....it really wasn't simple and we were just bystanders...there were vehicles in here for many purposes including heavy equipment--they had to clear out the road down to the end. They cleared the road so that Friday the families and friends of those households that had experienced the damage could come in. Clear instructions were given through the sheriff's office and communicated throughout this little community of how this would happen. Hard hats, heavy boots and gloves, 5 people per household and see if the insurance adjuster might be able to come. Really, so much happened on Thursday and it was constant. Phone calls and emails came our way from so many directions. It was an extremely long day and we were mostly in the house and everything went in slow motion.

That evening we were told that the National Guard would be there Friday to assist with the work of looking for personal items and perhaps to begin some clean up. And that was exactly what happened. Friday morning I went to check on the protocol of how we could get in and out of the area and was told that with our driver's licenses we'd be fine. Also, that after I returned late in the day after spending the day at a volunteer job I do once a month, there might well be no further review of those coming and going. It sounded quite reasonable and my return Friday late was just that. 

My husband told me the activity Friday was constant. That people were up and down the street all day. I had seen a handful of them walking in with National Guardsmen and deputies before I left. I could feel what the day would be like early that morning and was glad that I wouldn't be there for all of it. Even as I pulled in at around 5:30 pm I saw the brother of one of the owners driving his truck out. Pulled behind on a trailer was the furniture probably from the living room. That house was the one I had thought was somewhat okay. I now realize that it is highly unlikely that it can be saved. 

Saturday brought people back to continue working on their homes to salvage things....if there was more they could do. Huge dumpsters now line the streets. Heavy equipment is passing the house. There is much going on. People were stopping on the main road to look and so once again, at least for a while, that section of road was closed off so that no one could come through and there wasn't potential for an accident.

I think in all of this what is most shocking is how arbitrary this all has been. That 1500 feet down the road a huge boat was flipped up and flew into the field. Here, where we really weren't totally prepared, my kayak sat on the deck on the waterside and didn't move an inch.

There are many reports that are filtering through. There are many many people affected. There are many signficant structures that have been destroyed or are in very bad shape. There are many stories of people who have been hospitalized....many who have lost everything. It is a case where we look at each other and ask....did this really happen? Did it really happen here? It did and we are coping and I can't imagine really what my neighbors must be going through since the physical work ultimately won't be as hard as the thinking.

My experience was hugely fortunate. And all the emergency sevices personnel were spectacular in their working with us.

One thing I learned from this is that my friends and family....those who are important in my life are IMPORTANT IN MY LIFE. That there is no reason to take that lightly. I believe we all feel that now....more than ever.

 

 

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, February 28, 2016  8:35:32 AM
Numbers that are up to date for Northern Neck real estate 0 Comments Posted

I started in on this thinking that 2016 is going to be a busy year. I still think it is going very well, but sometimes a firm has deals pull together and has all sorts of action and sometimes they don't. You'd think there'd be rhyme or reason to this, but you can't always explain it. From what has been happening here, I'd say this is going to be quite a year.

With that preface I show you that the overall numbers below that don't exactly match my current sense of the market....they fall short. Still, people are interested in our local real estate, properties are going under contract and we all know that a sample that isn't quite 2 months' duration isn't a perfect sample.

These numbers are for the four counties of the Northern Neck...Westmoreland, Northumberland, Lancaster and Richmond.

Jan. 1 through Feb. 24 All residential (4 counties)
  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 47 53 37 682
$ sold (millions) 11.2 17.7 10.7 285.9
Median sales price 145,000 255,000 205,000 300,000
Median days on market 239 196 226 247

With fewer sales thus far in 2016 the one good point is that the median sales price is up considerably from 2014. Granted, it is lower than last year. Lots of inventory here.

Jan. 1 through Feb. 24 waterfront residential (4 counties)
  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 14 27 16 368
$ sold (millions) 7.3 14.7 7.5 224.1
Median sales price 454,000 430,650 326,000 472,000
Median days on market 304.5 215 256.6

260

Again, reduced sales in 2016 when compared to the beginning of 2015. Considerably lower median sales price than either of the preceding years. And median days on market are up from last year. I'm just hoping this is not representative of the year.....and I really don't think it is.

There are 29 waterfront properties Pending or Under Contract at this moment. They will mostly be closing in the next month and that will help these numbers. I'll be sure to let you know.

Jan. 1 through Feb. 24 All land (4 counties)
  2014 2015 2016 Active
# sold 10 17 10 835
$ sold (millions) 1.2 1.3 462,500* 126.7
Median sales price 102,250 45,000 20,750 74,900
Median days on market 127.5 275 145 479

I thought about doing the subset for waterfront land for this period, but looking at 10 sales in 2016 and that the median sales price is $20,750 we know that there haven't been any big waterfront lot sales to date. Within the next week or so I will look more closely at land sales and see where they have been taking place, and what kind....will probably break down a full year and see how the chips fall geographically and price-wise.

It is time for land to start selling....prices have been coming down. There are some great opportunities. 

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, February 24, 2016  11:38:35 AM
A bit missing in action 0 Comments Posted

We all need a bit of a break from time to time. A week's visit with my parents with my sister flying in to join the group is a nice break. As with many, though, you never quite get completely away from work given cell phones and computers, and that is most true of a Realtor.

I've not written up recent statistics, but will do so tomorrow sometime...it will be my first day home. What I have noticed during my time away is the amount of traffic on this web site. It is really up....really showing a lot of interest. Also, requests by phone have changed markedly in the last ten days. This is a good sign. This says a great springtime is coming and the Northern Neck is the perfect easy destination for all sorts of people living in big city environments. You should come and see what I mean. Call us sometime soon and we'll help you embark on finding the perfect home here!

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, February 23, 2016  7:33:16 AM
The appraisal, a key part of most deals 0 Comments Posted

The appraisal is an important part of most deals. It can be make or break related to financing. Without an appraisal that "comes in" meaning it supports the contract price, then a deal may go into a tailspin. With a deal that has an appraisal which isn't to the value of the property the options are for the buyer to bring more down payment to the deal, or the seller to bring their price down. Neither of these circumstances are the favorite way for people to respond to a deal that may fall apart, but they allow the opportunity for the sale to go through.

Some people don't think too much about the appraisal. This is both true on the buyer and the seller side. These days having a price that reflects an awareness of where a house would appraise is very important. Much as we would wish that it wasn't true, most properties that are selling are financed. So pricing appropriately is important. Also, by and large if a Realtor is savvy about values a buyer should come to the table knowing pretty much that a property will appraise.

The appraisal process is complicated in the Northern Neck. Really, what is there that is similar to the property in question? There are so many variables. Just in a "waterfront" residential property there are many many variables. There is the view, the water depth, how many feet of waterfrontage, the type of frontage in terms of an easy quick walk to the water or a steep trip that covers a lot of distance. Is there sand beach, is it marshy? Is there a pier, and if so how deep is the water? Is there a limiting depth to the entrance of the creek? So if you were an appraiser, how would you place value on these differences? If you were an appraiser who was coming from somewhere out of the area (but was approved by the appraisal management system that keeps appraisers at arms length from the mortgage companies) how would you know about many of these aspects? Would you be knowledgable about whether a creek was easy to get in and out of? Would you know a lot of key components to this property? The answer is that it may be someone who isn't local wouldn't know these things. So here we are....just at the start, we haven't even really looked at the house and we have a lot of different interpretations.

Location is important. Type of neighborhood may be important, but the basics for appraisal tend to be the square footage, age and the condition of the home...and how it would be used. Really an appraisal is an estimate of what the "average" person would pay for a property with this sort of utility value. (Once upon a time I went through the education process and passed the exam to become an appraiser. I started to work for an appraiser as a trainee which is what everyone does until they work for 2000 hours and have their work reviewed and approved and then they can go out on their own. After a couple of months my supervising appraiser said, get out of here, there is too much money to be made in real estate....and he was right, it was 2004....and so I went back to being a Realtor exclusively. Once I opened my own firm I realized that I was better off being a Realtor. Anyway, that's a total sidebar.)

An example of what the "average" person would be looking for came up recently in a discussion with a homeowner. The owner was drawing to my attention how an appraiser had failed to make special note of a second kitchen and give it any weight in the appraisal. This bothered that party. We all know of things we've done to our house that we know have real value....the question is if that value would convey to most people looking for what the house has.....the basics of living space, bedrooms, baths, nice kitchen....so they value that second kitchen? Most of them wouldn't....I didn't say that, but that is what I think happened.

When I was doing my trainee work the way I learned to approach a property was to first look for something that was architecturally similar on a waterfront or non waterfront lot. This isn't always possible in the Northern Neck, but it is a start. In other words it wasn't a good idea to be comparing a rancher with a Cape Cod since that made for a lot of differences right from the get go. Let's assume for argument purposes that you found the three ranchers to compare with your subject property....the one you've been asked to appraise. You have the waterfront property for all of these. You try to have either have a small lot, something under an acre or a larger lot.  You can adjust for that acreage toward the end. What is the age of each property. What is the square footage. Number of bedrooms and baths. What is the condition, is it new construction, older and updated, needing some updating? What sort of fixtures...quality of them. Does it have a garage and if so how large and has it been completed? Basement or no? Space that isn't heated and cooled such as a screened porch? Any outbuildings? Is it in a neighborhood with amenities and if so, what is the quality of those amenities? Located close to a town? As you can see, the list can just go on and on and an appraiser is required to provide a final number based on this big collection of judgments. Not easy. And post 2008 melt-down the effort to make things more fair in the appraisal process and put distance between an appraiser and the mortgage company chagned the appraisal forms to be more uniform. By changing the forms the appraisal process is facilitated for cities and suburban areas where appraising is a much easier process of being able to find like properties. These new forms that came as a result of 2008 (and obviously the abuse of values on property which supported a very aggressive banking community), the appraisers in a country setting became saddled with filling in the blanks and then explaining what they put in the blanks because a lot of the time that was the only way to make sense of data that doesn't conform to city/suburban blanks.  (I was still taking continuing education classes then, although my license was and is inactive and saw how incredibly difficult that makes the process in our type of area.)

I think that I have given considerable perspective on how difficult it is to appraise in an area like the Northern Neck. As a Realtor I look at comp solds and start with square footage, age of house, type of house, condition of house (updating or no...and when built), number of bedrooms and baths, outbuildings or garage....amount of waterfrontage, depth of waterfrontage, type of pier complex, bulkheaded or no, sand beach or no, location in relationship to town or to get to a quart of milk....these are the basics I look at. Recently I've listed a couple of properties that the owners chose to have appraisals on and I found that I was right on the mark. I'm sure I'm not always right, but there is a process and although I don't go through each and every step that an appraiser goes through, I think I get the basics right. It is helpful for my buyers. It is helpful for my sellers, and you can see why knowing your way around a given area gives real insight. As a buyer or seller you want to be informed. You really don't want to be guessing. An appraisal can help you and is significant in financing. A capable Realtor can help you greatly outside of that financing situation.

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, February 11, 2016  9:59:18 AM
More waterfront residential numbers 0 Comments Posted

Here's an exercise we've been through off and on over the last couple of years. I'm breaking the waterfront sales out by price point (albeit only for this brief period of 2016 thus far) and comparing those sales with the actives. We'll keep in mind that come the first of April there will be far more properties on the market for many have been taken off and will come back on and other new properties will have been delayed in getting put on the market until it seemed like the best time. Personally I'm not sure when the best time is. People who are looking for property tend to have it as an ongoing project, not something that turns on and off. Yes, there are some that exclusively get started in the spring, but I can't tell you what percentage that is. 

Here we have sales from January 1 through February 8 for waterfront residential properties in the four counties of the Northern Neck (Richmond, Lancaster, Northumberland and Richmond). And we also have the actives.

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 through 2/8 in 2016
List price # sold Median sales price Active number
Under $200,000 1 $170,000 23
$200,000 to $400,000 7 $290,000 114
$400,000 to $600,000 2 457,500 104
$600,000 to $800,000 3* $650,000 57
$800,000 to $1,000,000 0 NA 23
$1,000,000 to $1,200,000 0 NA 9
$1,200,000 and above 1 $1,540,000 34

* Wasn't specifically looking closely at any of these actual sales, but these three jumped out at me. One was on the market for 1237 days. The sales price was 66% of the original asking price.....hmmm, that's a big drop. Then the next one was on for 935 days and sold at 70% of the original asking price. Neither of these say that these were easy sales. The last one of the three sold after 635 days on market and sold for 92% of the original asking price. That seems more like it, although it took close to two years.

Relationships of solds to actives

$200,000 and under              1 sold, 23 active.....that's easy, 23 times as many actives as solds

$200,000 to $400,000            7 sold, 114 active      16.28 times as many actives as solds

$400,000 to $600,000            2 sold, 104 active       52 times as many actives as solds

$600,000 to $800,000            3 sold, 57 active         19 times as many actives as solds

$800,000 to $1,000,000         0 sold, 23 active

$1,000,000 to $1,200,000      0 sold, 9 active

$1,200,000 plus                    1 sold, 34 active          34 times as many actives as solds

What may be a bit more encouraging is to divide that "times number" by 12 and come up with approximately how many years inventory we have in each category. That makes some of these numbers look a bit better. 

I want to intersperse these blogs with numbers and then thoughts about the market. Later in the week I'm either going to write about Zillow or appraisals or both. Those ideas keep coming to the fore and so one will win out by Friday or so.

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, February 09, 2016  12:48:02 PM
Listing a property, MLS as one of the most important tools 0 Comments Posted

There really is quite a bit to be said about the MLS (Multiple Listing System) and how it functions. (This is the computerized system that local Realtors use to put in their listings so that they inform one another of a property for sale. This is also where local Realtors state to one another what kind of compensation is offered to them for an offer that is accepted and closes. From there it goes to all the Realtors web sites and on to syndication.)

Today I'm addressing how MLS works for sellers. That is because there seems to be a fair amount of confusion over these systems and how they work for sellers (or perhaps don't).

Quite recently I had a potential buyer give me a list of Northern Neck properties they were interested in seeing. Most of them were easy to pull up on our MLS (the Northern Neck Association of Realtors' MLS). So that was great. A couple of others didn't show up so obviously they were not listed within our MLS, nor were they listed with a Northern Neck Realtor.(When this happens finding them is pretty easy either with Realtor.com or Zillow.com.) Properties that aren't listed in our MLS happens from time to time. Why? Well it is probably a myriad of reasons. One I have heard is that a seller wants their listing in the Northern Virginia MLS and that is what is most important to them. For that reason they choose either a Northern Virginia or a Fredericksburg Realtor to carry their listing. The expectation from the seller is that somehow they are getting closer to a Northern Virginia or DC buyer because they are in that MLS. Well if that is the only MLS they are in they are probably not doing the best in terms of really selling.

It may not be an easy decision on how to list a property, but making sure you are in the local MLS really is key. There are the times when the next door neighbor in DC or NoVA is a Realtor and you have a property to sell on the Northern Neck and it all seems easy. Well sure, it is. Sign the forms, into the local (MRIS system) and you're set to go. What doesn't happen in this instance is the following:

1.  Who is going to show this property? If a call comes in and a Northern Neck Realtor does want to show it, how does it get shown? The answer is almost always, there's a lockbox and the Realtor with the buyer goes in and looks at the house.

2.  How do questions get answered about the property? Over the phone and with someone who may or may not know the area and perhaps hardly knows the property. 

3.  How does the house feel when the people come in to look at it. Most often the house is cold, closed up and feels slightly abandoned (especially in the off season months). No one gets there early to turn up the heat. No one gets there early to turn on the lights. No one gets there early to open the blinds.

And the Realtor with the buyers is on a schedule and they may have been asked to show 6 or 8 or even 10 houses in a given day. Just think of the impact that showing has on the buyers....perhaps not the best one. This is still a buyers' market.

Okay, so I got a bit off track, but the above is important.

In speaking with one of the out-of-the-area Realtors I tried to gently suggest that he wasn't doing the best for his client because the listing couldn't be found in the Northern Neck Association of Realtors' MLS. Why this is important is as follows: 

There are almost 200 Realtors in the Northern Neck Association of Realtors and a number of adjunct members who use the MLS too. To be a member of any MLS requires an up front fee and then ongoing fees, whether it is monthly, per listing and there may be others. To have a property in the Northern Neck and for those Realtors to NOT have the listing at their fingertips means that it may not be discovered in a search. Not having it in our MLS means that it is not going to be put onto the almost 200 web sites that members have for their listings. And if you as a buyer are looking to purchase in the Northern Neck, I'm betting that the words Northern Neck come up in your search. You are not expecting to look in the DC or the Maryland or the Richmond MLS to find your dream property here.

Yes, the way all MLSs work there is syndication. What this means is that beyond the sharing with fellow MLS members, the listing get sent out to Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Homes.com and really dozens of other sites. So yes, if it isn't in the core MLS it does get out to the wider world.....the very wider world. It just has missed out on the people closest to the property, most likely to show the property because they are working with buyers daily and they know the territory. I think that is important.

Sometimes there are areas that overlap and so that makes it difficult to figure out the MLS. For instance, upper Westmoreland county is in the Northern Neck MLS, but quite often Realtors located up in that area are also in the Fredericksburg MLS. The market isn't specifically Northern Neck because it is close to Dahlgren and is also reasonably commutable to Fredericksburg and other places that have real jobs. Then you look at Essex county and you see something similar. There are plenty of Essex counties listings in the NNAR MLS, but they are often put into the Middle Peninsula MLS as well. It just isn't simple. (And add to all this the fact that most MLSs are for-profit entities....ours isn't.....and that's a whole other dimension.) One thing I can say is that I tried out putting my listings into MRIS for almost a year and I concluded that it did not assist my sales at all and it was costly and time consuming. The Northern Neck MLS is quite a good system and we are fortunate.

Recently I assisted a buyer in purchasing a property that was not listed in our local MLS but was right in the middle of our territory. The property was found by this buyer who was extremely diligent in looking at a variety of sites for their information. We look at the property and ultimately the property was purchased. Looking back on this process and property I'm pretty sure that because the property had been on the market for so long and hardly anyone had been to see it, that we were in a really good position to get a great value. And this buyer did!! Having other parties looking for something similar, I'd say I could have sold it the day after it closed for at lesat 20% more than the party paid. That's leaving some real money in the buyer's pocket and a seller who got short-changes.

We, as Realtors, can refer a client to another Realtor within a jurisdiction we are licensed. In the past, I had a good friend who wanted to buy a condo in Alexandria. I had worked with a Realtor in the past when selling a property here and that seller was buying in Northern Virginia the day the Northern Neck property closed. I had to coordinate closely with that Northern Virginia Realtor to make sure all went well and there weren't any glitches. Having had this experience, I knew this Realtor was capable and someone I could trust. It was easy to pick up the phone and ask if they'd take a referral from me, and of course the answer was yes. This meant that my friend could get the benefit of the best local knowledge in the market she was looking in and I could get a piece of the pie. This is what I think makes the most sense. Refer a property if you really can't fully represent it. Refer a buyer if you really can't offer them the full perspective they deserve. Refer, refer, refer. I have never understood why there isn't a rule requiring us to refer once the distance becomes too great or if the markets are so radically different. Then again perhaps it would be too hard to set up rules and work to have people adhere to them. We, as Realtors are supposed to follow the Golden Rule, and so let's hope that we really do....for our job is to work, and work well, for the buyers and sellers we encounter. That is our goal.

Please know that is soley my opinion on these matters, but 23 years of real estate experience does give me some perspective.

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, February 07, 2016  11:57:54 AM
Minor sales update 0 Comments Posted

I'm sure it can be argued that there is no way to project what our 2016 sales will be on the Northern Neck given what I'm putting up here today. And I might even agree. So if you take the below information with a grain of salt and know that things can change quickly....I had a not so good first half of 2015 and then I had a great second half....well the same can be true of our market. Still, I needed to put something up and I'm going to write about selling your property and the value of various approaches, but that will be by the weekend at latest. This is all I have time for at the moment.

These numbers are the January 1 through February 3 sales numbers. This is for 2014, 2015 and now 2016. One might think that January sales reflect whatever momentum the market has in the fall. I would certainly believe so. We can't blame the lesser numbers of 2016 on the snow, since contracts that would close in January 2016 were set in motion in November or December.

It is always nice to know more even if it isn't necessarily a clear projection of the future. In that vein, here are the numbers:

All residential sales 1/1 to 2/3
  2014 2015 2016 active
# sold 27 37 27 689
$ sold (millions) 7.2 10.6 7.9 288.7
Median sales price 169,000 240,000 245,000 299,500
Median days on market 199 233 226 237

2016 sales are fewer than those in 2015. Same number as 2014. Sales dollars are a touch higher in 2016 over 2014....but considerably lower than 2015. 2016 median sales price is close to 2015 and both are much higher than 2014's. Median days on market is a little lower this year. Actives....well yes, a lot of them. The median sales price of actives is a fair amount higher than the sold one for 2016. 

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 to 2/3
  2014 2015 2016 active
# sold 7 17 13 364
$ sold (millions) 4.6 8.3 5.9 226.4
Median sales price 535,000 377,000 317,000 475,000
Median days on market 299 240 269 253

2016 has seen a drop in number of properties sold, total dollars sold and the median sales price when compared with 2015. It is ahead of 2014, though. Median days on market increased for these 2016 solds. Actives....yes, a lot of them and the median sales price is quite a bit off of the solds median sales price of 2016. Something to think about.

All land sales 1/1 to 2/3
  2014 2015 2016 active
# sold 3 9 7 812
$ sold (NOT millions) 360,000 815,500 382,500 125.8
Median sales price 45,000 65,000 21,500 75,000
Median days on market 142 315 265 504.5

We already know that land isn't racing off the shelf (so to speak) and this confirms it. Look at 2016. With 7 sales there are hardly any more dollars than those spent in 2014 on 3 properties. The 2016 median sales price is $21,500 for those 7 solds. Looking at the actives we see that there are a huge number of lots available for sale (812), that their dollar value is considerable and that the median sales price is $75,000 vs. the $21,000 of the most recent solds. The most shocking number may be that the median days on market for the actives is 504. There have got to be some listings that are in MLS that have been in for 6, 7 or 8 years....those listings skew this number big time.

What these numbers suggest is that anyone buying land is getting a good deal because sellers have to price right to get their land sold. Then again, even at the right price some land just doesn't have any takers. Not an easy situation for sellers, but certainly great for buyers.

I don't know if any anecdotal information makes a difference, but I've heard of a fair number of deals that were supposed to be completed by the end of the year but haven't closed as yet. There have been all sorts of problems to sort out and so that may be affecting our numbers. Then again given how deals can go, this kind of situation probably is ongoing and so it may have no weight in our lesser numbers in 2016. Aren't you glad I clarified this for you? No crystal ball here. Just simple straight-forward numbers to give us a sense of what is going on.

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, February 03, 2016  2:22:52 PM
Snow optimism and reality 0 Comments Posted

Our storm was both more than expected and less. By and large there were very few power outages here in the Northern Neck and so that made for a better set of days than we would have experienced otherwise. Even with our checking our own generator and moving it into place before the storm there are always those misgivings about what it will really feel like when the power goes out and you have to act. Will it be in the middle of the night? Will it really work? How to you totally guard your generator when it is outdoors even if it has a canopy cover? It just isn't simple. So having the power on the whole time was great.

Before the storm came in I checked (or had my husband) on a couple of houses that we have listed that the owners are nowhere near the Northern Neck. Perhaps as a buyer or seller you don't think about the responsibilities that Realtors have, or take on, in order to keep a property in shape to sell. Finding people to cut grass, serving as an intermediary when bills don't get paid and the party who did the work wants your help, going to a house before a snow storm and checking the heat, opening the cabinets beneath sinks and allowing every water source to have a bit of a drip....that's before the storm. Today I've asked my husband to go back to a couple of houses and to again check the heat, see if there are any signs of damage and in the four wheel drive vehicle, drive in and out of the drive enough so that there would be a place for two vehicles. Probably we will soon have the weather to take care of the snow on its own in the next couple of days, but if someone wants to see one of these houses say tomorrow, far better that they can get access with space to park.

I really hadn't expected the snow to be so deep. When all was said and done I think that we got about a foot of snow. And with drifting, in places it was closer to two feet. On our little road which is private, we were fortunate enough to have someone come and plow the road out. That left digging ourselves out and luckily with a little anticipation and the CRV (4-wheel drive) at the end of the driveway, that wasn't too much trouble.

Monday was an interesting day to get out with a fair amount of snow still on the side roads (but really just in patches). It still felt like a serious snow storm. Yesterday with the temperature around 60 degrees we were in place to get rid of quite a bit of this snow. Today it is a bit warm and more melting. So by the weekend we'll probably be without snow. Not as brief a snow period, but still not bad in terms of what most places experience.

The ice flows on the river were beginning to accumulate after the storm and a number of bald eagles enjoyed their trips up and down the river on their very own private flow. A seagull or two would join them from time to time, but it sure is easy to see those eagles out there because they are so large.

Things will be back to normal soon and that hiatus where everyone has been taking care of their own requirements due to the storm will soon shift to planning and moving forward. I know I'll be contacting a lot of buyers and sellers in the next couple of days....to confirm things or to get things going. It's going to be time for real estate real soon!!

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, January 27, 2016  12:06:40 PM
Snow.... 0 Comments Posted

I realize that this is the topic of the moment and that also, by and large, anyone reading this is experiencing their own version of the white stuff. But I thought I'd give this a bit of Northern Neck perspective.

This is perhaps winter number 23 or 24 for me here in the Northern Neck. Having moved first from New York and then to Washington, DC what I found in moving to the Northern Neck is that there really is hardly any snow (comparitively speaking). Early on....in the first couple of years, it would snow and then somehow it would be 50 or 60 degrees a day or so thereafter and it would thaw and be gone. At least most of it. My ex-husband and I lived about half a mile off the paved road and our house was located down a steep hill. Whenever snow would be forecast the car (all-wheel drive) would go up to the top of the hill with the hope and expectation that we could get out from there. Generally we could. It wouldn't take long at all to be up and running and out in the world. What took longer was that winding road down to the house that was totally sheltered with tree cover and often slick with ice for a couple of additional days.

My main point is that in general snow is not too frequent, nor too difficult to deal with here. We tend to have pretty nice winters and as a friend of mine who grew up in Belgium often remarks....the skies are so blue....and most of the time. Comparing our winters to what I experienced as a child growing up on Long Island....well there isn't any comparison. It is warmer, it is brighter, winter is way shorter and I can start planning for spring in February and it doesn't feel so far away. That is really nice!

This isn't to say that at this moment the weather hasn't gotten my attention---it has. And for those who don't like it and for those who are dealing with difficulties that the snow only makes more difficult, I realize this isn't fun.

For me and for my present circumstances, I've decided, though, that this is fun. This morning I knew it was time for the dogs to get a real walk and so I bundled up. I've been really layering quite a bit for all my walks, probably to the point of absurdity. This morning I had it all down, since my outfit was comprised of the elements I've been putting on for a week or two. Going out the front door (street side) I realized that I was stepping through almost a foot of snow. Well we haven't had that sort of snowfall (probably 6 to 8 inches), but there has been a fair amount of wind. Looking around we have places with drifts....some to more than a foot and then where the snow has been blown away, it is perhaps an inch or two deep. The dogs took very happily to the snow once they got it figured out, meaning in the first ten or fifteen feet of traversing the driveway. The smaller one found that she needed to sort of leap up and down, a bit like she was on a pogo stick to deal with deepest snow....that was a bit of a new experience, but dogs do know how to adapt and quickly. Shortly after catching on it became a racing frolic with quick turns and running back and circles ....just fun sort of snow time.

Before walking down to the campground I noticed that the tracks on the road were actually from the party who brings our newspaper. The paper tends to arrive about 3 in the morning since I often wake up right around delivery time. I have no idea when this was delivered, but what I can say is that that was one incredible delivery person. The snow has almost filled up the tracks because of the drifting, but it is evident that they drove here when the snow was at least 6 or 8 inches deep. That was a great effort and we appreciate it. I even had my husband call the Richmond Times Dispatch to report our appreciation.

The walk to the campground was informative. One of the things I don't like about living on the water are the winds in the winter when it is really blustery....it is usually a week or two in February that the winds are the most disconcerting. With all the morning weather forecast information running around in my head I went outside looking for the wind. I found that where our house is located a number of things break the wind that truly is coming out of the north. There is a stretch of dense hedges and even a couple of houses next to us that seem to be absorbing much of the brunt. So the first bit of the walk was pleasant. Once I reached the campground fence and started to head toward my favorite channel marker and bit of frozen beach there was a total change of scene and a change of feeling....it was cold. The wind was whipping some nasty sleet. It felt bitterly cold. It felt as if I'd walked out of a door and found winter. Yes, I found the wind.

We've been preparing for this snow event for the last few days. Bit by bit we pulled together our plan. It really does feel good to have the generator tested out and ready to go. We've plenty of food that could easily be reheated on the gas stove....it does feel safe. The dogs and cat certainly aren't complaining and my one dog who is a different kind of bird dog, only barks for a short time when a bald eagle flies by along the water side. On days like this he isn't going to chase it for us (which is his norm)....I guess it doesn't seem worth it.

So keep warm and safe and know that soon we will be looking toward spring and those of you who own 2nd homes in the Northern Neck well you'll be getting ready to open up. For those of you contemplating a house here, just think, if you had a contract ratified by the end of February, generally you wouldn't close until mid-April. That doesn't give you too much time to get set to fully open up for the season around Memorial Day. You see, next spring and summer is coming fast....so even though there's plenty of snow today, it will be summer before you know it! And time to enjoy the life on the river.....

View Comments | Add Comment Saturday, January 23, 2016  10:57:54 AM
Yes, more waterfront numbers 0 Comments Posted

Breaking out the sales in a similar fashion to the last couple of messages, shows us what sold in 2011 and then in 2014 and 2015. Comparing these sales with what is active and on the market is perhaps helpful. We all realize though, that some properties are off the market for a bit, so this may not be exactly what is going on, but we have to look at what we have. These numbers are for the four counties of the Northern Neck (Westmoreland, Northumberland, Richmond and Lancaster) and lo and behold....full year information!!

Waterfront residential sales Listed Under $200,000
  2011 2014 2015 Active
# sold 12 23 20 23
$ sold (millions) 1.85 3.55 2.9 3.76
Median sales price 163,250 160,000 147,725 175,000
Median days on market 194 203 205.5 315

What do we have here? A far better 2014 than 2011. A drop in sales and in overall dollars in 2015 when compared with 2014. A reduced median sales price in 2015 and about the same median days on market in 2015 as in 2014.  Looking at the actives, well there aren't too many in comparison with what sold in 2015. What is considerably different is the median sales price of the actives would be $175,000 (a more than 15% difference) and the median days on market is 315. That is quite a bit off what we see in 2015. Still, not a glutted segment of the market.

Waterfront residential sales Listed $200,000-$400,000

  2011 2014 2015 Active
# sold 71 103 126 118
$ sold (millions) 21.5 30.9 37.8 38.5
Median sales price 300,000 302,000 303,750 329,000
Median days on market 182 254 213.5 245.5

Certainly very nice news here in that 2014 and 2015 sales are way above the sales of 2011. Also that 2015 was an improvement over 2014 in every way. More sales, more dollars, slightly higher median sales price and greatly reduced median days on market....213.5 in 2015 while there were 254 in 2014. Nice. The actives are fairly in line with few actives available than sold in 2015. There's a fairly good relationship between the overall dollars sold in 2015 and the dollars of the actives. Median sales price is a bit higher for the actives, but not horribly (less than 10%). Very healthy segment. Plenty of sales here. 

Waterfront residential sales Listed $400,000-$600,000

  2011 2014 2015 Active
# sold 48 52 62 100
Median sales price 455,000 455,000 488,000 489,000
$ sold (millions) 22.1 24.1 29.6 49.5
Median days on market 259 218 212.5 222

More sales, More dollars (sorry I swapped the $ sold and the median sales price in this chart), considerably higher Median sales price and reduced days on market. (Actives median sales price is right on the money....$489,000 versus $488,000 for the 2015 solds.) Yes, we have a lot more inventory in this category, but that is no surprise really. Less than a two year supply of inventory which is good in Northern Neck terms. Reasonable median days on market for the actives.

Waterfront residential sales Listed $600,000-$800,000
  2011 2014 2015 Active
# sold 20 29 23 62
$ sold (millions) 13.2 12.5 15.1 44.1
Median sales price 672,500 649,000 639,900 695,000
Median days on market 331 235 203 243

Not such good news here. Not good, not bad....for a seller probably it would be of concern with all the extra inventory. Fewer sales in 2015 than in 2014. Almost three year's worth of inventory. Median sales price has dropped from 2011 to 2014 and then further for 2015. Nice, though, that the median days on market have dropped for 2015. Looks like new listings are coming on at a price more related to what is selling. The actives don't have a really high median days on market so that is good. Obviously the median sales price for the actives is about 10% higher than the ones that sold in 2015.

For the moment we are in the wait and see mode. People are calling. People are traveling to look, but this cold certainly slows all of that down. 2015 was overall a good year. Here's to a better year in 2016!!

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, January 19, 2016  10:23:21 AM
Quick overview of 2015 sales 0 Comments Posted

I put this together last Monday and at that point I then noted was there were 263 expired listings between Christmas and January 1st. That's a lot of listings to drop off. Of course a number of them came right back on, but so far there aren't a lot of listings in the beginning of January.  On to the statistics.

Since there has been a gradual climb from 2011 up until today, I shortcut this and simply put up 2011 and 2014 and 2015 to show you where we've come since 2011. Here we have the total residential and then the subset of waterfront residential. Below that is the total land sales and then the subset of waterfront land sales. I think using the 2011 and 2014 numbers for comparison makes it easier understand. These statistics are for the Northern Neck counties of Northumberland, Lancaster, Richmond and Westmoreland.

Annual sales residential, four counties
  2011 2014 2015 Active
# sold 354 459 473 683
$ sold (millions) 95.6 130.9 141.4 291.7
Median sales price 205,500 212,500 243,000 299,500
Median days on market 175.5 211 192 217

Yes, better overall in 2015. Not a huge difference from 2014, but decidedly an improvement. And a significant improvement from 2011. That's important. Plenty of active.....not as much as you might expect.

Annual sales waterfront residential, four counties
  2011 2014 2015 Active
# sold 163 221 250 361
$ sold (millions) 69.8 98.2 108.2 230.5
Median sales price 375,000 371,000 365,000 485,000
Median days on market 215 231 210.5 229

Again, an improvement and it is very similar to the improvement in the overall market. Nice to see that 2015 was a good  market with more selling and obviously more inventory being bought by buyers who have been very picky. 

 

Annual sales land, four counties

  2011 2014 2015 Active
# sold 114 135 130 785
$ sold (millions) 11.5 15.8 13.6 117.0
Median sales price 37,750 77,500 49,250 73,000
Median days on market 171 202 273 491

A slight drop in sales in 2015. Signficantly reduced median sales price. Significant increase in median days on market for those properties that sold in 2015.

Annual sales waterfront land, four counties
  2011 2014 2015 Active
# sold 34 66 47 348
$ sold (millions) 5.6 11.9 7.3 90.8
Median sales price 132,250 167,500 138,500 175,000
Median days on market 268 210.5 275 491

Sales decreased significantly in 2015 when compared with 2014. Still a bit better than 2011, but it shows that we have these moments when land starts to come back and then we have moments when that improvement recedes. There really isn't too much of a way to predict this. Look, though, at the 47 that have sold in the past year and that there are 348 actives. That is a significant number. And see where the actives have a median days on market of 491. That is a signficant number of days. 

All of this is perspective. Perspective for the buyer. Perspective for the seller. It helps to know. So keep us in mind if you want assistance and you want to KNOW. Thank you. 

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, January 10, 2016  1:39:29 PM
Land sales in the Northern Neck 0 Comments Posted

Here we are closing in on the end of the year. Just a couple of days ago I had fun putting together my extreme numbers related to home sales. In that case I showed the listings that have sold (3) in each price category and how long they'd been on the market (the longest in their price point) and then showed what percentage of the original list price they ultimately sold for. Interesting to look at. What I didn't state then and should bring to your attention is that 2015 has been the best year for waterfront residential home sales....probably since 2007....would have to go back and look at 2008....to be sure. Give or take, though, it has been a long time for that market to come back, but it has!!

In the charts below the sales for the full years of 2013 and 2014 are compared with 2015 as of last evening, December 28 (and as ususal, the actives). There really isn't any way around it. Clearly 2015 is a year when land sales have been backsliding. Sorry to say.

All land types, four counties
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 136 135 126 897
$ sold (millions) 12.7 15.8 13.2 131.8
Median sales price 60,000 77,500 49,250 74,900
Median days on market 183 202 268

481

 

Fewer sales, less dollars than 2014, but better than 2013. Lowest median sales price. Most median days on market. Slightly more than 7 years' worth of inventory in the active category. Median days on market of the actives is 481.....that's a lot of days. 

Waterfront land, four counties
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 52 66 46 405
$ sold (millions) 8.4 11.9 7.0 175,000
Median sales price 142,000 167,500 131,750 175,000
Median days on market 295.5 210.5 295 467

2015 gives us fewer solds, fewer dollars, lowest median sales price and basically the same high median days on market as in 2013. Perhaps 9 years' worth of inventory is there in the actives.

The good news is that there are properties selling. The good news is that people are still buying land. The bad news is there aren't enough of those buyers these days. Let's hope that 2016 will be an improving story for land.

 

 

Looking at the most days on market for the actives I found the listing on longest is at 3833 days. This property has been all over the map coming on at one number, going up in price a few months later. Dropping again. Going up again. And now it is at 1/3 of the original asking price. When you see this sort of action in a listing it makes you cringe a bit if you have a client interested in it. Who knows what the seller is thinking? But it is always worth a shot. Maybe they have gotten tired. After more than 3,000 days it might be time to move on.  

The second longest listing has been on for around 3500 days. That property has had a price drop since 2007. Now that's optimism.....I think.

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, December 29, 2015  10:54:13 AM
Extreme numbers for sales of Northern Neck waterfront residential properties in 2015 0 Comments Posted

Waterfront Residential sales numbers in the Northern Neck for the year-to-date

In an effort to look at some of this information in a different light, I decided to examine three sales within each of the waterfront categories (using price point again) that sold this year. The three properties are ones that have been on the market the longest. Then, after looking up the Original List Price and comparing it with the Actual Sales Price, listing the number of Days on Market, I calculated the percentage of the original list price the property actually sold for. It will make more sense and be easier to understand once you look at the charts below.   (List price, sales price, DOM, %)

Beyond that I thought, hmmm, maybe we are getting beyond some of this extreme inventory. Maybe the sellers are catching on that this is a very complex market. Yes, it is getting better in that more properties are selling, but no, there's no promise that theirs will sell....and prices are still adjusting in some categories (which means they are being reduced).  So under each of the chart summaries is a list of numbers....three....of the listings that are active right now and have the greatest number of days on the market.

It isn't clear to me what in the world people are doing when these sort of numbers reflect their sitting on the market....it shows "not having to sell" really means waiting perhaps until the end of time. The market changes, the numbers adjust. What might have been true 6 months ago is not necessarily true now. The numbers reflect reality....unfortunately the numbers trump sitting and hoping...... even if I wish that weren't so. It is a numbers game and people want value and they still have a lot to choose from. Now for the EXTREME NUMBERS.

WF residential sales under $200,000+

  Orig. list price Sold price Days on market % of orig. list that property sold for
1 of the longest days on market 248,750 185,000 636 74%
2 of the longest days on market 185,000 125,000 446 67%
3 of the longest days on market 245,000 143,500 463 58.5%
 

Here are the actives that have the greatest duration in this segment: 1685, 1453, 983 days. That's a lot of waiting.  

Of these three that sold (shown above), the best result was close to 75% of the original price. The worst result was something just a bit north of 50%. These are interesting numbers and none of the solds was on the market for as much as two years. Someone was pricing the listings fairly well and obviously the sellers were willing to negotiate since the selling price in relationship to the listing price has a fair amount of play.

 

WF residential sales $200,000-$400,000

  Orig. list price Sold price Days on market % of orig. list that property sold for
1 of the longest days on market 399,000 275,000 1403 68.9%
2 of the longest days on  market 375,000 335,000 1206 89.0%
3 of the longest days on market 395,000 250,000 1216

63.2%

Oh my, these are a lot of days on market. This looks like the most extreme of the extremes. Anyway, one of them held out and didn't drop the price and was able to realize close to 90% of their original price. Granted it took 1206 days and that might have meant quite a bit of carrying costs or mortgage payments, but we'll never know. The others....not terrible....30% under and 36% under the original list price.....not what most sellers would like to consider might be "normal."

And for the longest term actives in this category we have: 2238, 1633, and 1122. Wow!!! That's a lot of days.

WF residential sales $400,000-$600,000

  Orig. list price Sold price Days on market % of orig. list that property sold for
1 of the longest days on market 525,000 405,000 1359 77%
2 of the longest days on  market 695,000 528,500 1079 76%
3 of the longest days on market 530,000 402,825 1114 76%

Personally I don't think waiting three years to sell a house makes sense if your goal is to sell a house. I can't know all the particulars about any given case, but when someone decides to list their house even if "they don't need to sell" well they've made a shift in their expectations. They've made a shift in how they want to live their life and even if financially they are not absolutely pushed to sell, in essence they are moving on. And much as I would like to say that things are going to get better and better in this market. I have no guarantees, nor do you. So look at the numbers and understand where you stand and make choices .....if your goal is to move on and sell.

So really these are sales at about 75% of what the listing was originally put on at. Hmmmm.

Actives that are longest on the market ("top" 3): 1566, 1207, 1033

WF residential sales $600,000-$800,000

  Orig. list price Sold price Days on market % of orig. list that property sold for
1 of the longest days on market 799,000 600,000 854 75%
2 of the longest days on  market 975,000* 822,000 605 84%
3 of the longest days on market 925,000* 760,000 610 82%

* Let me explain these two. At some point their list price dropped to $800,000 or under. That is why they fell into this category. At the point at which they went under contract they fit our $600,000 to $800,000. So the 2nd one above had some sort of wrangling that went on that ended up with the party paying more than the list at the time...don't ask me why. With number 3 above, well it was probably listed at $799,000 at the point of the contract to purchase at $760,000....that's what I'm guessing happened. Anyway, these three reflect the best outcome of all so far. 75%, 84%, 82% of the original list....That's not bad. And none of these ran into the 3 year plus range which we can't say about the two previous categories. 

Of course the actives in this category might make you cringe with: 3103, 1642 and 1196 days on market as the winners on the most days active.

WF residential sales $800,000-$1,000,000

  Orig. list price Sold price Days on market % of orig. list that property sold for
1 of the longest days on market 949,000 810,000 635 85%
2 of the longest days on  market 998,000 791,000 334 79%
3 of the longest days on market 999,000 959,500 215 95%

This doesn't look so bad. Not a single on here that was on the market for two years plus. Not a single one that really had a price negotiated to the extreme. 20% isn't perfect, but that is the most off of the original list that was paid for a property. This isn't anywhere as extreme as most of the extremes. The days on market for the actives aren't perfect, but they are far from the worst with: 1648, 1055, 977.

WF residential sales $1,000,000-$1,250,000

  Orig. list price Sold price Days on market % of orig. list that property sold for
1 of the longest days on market 1,198,000 1,050,000 299 87%
2 of the longest days on  market 1,195,000 1,148,000 128 96%
3 of the longest days on market 1,200,000 1,200,000 53 100%

By far the best segment so far in terms of days on market to sell and percentage of sales price in relationship to original asking price. Not bad. Actually really rather good. The actives, well, there are some that are much more challenges. 1059, 839, 583. Guess it shows that if you price your property to the market activity you are much more likely to sell and also to sell near your asking price. Makes really good sense. The market talks. 

 

WF residential sales $1,250,000+

  Orig. list price Sold price Days on market % of orig. list that property sold for
1 of the longest days on market 1,590,000 1,100,000 538 69%
2 of the longest days on market 1,850,000 1,360,000 640 73.5%
3 of the longest days on market 1,250,000 850,000 439 68%
 

Not great, but not bad. Not into the two year wait to sell. Not a great percentage sales price to original list price, but this is a difficult segment to price really well and there's lots of inventory. Here are the longest active listings: 2063, 1041 and 953 days. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

If you want to really figure out where your property fits into the marketplace and how best to price it to sell, we will be pleased to help you. It isn't rocket science....it is really quite clear. I love the non-numbers side of real estate. I can understand why people love their houses and what they've done to them. I also know that I can't help them sell them if they won't regard the market. Buyers know what is out there. They do their homework. They know that they can pick and choose. Help them choose your house andmake 2016 the year that you move on to your next stage....whatever that might be!!! Wishing you the best for the new year.  Kathryn 

View Comments | Add Comment Saturday, December 26, 2015  5:05:36 PM
N Neck waterfront residential sales broken out by price 0 Comments Posted

The sales statistics shown below are for the full years of 2013 and 2014. For 2015 the solds are dated through the 17th of December. Sometime early in January when I would expect the full information to be in, I'll update 2015....probably not in quite such a detailed fashion. 

As always these statistics are for the four counties of the Northern Neck of Virginia (Westmoreland, Northumberland, Lancaster and Richmond.

Waterfront residential sales listed at Under $200,000
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 25 23 20 27
$ sold (millions) 4.0 3.6 2.9 4.5
Median sales price 162,500 160,000 147,725 179,000
Median days on market 220 203 205.5 301

Fewer sales, fewest dollars, lowest median sales price....that's what has happened in 2015. Not a huge amount of inventory in relationship to the solds, so that seems fairly healthy. The actives are at 301 for median days on market....that's a lot and quite a disconnect from the sales reality of 205.5 in 2015. It says there are a bunch of properties that have been on a long time and may not have been priced to sell yet.

Waterfront residential sales listed at $200,000-$400,000
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 81 103 114 138
$ sold (millions) 24.2 30.9 34.5 44.3
Median sales price 305,000 302,000 310,000 325,000
Median days on market 269 254 212.5 219.5

Better sales numbers, better dollars, higher median sales price, fewest median days on market....this for 2015. Relationship between the solds of this year and the actives--114 to 138--isn't a bad one. And the active properties median days on market at 219.5 is pretty close to what has sold in 2015. This is a good segment that is performing well.

Waterfront residential sales listed at $400,000-$600,000
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 55 52 59 115
$ sold (millions) 24.5 24.1 28.3 56.6
Median sales price 435,000 455,000 489,500 479,000
Median days on market 264 218 194 197

More sales, more dollars, higher median sales price, lowest median days on market....this is a good segment as well, that is performing well. More inventory here, but not a ridiculous amount (in Northern Neck terms). Nice relationship between the median sales price of 2015 and the median of the actives...rare that the actives is a lower number. Nice median days on market number for the actives in relationship to the solds of 2015. Looks healthy to me!!

Waterfront residential sales listed at $600,000-$800,000
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 20 19 23 69
$ sold (millions) 13.3 12.5 15.1 49.1
Median sales price 651,500 649,000 639,900 698,000
Median days on market 215.5 235 203 216

More sales, more dollars, hmmm lower median sales price, lower median days on market. This is a healthy segment in terms of sales. There are about three years' worth of actives so that could be a concern for sellers. Median days on market for the actives isn't a bad number. Most of this news is good...only the inventory is a bit excessive so it spells lots of competition for the sellers.

Waterfront residential sales listed at $800,000 to $1,000,000
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 14 14 10 27
$ sold (millions) 11.6 12.0 8.5 24.1
Median sales price 812,500 845,000 839,500 898,000
Median days on market 326 252 160 248

Here's the second segment where we clearly have fallen behind in sales. Fewer sales, fewer dollars, reduced median sales price from 2014 and reduced median days on market (in a big way) for 2015. So the numbers sold and dollars taken in for those sales reflect a celar drop. The median sales price for 2015 is better than 2013 but not as good as 2014. The median days on market are great....shows that listings that come on and are priced right are selling. We have a fairly high active inventory and pretty high median days on market. Not quite as challenged as the $600,000 to $800,000 market, but close.

Waterfront residential sales listed at $1,000,000,000-$1,250,000
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 1 5 5 12
$ sold (millions) 890,000* 4.8 5.2 14.0
Median sales price 890,000 950,000 1.19 1.17
Median days on market 348 299 128 277.5

For 2015 this segment is sort of improved. Not in sales numbers since it is flat with 2014, but in dollars and median sales price. More good news for 2015 is that the median days on market have dropped a great deal and that says the newer properties that are coming on the market are taking into account what is selling  and not just wishful thinking. This is good. (Look though, at the active inventory and see that those median days on market are 277.5. Lots of un-reality still out there.)

Waterfront residential sales listed at $1,250,000 plus
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 6 6 7 35
$ sold (millions) 9.97 10.5 9.9 65.9
Median sales price 1.5 1.3 1.3 1.5
Median days on market 302 203.5 212 228

Here's another segment where I somewhat grudgingly give it a green, though this is mixed. One more sale in 2015 than in 2013 or 2014. Fewer dollars in 2015. Same median sales price as 2014 which is lower than the median sales pice in 2013. Slight uptick in median days on market for 2015. But the one piece of information which is extraordinary, and not in a good way, is that there are five times the number of active properties at this above $1.25 million price point as there are solds in 2015. There is no other sold segment reviewed above that even begins to approach this glut of inventory.

The point of this exercise is to better understand what is going on. With an improved market in 2015 there is no promise that a property at a given price point will necessarily sell next year even if the market continues as it is. This means it is most important to know where you fit in....as someone buying or as someone selling. Please consider contacting us to help you make an informed decision in a purchase or with a sale. There is no replacement for really good market analysis and knowledge.

 

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, December 20, 2015  8:37:42 AM
Northern Neck Residential sales update 0 Comments Posted

I had been thinking that 2015 was turning out to be a  year that was pretty much the equivalent of 2014. That would be a disappointment, so what is shown in these tables below comes as a very pleasant and positive surprise. Not that flat would be bad for sales of 2015 versus 2014, but it is far better to be moving forward toward selling off the inventory that we have, and that is happening!!

These three charts cover the period from January 1 through December 10 for the respective years. Also, this is data for the four counties of the Northern Neck which obviously includes Westmoreland, Northumberland, Lancaster and Richmond counties. (As I've said earlier, I will do the breakouts for waterfront residential at a variety of price points, probably by this weekend....looks like there is more to be learned about exactly what is selling there.)

Residential sales, Jan. 1 through Dec. 10 (4 counties)
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 337 347 384 428 438 799
$ sold (millions) 91.2 99.8 112.9 123.9 132.4 331.3
Median sales price 206,000 230,000 216,200 216,000 244,000 299,000
Median days on market 176 179 211 202 185 203

Yes, better overall in many ways. 2015 has given us the greatest numbre of sales, highest overall income to sellers, highest median sales price and a real reduction in Median Days on market over the last two years. This looks good. We do have our fair share of inventory, but it isn't terrible by an means.

Waterfront Residential sales, Jan. 1 through Dec. 10 (4 counties)
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 153 180 189 208 231 429
$ sold (millions) 65.9 74.7 82.9 92.9 101.2 260.7
Median sales price 365,000 360,000 365,000 373,000 375,000 474,500
Median days on market 215 195.5 238 221 203 219

Similar, though even better than overall sales is the waterfront residential report here. 2015 with the greatest number sold. Greatest number of dollars received by sellers. Highest median sales price and reduced median days on market in comparison with 2013 and 2014. Knowing that our sales dipped drastically in 2009 and 2010, this is a real line on a graph showing improvement and 2015 was one more dot on the chart showing sales growth. Good for sellers. Good for our local economy. Good to see. (Less than two years worth of inventory that is active compared with the 2015 sales to date.... a little over a year and three quarters.)

Waterfront residential sales $500,000 plus, Jan. 1 through Dec. 10 (4 counties)
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 49 51 57 58 72 187
$ sold (millions) 33.4 35.8 43.6 46.5 52.4 175.9
Median sales price 601,000 575,000 653,000 670,000 613,500 750,000
Median days on market 277 182 246 266 207.5 226

2015 there are more residences sold, higher dollars.....a decrease in median sales price.  Median days on market is at its lowest except for 2012. This is all good news too.  (More inventory in this segment, the over $500,000 segment, with a bit more than two and half years' inventory if we annualize the 2015 sales to date of 72.)

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, December 10, 2015  9:10:17 AM
Northern Neck land sales, December update 0 Comments Posted

I said I'd do this and finally have. This seems to be really rather interesting. Sometimes the land information just feels like the same old, same old, but here we have quite a bit of perspective. What this tells me is that 2014 was the best sales year in all categories. 2015 isn't bad but isn't quite up to 2013 either. You'll see how this pans out. This is for the four counties of the Northern Neck. The sales data is January 1 through December 3. Obviously I put up the actives at the far right so that you can see what we are dealing with....inventory and lots more inventory!! Still you can't say that there are no land sales....just that there's still plenty to sell.

All land sales, 1/1 through 12/3
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 110 108 115 124 111 883
$ sold (millions) 11.2 9.2 10.5 14.7 12.6 134.7
Median sales price 37,250 48,000 60,000 85,000 55,000 75,000
Median days on market 193.5 154.5 207 194 271 460

As I said, not as robust sales in 2015 as in 2014. Lower numbers and lower median sales price. Longest median days on market of all five years reviewed here. Second best dollars have come in in 2015 so that is something. Still a complicated market.

Waterfront land sales, 1/1 through 12/3 (subset of the above)
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 33 44 48 61 43 405
$ sold (millions) 6.0 5.9 7.5 11.0 6.9 106.3
Median sales price 150,000 115,000 142,000 170,000 142,000 175,000
Median days on market 282 197.5 363 245 275 442

Reduced sales of waterfront lots in 2015. Fewer lots, fewer dollars in 2015 than in 2013 and 2014. Inventory is considerable and the active median days on market at 442 is really something to make you stop and consider. Again, not a simple market with lots of inventory still out there. 

 

Waterfront land sales priced $250,000 or more, 1/1 through 12/3                    (subset of the above waterfront sales)

  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 13 9 13 19 11 119
$ sold (millions) 3.97 2.4 3.7 5.6 3.2 68.2
Median sales price 285,000 235,000 260,000 250,000 295,000 350,000
Median days on market 270 182 414 122 156 277

I was really hoping that this segment would look really healthy in 2015 and would reflect an improving market for high-end lots. Well that isn't the case. As with all waterfront sales, this segment has lesser sales in 2015 than in 2013 and 2014. Actually it has lesser sales in 2015 than in 2011 as well. So what we are talking about is with the exception of 2012, 2015 has the fewest sales and fewest dollars in the last five years. At least the median days on market in 2015 are fewer. Also the median sales price is up. 

These numbers are helpful although what they say is that the uptick trend that we've been watching has flattened out at best. Still, property is selling, it is just taking a long time. We already know that people are being very selective....it's still a buyer's market.

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, December 03, 2015  10:54:05 AM
Fones Cliffs....the rezoning passed 0 Comments Posted

Although I said I'd put together waterfront residential sales broken down by price point at this point, I think that that will come a bit later in the week and right now I'll take a look at the "consequences" of the Fones Cliff rezoning. 

As you may or may not know, this has been a very lengthy and expensive ongoing effort on the part of the owner to rezone the property. Although beautiful and full of natural resources that many consider to be irreplacable, those attributes are not the ones that have been most important to me. I have never thought that this was a nature versus economics decision. I have never really thought that by rezoning this the Board of Supervisors would totally lose their compass and start approving all sorts of inappropriate uses throughout Richmond county. What I thought from the beginning and said to a number of people....well "it either fails, or it fails." And what do I mean by that? Well, if it failed, meaning it didn't get rezoned, that is pretty clear. It just plain failed. If it were passed, then in my mind it goes into another mode of failure....it is perhaps just a bit more long term.

This subdivision and its ultimate success was/is related to facts and the presenters did not include a lot of reality in their approach. They did not talk to local realtors. They did not look at our sales data. They went with something I've seen before....first while working in marketing in a large firm in NYC and later while taking marketing classes at NYU in their graduate school of business. The people on the outside with big credentials often can see things that we, the little people can't. They can see the bigger picture. So what bigger picture did they see? They saw what is perfectly logical and makes sense to me every day of the week....the Northern Neck is close enough to a multitude of large cities and therefore there must be an overwhelming demand for the reasonable price of vacation, getaway, even resort property. Yes, it seems perfectly logical, except that the sales numbers don't bear this out. The numbers say that for all that is great about the Northern Neck, for all its proximity to DC, Richmond, Annapolis, Newport News, Fredericksburg and on and on, we are not swamped with buyers, and a few years into the "recovery" it is still a buyers market.

Depending on what segment of the land (lot) market you look at we have either 6 or 8 or 10 years worth of inventory (from time to time I do breaks on land and look at the amount of inventory...I'll do that again if not until year's end). Many of these lots have been on the market for years. Other owners who had been trying to sell have withdrawn their properties after extended periods where the listing languished. So the numbers we refer to as "inventory" are perhaps the tip of the iceberg. It may be that the 6 year inventory segment is actually 8 and the 8 is actually 10 and the 10 is actually 12. Land isn't selling quickly or in great numbers.

We also have many many subdivisions that are at various stages of moving forward with many sitting with lots of vacant lots....waiting for the next wave, but it may take a long time. As I've said repeatedly, it is not very sensible to start building a home when costs of materials and labor are high...when you can purchase a property that is already built and at a discount. Also, most of the best lots on the Northern Neck are already built on. People knew what they were looking at 10 and 20 and 30 and more years ago.

So now with the rezoning, Fones Cliffs has the opportunity to become a thriving resort, provided someone will buy it and develop it. But let us look at what this location brings to the buyers. First, it is far from a quart of milk. That is one of my key criteria for comfort. Yes, they say the plan is to put in a store, but when in the process of the development will that happen, and do the sophisticated, upscale people (who as best I can tell the local real estate agents haven't yet found) want only one store to go to? Do they want to drive 20 or 30 minutes to small towns, with limited places to shop? Do they want to spend their lives exclusively in a location where they are living close by to their 200 or 300 or 700 neighbors? What is the cachet? Is it the golf course? Is it the equestrian center? Is it being able to walk over to look over the cliffs? Is it to climb down 30 or 40 or 50 or more steps to get to a small boat or kayak? We who have been selling in the Northern Neck know that waterfront most often needs to be easily accessible....so Fones Cliffs doesn't offer reasonable accessibility. Probably a property that was inland....wouldn't cost a zillion dollars, was more centrally located, would make a lot more sense for a developer to consider if they were sure that golf and horses would be a huge draw.

In talking with a friend yesterday I speculated that the land market for a property (waterfront and lots of acres) has probably declined in the year or so since this ongoing Fones Cliffs rezoning controversy has been causing everyone to stop and focus on the owner's ideas and place them ahead of our own planning. I thought, hmmm, wonder if after all they spent, if the market has declined and no one is buying land to do developments, I wonder if the value of the property has dropped in the last twelve months. In order to better consider this, I looked at waterfront property that has sold in the last few years....50 acres plus. Here is how it pans out:

2011. There was one property sale (waterfront land over 50 acres). It sold for $2,074,000. This was for 277 acres and it sold for $7487 per acre.

2012. There was one property sale (waterfront land over 50 acres). It sold for $201,000 and was for 75 acres. The cost per acre was $2680.

2013. Two properties sold.   One for $170,000 for 59.2 acres at a cost per acre of $2871.   The second for $367,500 for 121 acres at a $3037/acre cost.

2014. Again, two sold. One for $185,000 for 84.7 acres at a per acre cost of $2,184. The second for 725,000 for 99.11 acres at a cost of $7315.10.

2015.......hmmm, none. So I looked at the next step down in our MLS which is 20 to 50 acres and yes, there has been one property sold. 

Sales price of $315,000 for a parcel that is 42.78 acres. This for $7363/acre.

These numbers are from the full MLS from the NN Assocation of Realtors. I did not limit it to the four counties of the Northern Neck. Nor those counties plus Essx or those counties plus King George. I just left it for all counties. The majority of our listings come from the four or five counties but other counties are represented in our MLS.

To put the sold numbers in perspective I'm going back into our MLS and look at what is active in those two waterfront segments. Will have that in a minute. Back again.....So there are 8 properties that are 50 acres plus, waterfront and active on the market. For the segment 20-50 there are 12. And looking at some of the 50 acre pieces I see a parcel that is a much better fit for the Fones Cliffs development plan and that would be down at Bluff Point. Close to Kilmarnock and amenities, you'd be able to probably have reasonable pier access.....it is at an asking price of about $3.5 million and so much less expensive. We can only hope that whoever the big developer is who is looking to build on the Northern Neck--that after they do their homework they see that there are some great deals out there, and Fones Cliffs is not the place to put their dollars. We'll see what this rezoning really is all about, although it may take some time. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, November 29, 2015  12:08:55 PM
November Northern Neck residential sales update 0 Comments Posted

Here we are almost to the end of November and as I've been discussing most recently, it will be interesting to see if we end the year on an uptick, or if sales will be the same as 2014. Although we won't know until this year is over, what I have here does give us a fair indication.

The numbers below are for the full year for 2013 and 2014. Obviously 2015 is only up to yesterday, the 22nd of November. It tells me that at least for waterfront residential we shouldn't have a problem exceeding 2014. For the overall residential market, well that may be a different story.

Residential sales Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2013
  All residential Waterfront residential
# sold 405 199
$ sold (millions) 118.9 87.5
Median sales price 214,900 372,500
Median days on market 212 246

 

Residential sales Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2014
  All residential Waterfront residential
# sold 459 221
$ sold (millions) 130.9 98.2
Median sales price 212,500 371,000
Median days on market 211 231
 

 

Residential sales Jan. 1 through Nov. 22, 2015
  All residential Waterfront residential
# sold 414 217
$ sold (millions) 125.8 96.2
Median sales price 243,000 375,000
Median days on market 185 210
 

 

So it's easier if I run through the numbers here all in a row perhaps, rather than referring back and forth.

Residential market 2013, 2014 and 2015 to date: 405, 459 and 414

WF Residential market 2013, 2014 and 2015 to date: 199, 221, 217

Question is, will we catch up with 2014 in the overall market with 6 weeks to go and two big holidays in there (which can really complicate closings)? It is reasonable to expect we'll exceed 2014's sales numbers for the waterfront market given that we have 217 sold as of now and need only five more to put us ahead of 2014's number of 221.

 

Residential dollars 2013, 2014, and 2015 to date: 118.9, 130.9 and 125.8 (millions)

WF residential dollars 2013, 2014 and 2015 to date: 87.5, 98.2, 96.2 (millions)

The same question goes for overall dollars in the full residential market. Can't be 100% sure we'll exceed the waterfront dollars. Could be close.

 

Residential Median sales price 2013, 2014 and 2015 to date: 214,900, 212,500, 243,000

WF residential median sales price 2013, 2014 and 2015 to date: 372,500, 371,000, 375,000

Overall residential median sales price is up considerably in 2015 when looking at 2013 and 2014. Waterfront is up as well.

 

Residential median days on market 2013, 2014 and 2015 to date: 212, 211, 185

WF residential median days on market 2013, 2014 and 2015 to date: 246, 231, 210

Dropping median days on market says that we are getting healthier in our sales. Not such a long period of time from listing to closing. This is good!!

 

A little later this week I'm going to break out sales of waterfront homes by price and see how we've been doing this year in relationship to other years. Once again I'll look at the inventory factor. Yes, we have done this before, but this seems to be what people are most interested in.

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, November 23, 2015  8:08:29 AM
Northern Neck land sales update for November 2015 0 Comments Posted

As promised here are the numbers related to land sales. Just like the residential sales which seemed to be slowing this year, the same seemed true for land. The difference here is that we've decidedly fallen behind in 2015....there's no fudging these figures. Land is struggling, but that we knew. We just didn't know how much relative to the last couple of years. Now we do.

2013 sales 1/1 to 11/4 in four counties
  All land Waterfront only
# sold 100 45
$ sold 9.7 6.9
Median sales price 60,000 140,000
Median days on market 187 312
     

 

2014 sales 1/1 to 11/4 in four counties
  All land Waterfront only
# sold 118 58
$ sold 13.9 10.4
Median sales price 72,500 165,000
Median days on market 205 261
     

 

2015 sales 1/1 to 11/4 in four counties
  All land Waterfront only
# sold 101 39
$ sold 9.9 6.0
Median sales price 52,000 125,000
Median days on market 265 275
     

 

Active land on 11/4 in four counties
  All land Watefront only
# sold 927 414
$ sold 141.8 110.3
Median sales price 75,000 175,000
Median days on market 431 413
     

(Yes, I noticed that I have an extra row, but since I'm racing to get this information up before I'm out showing property today, I thought....I'll let it go. I doesn't hurt the information at all.)

So I can look at these numbers on the piece of paper I've written this down on since I'm taking it from my MLS. 

It may be easier to know that all land was 106, 118 to 101 if you are looking at 2013 to 2014 to 2015 (all for the timeframe 1/1 to 11/4) and then the actives are 927.

Then looking the same way at waterfront we have 45, 58 and 39 for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015, and the actives are 414. Given 39 sold waterfront lots and 414 active, it isn't hard to imagine why I often say to pepole we have ten years' worth of inventory in that category....it's very close.

Looking at median sales price for the waterfront it is 140,000 then 165,000 and then 125,000 in 2015. The median of the actives is 175,000.

The median days on market for active properties be they the total which has median days on market of 431, or the waterfront which is 413, is a very very long time. 

On the one hand these numbers aren't terribly encouraging, but on the other hand land sales were so poor in 2009 and 2010 and 2011, so this doesn't look so bad. It is just unfortunate that there is a slowing in 2015. Maybe once we get rid of the excess inventory in houses we can move forward and have this land sell...or at least a bigger percentage.

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, November 04, 2015  8:18:33 AM
November 1 residential sales numbers for the Northern Neck 0 Comments Posted

Here we are looking back at the last ten months and comparing them to the last coule of years. As I said earlier in the week, things seemed to be slowing down and it may be that by the end of the year we won't have that hoped-for increase in sales this year. Well the jury is still out. Obviously overall 2015 is looking like a better year than 2014 and that will be good for the Northern Neck. Only time will tell, but here's what's going on at this moment.

The below numbers are for the four counties of the Northern Neck (Lancaster, Northumberland, Westmoreland and Richmond). These numbers are for the period January 1 through November 1 for the respective years.

All residential sales 1/1 to 11/1
  2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold  297 341 383 394 844
$ sold (millions) 82.9 99.9 107.7 120.9 352.4
Median sales price 229,500 217,500 210,000 244,000 299,000
Median days on market 179 210 200 191

182.5

 

There was a considerable increase in sales in 2013 over 2012 (341/297) and then the increase between 2013 to 2014 was again fairly sizable at 383/341. At present with 394 sales in 2015 versus 383 in 2014 there isn't that great a difference in sales. Perhaps an indication of where we may end up with our 2015 sales. Then again 2015's median sales price is the highest of the four years and so the dollars are up.

Waterfront only, residential sales 1/1 to 11/1
  2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold  150 165 179 207 465
$ sold (millions) 59.9 72.7 78.9 93.1 277.8
Median sales price 356,250 365,000 368,000 380,500 465,000
Median days on market 195.5 228 214 212 196

2012 to 2013, 150 sold to 165...and increase of 15. 2013 to 2014, we have 165 sold to 179 sold which is an increase of 14. Then you look at 2014 to 2015 and what we have is 179 sold to 207 sold which is an increase of 28. That is the best number by far when looking at year over year changes, so the waterfront properties are selling better. Higher median sales price too. And although it doesn't look like we have too much inventory, I'd have to break it out in segments to show where properties are selling. That will come at a later date. Also, the land update will be posted a bit later this week.

Million dollar properties

Here's a little about the $1,000,000 plus market in waterfront residential property. I do like to follow this. This is for the same four counties and for the 1/1 to 11/1 timeframe.

5 sold in 2011

5 sold in 2012

6 sold in 2013

8 sold in 2014

11 sold in 2015

Of the 11 that sold so far this year the purchases were about half conventional and half cash, which is a shift. For a while it was almost always cash. Many of the properties that sold were sold at almost full price and sold quickly. That shows properties are being priced well and people are interested in them. That is a good thing. What should also be taken into account is that there are still 49 waterfront residences that are active priced at over $1,000,000. The property has to be the best of the best to be sold. (When looking at the actives I found it was interesting that there is one on there that has been on for a little over 2000 days. Then there is another that has been on in excess of 1000 days. This really shows having a client "who doesn't have to sell." But I wonder if they know what their odds are selling with 11 houses sold this year and 49 out there to be considered.) Not an easy portion of the market to be in if you are a seller, not by a long shot...still this is an improving segment and that's good news.

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, November 01, 2015  11:47:39 AM
Hmmm, I felt like things are slower 0 Comments Posted

It's funny. You see the information come onto the MLS day after day after day. You get a sense of what seems to be happening, but then there is no replacement for actually looking at the numbers. Something about that data suggested to me that we aren't doing as well this fall in terms of sales as we had last year. My guess, or my gut was correct. We're not.  This, of course, with a year where we have been doing better overall....but maybe we won't end up ahead if these months dial things back to about what 2014 was in total. We'll see.

Here are numbers for August 1 through October 27th. This is for waterfront residential (all) and then I'll just show the over $500,000 numbers for each year and the actives.

Waterfront residential sales 8/1 through 10/27
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 57 75 64 490
$ sold (millions) 22.7 32.2 26.0 286.5
Median sales price 343,000 375,000 381,250 452,500
Median days on market 228 169 204 196

Looking at properties price over $500,000 I found that 15 sold in 2013 in this period. Then 17 sold in 2014 in this period and 16 in 2015. At the moment we have 202 active waterfront properties in the four counties priced over $500,000. If you were to multiply 16 x 4 to approximately annualize our 2015 figures what we come up with is 3.125, or roughly 3 year's worth of inventory for those properties. 

If our total actives are 490, and we subtract out the 202 for the over $500,000 we are left with 288 actives. These are the waterfront properties priced under $500,000 currently on the market in the four counties. The number of solds in 2015 is 48. Multiplying that by four to annualize it we get 48x4=192. So really for this category we are close to a one year supply of listings. That's not bad. Then again you can't know how many listings have come off the market because some sellers don't tend to think that property sells this time of the year. This doesn't tell you anything definitive at all. Just that you'd far perfer to be in the under $500,000 category than in the over $500,000 category when trying to sell waterfront residential property in the Northern Neck right now.

It was just a feeling but the numbers bear me out. Sales in 2014 at 75 were better than the 64 we've experienced in that same time frame. Don't know if this means something significant, but it will be interesting to see how the year finishes out.

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, October 27, 2015  9:11:48 AM
A few waterfront numbers 0 Comments Posted

Having looked at the inventory of $300,000 to $500,000 waterfront properties for the Fones Cliffs discussion, I thought, well let's look at all waterfront in a county by county way. That is what I did on October 13. So the numbers below are for all sold and then all active county by county.

In Westmoreland county there were 39 residences (WF) sold by mid October of this year.  There are 85 active. That gives us a 2.17 multiple.

Northumberland county had 82 residences (WF) sold with 242 active and a multiple of 2.95 actives to solds.

Lancaster county, 66 sold, 175 active and a multiple of 2.65.

Richmond county, 7 sold, 6 active and a multiple of 0.857.

All the counties except for Richmond have a two to three year set of inventory available to purchase (actives). Richmond county that has very few properties for sale doesn't even have a full years' worth of inventory available as an active.

Looking at this you can see that these counties are very different in their selling situation and inventory. So there are different dynamics in different locations. And lots of factors come into play. Some want to be exclusively on the Potomac or the Rappahannock River in order to have access to friends. Some want to be within a given driving distance of a big city and that reduces the locations they will look at. Obviously price is always a factor. I do think this is interesting though, for some feel as if Westmoreland county has a lot of listings but relative to Northumberland and Lancaster there are far fewer listings and far fewer solds.

On one other note, if you would like to get an overview of the Fones Cliffs controversy, it was on Page 1 of the Richmond Times Dispatch this past Saturday, the 17th of October. I bet you can pull it up that way. Do keep in mind that much as the history and the environment and the eagles seems to be the biggest story, there's another side. I believe that people will not want to spend that sort of money for property where you don't have easy water access--that you could spend the same money for a true waterfront home is key to the fact that Fones Cliffs is not an appropriate form of development...at least not at this time.

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, October 23, 2015  8:16:48 AM
The Fones Cliffs discussion 0 Comments Posted

This has been an ongoing discussion and subject for many meetings and has also had many review periods by local government (I believe since February or March). Some of you may know about this controversial project and others not. What is most interesting about it is that it brings up so many of the best and the worst things about our local living. It shows strengths and weaknesses. 

A quick review of strengths includes how beautiful the Northern Neck is. How rich in natural resources and most particularly the rivers and creeks that are filled with wildlife. This is a land of relative calm and not too much traffic. One in which you can stop and feel real natural occurances all the time....they are around every corner. Included in that is the largest bald eagle population on the east coast. And an area where migrating eagles take a stop over because the conditions are great. This is not your standard set of natural beauty, nor a standard set of just the right salinity, old treee growth, privacy etc.

There is a large tract of land...I'll have to check, probably two hundred acres. It is located on the Warsaw side of the Rappahannock River and is upriver (toward Fredericksburg.) It has special significance on a number of levels due to its topography and also its location. The owner of this property has  in the past been in negotiations with National Park Service over the sale of it. For whatever reasons these have fallen through and come to no avail. Then enter a consultant and a recommendation for a rezoning application.

Given that Richmond county is challenged since there need to be more jobs and opportunities, this project might seem at first blush to be a benefit to the community. Listen, though, to what is proposed.....700 homes, many of which would be town homes. Then a golf course and an equestrian center as well as a world class restaurant. This in a location that is essentially equi-distant from Oak Grove, Montross and Warsaw. Essentially out in the middle of nowhere. What becomes very very clear to me is that although the owner/resident might thoroughly enjoy their specific location, when it came time to move out to the community at large, they would need to travel perhaps 20 to 30 minutes to the closest store. And these stores wouldn't be anything fancy...they would be your basic country stores. There aren't a half dozen significant restaurants within that half an hour. So what do these people do other than enjoy that one location? 

To an outsider it might seem quite simple that of course this would appeal to people. From the outsider perspective I would have to say that it makes perfect sense that a flood of people would come here and buy and it would be a sellers' market all the time. We're close to all sorts of major markets....DC, Northern Virginia, Richmond, Fredericksburg....even people from Annapolis and Norfolk do come here. But the flood of people--that isn't the case. Right now we have sold 68 waterfront homes in the $300,000 to $500,000 price point. This is in the entire Northern Neck and for the period January 1 through October 10. That really isn't a lot of homes.....not when you are talking 700 proposed. If you sold 100 per year it would take 7 years. Not only that these homes aren't waterfront. They are near the cliffs and may or may not have a view (with maybe 30 or 40 steps down to a kayak kind of pier, I believe), but still....if most people from out of the area come here for waterfront, I'd have to ask why would buying into a community like this make sense.

Getting back to another number...an important one.....we have 193 active waterfront residential listings in the four counties right now (with 68 sold). That pretty much says we have close to three years' worth of inventory waiting for the potential buyer to consider. In my experience people come here to have their little piece of paradise. That includes a bit of privacy and the ability to walk down to a beach or walk down to a pier and jump on a boat (their private pier with their own boat)....not being clustered in with all their neighbors...a place truly of their own.

There's no question that Richmond county, and really all the counties of the Northern Neck need more industry and a place for people to work at real careers after they've finished college.  I have been here close to 25 years and the lack of real jobs has been an ongoing concern and saga. Two of the speakers at the meeting last week were "20-somethings" and they said something that I hadn't heard before.....they said, we don't need jobs here in Richmond county, what we need are careers. And would the Fones Cliffs development offer any careers? Well the answer was pretty clear....with a golf course and an equestrian facility and a restaurant....what sort of jobs would it bring to the community....as someone else said at the meeting, they weren't sending their kids to college to become a maid.

There probably isn't a perfect solution to all of this at this moment. The Supervisors have decided to continue reviewing this proposal and not make a decision as yet. We do need some sort of shot in the arm to get the county going but this plan isn't it. Maybe there can be a significant modification to the proposal that might work. I don't know. And understand, most of the people who spoke against the proposed development did so because this is the most significant bald eagle location in the East. That is important. Also there was John Smith event and so it has historic signficance right down to the Indians who lived here. Lots to talk about. Lots to consider. Possible run off from a golf course. Possible disturbing of .......it goes on and on. But just speaking practically as a Realtor, we have lots of property to sell and it is what people do buy. Probably we should sell that and not try to start with something which has failed in other locations on the Northern Neck. As I concluded my little two cents at the meeting....in over 20 years I've never picked up the phone and had someone say, hey, can you find me a townhouse?

--Kathryn (Kathryn Murray, principal broker, 804-450-4442 cell)

 

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, October 12, 2015  8:32:35 AM
Land sale numbers as promised 0 Comments Posted

Here are the sales over the last three years (including 2015) for January 1 through October 1. This is for the four counties of the Northern Neck (Westmoreland, Richmond, Lancaster and Northumberland). The approach below is a bit different from how I usually put up numbers. I couldn't figure out the perfect display and so you will see that I go year-by-year with the price point increasing. That runs left to right. (A subset is included in each of the yearly charts--that subset is for waterfront lots only. This way you can see if they are a big or small percentage of the overall sales for a given price point.) This is arranged so you scroll down to see succeeding years starting with 2013, then 2014 and concluding with 2015. At the conclusion of the charts  the total number of actives is listed within each price category. Can't say this is the most encouraging news, but the market does have some activity in it. You be the judge. Here we go!

Land sales, 4 counties Jan. 1 through Oct. 1, 2013
  up to $100,000 $100,000 to $200,000 $200,000 to $400,000 $400,000 plus
# sold 58 17 14 1
$ sold (millions) 1.9 2.2 3.4 500,000*
Median sales price 25,000 138,000 220,000 500,000
Median days on market 173 211 359 1263
Subset wf #sold 11 13 12 1
Subset wf total $ sold  651,200* 1.7 2.9 500,000
Subset wf median days on market 421 212 359 1263

*not in millions

All land, 4 counties Jan. 1 through Oct. 1,  2014

  up to $100,000 $100,000 to $200,000 $200,000 to $400,000 $400,000 plus
# sold 48 25 29 2
$ sold (millions) 1.25 3.3 7.2 1.16
Median sales price 23,000 142,500 231,500 581,250
Median days on market 333.5 153 157 67
Subset wf #sold 6 19 23 2
Subset wf total $ sold 245,000* 2.7 5.6 1.16
Subset wf median days on market 808 295 202 67

*not in millions

All land, 4 counties Jan. 1 through Oct. 1,  2015

  up to $100,000 $100,000 to $200,000 $200,000 to $400,000 $400,000 plus
# sold 59 14 16 3
$ sold (millions) 1.9 1.9 4.1 1.4
Median sales price 32,000 117,500 252,500 465,000
Median days on market 271 343 178.5 55
Subset wf #sold 12 12 12 3
Subset wf total $ sold 602,000* 1.7 3.0 1.4
Subset wf median days on market 478 415 164 55

Actives are:  Up to $100,000, there are 589 lots for sale at the moment

                    $100,000 to $200,000 there are 152 lots for sale.

                    $200,000 to $400,000 there are 134 lots for sale.

                    At the $400,000 plus price point there are 49 lots for sale.

So lets look at this in the context of what we've sold this year. 

Total lots up to $100,000 there have been 48 sold thus far this year. So there is considerably more than ten times that much in inventory (589 actives) Next we have the 152 lots available at the $100,000 to $200,000 price point....with 14 having sold so far this year there is a bit in excess of ten times as much active inventory. Now $200,000 to $400,000....we have 16 sold total thus far and so a mulitiple of a bit more than 8 times.  And last but also interesting is the $400,000 plus category. Three have sold and 49 available....so 16 times as much available inventory as has sold thus far this year. That is a rather sobering thought I would think for any seller in this category.

Since it is a bit hard to look at these charts the same way as I can on paper, let me see if I can give a bit of perspective. In the up to $100,000 category there were 58 sold (2013), 48 sold (2014) and 59 sold (2015).....not a huge difference in numbers and not a huge variation in the dollars. The percentage of waterfront isn't that big for any of the years relative to total sales.

For $100,000 to $200,000 we had sales of 17 (2013), 25 (2014) and then 14 (2015).  Median sales price was fairly close with $138,000, $142,500 and then finally $117,00 (2015 was the lowest). The percentage of waterfront lots is significant in this category, always making up more than half of the sales....probably almost 3/4s.

The price point $200,000 to $400,000 had 14 sales (2013), 29 sales (2014) and 12 sales (2015). Again, with this price point the lots that sold are at least 3/4s waterfront listings.

$400,000 plus with 1 sold in 2013, 2 sold in 2014 and 3 sold in 2015...and 49 actives.....well you tell me if we have a trend here?

Please call or email me if I can help you with a buying or selling project. --Kathryn Murray, principal broker, 804-450-4442 cell or kam129@aol.com

 

 

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, October 04, 2015  1:50:23 PM
Water, water....and later land 0 Comments Posted

Good morning. I promised land information and I've completed a lot of research that will posted by late today. Quite interesting given how I've broken it out. I think you'll find it worthwhile. Today is a mixed blessing in that I intended for it to be catch up and that I'd get this research up early, but a call last night at 7 p.m. told me I was going to be showing a property....and I am thankful for that for the seller and for the possibilities. It would have been a good day too, had I stayed home, but so is the nature of real estate.

I'm going to have to go to my appointment "the back way." This because I am sure that the causeway area right near the Catpoint Creek bridge will be completely covered. Even if I were to go with the CRV I'm sure I'd have to turn around. This doesn't happen very often...and all the piers are covered with water out front. The bulkhead has about 6 inches of water coming over it which is highly unusual. We had our power out for about an hour and a half  yesterday afternoon. So although we've been very lucky, we're feeling the consequences of all that weather that is pummeling the Carolinas.

I'll be back with the numbers later this afternoon....--Kathryn

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, October 04, 2015  9:24:02 AM
Waterfront residential broken out more thoroughly 0 Comments Posted

Thought I'd try to do a bit better job looking at the waterfront residential sales numbers. For that reason I've broken out a bunch of price points and this is for the four counties of the Northern Neck (Richmond, Lancaster, Northumberland and Westmoreland) for the time from January 1 through September 27 for the respective years.

Waterfront residential priced up to $200,000
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 15 13 12 30
$ sold (millions) 2.5 2.1 1.6 4.9
Median sales price 162,500 164,000 136,250 176,000
Median days on market 306 224 277 214.5

Actually declining sales in this segmen. with 2.5 times as much inventory as has sold thus far this year. Considerably reduced median sales price. Considerable increase in median days on market. Rather sizable disconnect between the median sales price in 2015 and the median sales price of the actives. $136,250 for 2015 and $176,000 for the Active listings.

Waterfront residential priced $200,000-$300,000
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 29 31 38 91
$ sold (millions) 7.1 7.6 9.3 24.1
Median sales price 245,000 245,000 244,000 269,000
Median days on market 299 266 240 186

A pretty good improvment in sales. Holding our own in the median sales price...right around $245,000 for all three years. Somewhat reduced median days on market. And there are 2.4 times as many actives as has sold in 2015.

 

Waterfront residential priced $300,000-$400,000
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 36 30 45 108
$ sold (millions) 12.3 10.2 15.8 38.8
Median sales price 339,750 342,500 355,000 359,500
Median days on market 232 258 212 159.5

Greatly improved number of sales in 2015 versus 2014 (45 this year rather than 30 for last year). Increased median sales price and reduced median days on market for 2015. Again, 2.4 times as much inventory as solds in 2015.

 

Waterfront residential priced $400,000-$500,000
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 28 26 23 95
$ sold (millions) 11.1 11.3 10.0 43.6
Median sales price 412,950 441,250 430,650 450,000
Median days on market 346 161.5 158 161

2015 shows the lowest sales of the three years we're reviewing here. Lower median sales price when looking at 2015 versus 2014. Fewer median days on market. With 95 actives there is 4.1 times as many actives as homes that have sold in 2015. More than any other segment we've looked at thus far. 

 

Waterfront residential priced $500,000-$600,000

  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 14 10 25 48
$ sold (millions) 7.3 5.1 13.1 26.9
Median sales price 525,000 522,000 515,000 550,000
Median days on market 201 345.5 267 164.5

A real improvement in sales in this segment. Wow, 2.5 times as many homes sold in 2015 as in 2014. Median sales price is slightly lower this year, but median days on market is quite improved in 2015 over 2014. There are 1.9 times as many actives as solds which makes this the healthiest segment of them all so far.

Waterfront residential priced $600,000-$800,000
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 14 14 19 79
$ sold (millions) 9.4 9.3 12.4 55.6
Median sales price 669,000 656,550 625,000 695,000
Median days on market 192 201 249 182

2015 is a better year for this segment with more sales. The median sales price is down a bit and the median days on market is up in 2015. The total actives is 4.1 times as many as those that have sold in 2015. Not a great number for sellers.

Waterfront residential priced $800,000-$1,200,000

  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 12 9 13 46
$ sold (millions) 10.1 8.1 11.7 43.8
Median sales price 827,500 915,000 875,000 899,000
Median days on market 347 273 133 215

Nothing to really write home about here. No real significant trend or improvement. Reduced Median days on market which is nice. There are 3.5 times as many actives as number of solds for 2015. Kind of in the middle of those numbers with our lowest having been 1.9 with the $500,000 to $600,000 and the highest thus far at 4.1 for the $600,000 to $800,000 group of homes.

Waterfront residential priced $1,200,000 plus

  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 4 4 8 37
$ sold (millions) 7.2 7.8 11.1 66.1
Median sales price 1.8 1.8 1.3 1.5
Median days on market 302 208.5 158.5 194

Big improvement in sales, up 100% in 2015 over 2014 sales. Median sales price is signficantly lower for 2015 when looking at the prior two years. Median days on market is really improved. The number of actives is 4.6 times as many as have sold in 2015 which is the largest number for any of these groups. Still, a big improvement with twice as many homes selling at this price point as had sold in either of the previous two years. 

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, September 27, 2015  5:21:01 PM
An update on residential sales numbers--good news 0 Comments Posted

Here we are almost to the end of September. We've been having a good year overall and the numbers as of September 20th support that. This is for just that period of time (1/1 to 9/20) in the four counties of the Northern Neck--Westmoreland, Lancaster, Richmond and Northumberland.

Take a look.

Residential sales, 4 counties, 1/1 to 9/20
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 284 299 336 908
$ sold 84.3 83.4 104.3 376.7
Median sales price 220,000 210,000 244,000 309,750
Median days on market 210.5 212 175 162

There's a significant improvement with 336 sales this year. Significant dollar improvement too with over $100,000,000 in sales.  The median sales price is up and the median days on market is down. Not bad...not bad at all.

Waterfront residential sales, 4 counties, 1/1 to 9/20
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 142 132 173 530
$ sold 63.5 59.5 80.8 301.2
Median sales price 375,000 370,000 397,400 449,000
Median days on market 255 250 210 172

Quite an improvement in this market particularly. More sales, significantly more dollars, higher median price point and the lowest number of median days on market with 210. This is an improving market. Good for sellers and it shows that buyers are motivated to buy as well. 

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, September 22, 2015  12:45:38 PM
Real estate can be confusing 0 Comments Posted

In the process of doing my real estate job I find that very often people are confused by what we, as Realtors, do. This may be buyers, this may be sellers, and truly, I understand. There are times when I'm not completely sure that all of this is so very clear to me.

Imagine, you have a job where you assist sellers to sell their houses (we'll do buyers another day soon). You go out and look for listings or people come to you for whatever reason and you end up with listings. Part of your job is to help your sellers look realistically at the market while discussing the listing in a preliminary way, but you know what? That can backfire. If you tell a seller what their property is worth based on the last six month's of market activity, you may no longer be the Realtor they want to work with. Now that isn't true of everyone, but the numbers of sellers who would rather you tell them the same price they've pretty much put on the table....well they are the majority. It can be painful....agree to an unrealistic price in the hopes that you can continue with the seller until it is priced to meet market expectations or lose the listing. In this market it has been more and more important to price property well, otherwise everyone may be uncomfortable for a long time.

I try to provide realistic information. I try to be as fair as possible. I really wish that everyone could sell their property for exactly what they want for it and be fully compensated for every improvement....I do wish that were so. It doesn't happen like that. Just like I can't get back the couple of hundred shares of Apple I bought at 12 and sold for 16.....oh, but I wish. Also, and you read this in some of the big city newspaper real estate columns...somewhere in the equation of selling a house there should be the enjoyment and use you got out of the house factored in.....it isn't supposed to be all a big gain.....this isn't the stock market where it is just a "piece of paper" out there in the netherworld that goes up in price or goes down....there's utility in the house.....you've lived there. Okay, maybe you aren't buying it, but some sellers do and I think they are right to see that there was a timeframe that the house took care of their needs and may very well be key to some of their best experiences and memories.

Sellers are looking for an edge. They want to get ahead of the pack. They want to sell quickly. They want their very best price. All of this is reasonable, but then the market steps in and what the seller wants may not be possible. Sometimes the seller focuses on firms because they have a  extra name recognition. Well imagine in the hypothetical that X agent with a sizable firm has 50 plus listings.....do you think each seller is getting a lot of attention? And realize that the same agent is also out with buyers, as well as needing to keep track of their sellers. We small guys don't have those kinds of listing numbers to deal with....with a handful of houses at most and perhaps some land (which really is a very difficult sell....and is really a waiting game, if that)....we do our best and we know all our clients names.....immediately.

Sometimes sellers would like their property in the Northern Virginia MLS (the MRIS system).....I always wonder about this. I tried putting my listings in there for a time period and spent quite a bit of extra money on the service and never got a single phone call based on having a listing in MRIS. What I explain to sellers is this....you have a listing agreement with our firm (or another local firm). We take the listing and put it in our Northern Neck MLS. It immediately is available to our local Realtors who are part of the Northern Neck Association of Realtors' MLS. These almost 200 individuals have web sites and the listing goes onto each of those web sites. Those same Realtors are the agents who have been contacted by people from all over the U.S. and sometimes the world in search of the perfect Northern Neck property. We have lists. We have prospective clients. We check the new listings daily.

Just in that first step (listing going into local MLS) you have touched upon the most likely way that you will sell your property. From that entry into MLS the listing also goes to dozens of syndicated real estate web sites. These include Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Homes.com.....and I could check the syndication page and add a whole bunch more but I won't. What this means is the listing is OUT THERE.....OUT THERE to the world. Putting it into MRIS is totally redundant. As a person in Northern Virginia who is a buyer, where would you go to look for Northern Neck listings? Would you look for web sites in the Northern Neck? Would you be interested in talking to someone who lives in the area and knows the area and can assist you with local perspective? I would expect so. Would you look in the Northern Virginia MLS for Northern Neck listings? Would you be asking a Northern Virginia Realtor about property they have never seen in an area they probably have never traveled to? Does this make better sense now?

I recently had a friend of mine tell me that she was going to use an Northern Virginia Realtor to sell her Northern Neck property. She explained to me that this Realtor had all these friends and all this access to Northern Virginia Realtors. Well there comes a point when you've told people again and again how the system works and you just say....oaky....if that's what you want to do....and let it go. What I really have found is that as a Realtor I am very important to whomever I'm working with  until they get tired of what I say and decide that they know better. Everyone has the potential to be an armchair Realtor and so much as we have lots of experience and this job isn't easy....I do find that people who don't hear what they want to hear or don't get the results they want in a given time consider us either to be incapable or not really necessary. This is not an easy job. You create your day one by one and do the best that you can with the cards you are played. Recently I had a very good year selling real estate. Recently I had a very bad year selling real estate. And what was the difference? I didn't work any less hard in the year that I didn't sell that well. I worked just as hard if not harder. The chips just didn't fall right. Maybe the right properties didn't show up for my buyer clients. Maybe the person who needed to get financing to buy that property wasn't able to do so and so after spending countless hours finding the right property....the financing contingency couldn't be met. Really, imagine having a job where there are so very many many facets you can't control......I hadn't intended for this to go down this road, but I think it tells you something. Those smiling faces on those crisp printed cards are people who pay their dues...and often work really hard and can just easily not get paid as get paid. Appreciate a Realtor.....they really are working for you.

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, September 18, 2015  1:00:58 PM
Subdivisions, an interesting topic 0 Comments Posted

Recently I've had buyers who have either expressed a strong interest in living in a subdivision, while others have been extremely opposed to the idea. With my now many years living on the Northern Neck I've seen quite a bit related to this concern and would like to give you some insights. First and foremost subdivisions on the Northern Neck may be 100 different things and not anything you've experienced if you are coming from a metropolitan area with suburbs that have subdivisions. So consider asking about them before you rule them out completely. It may be that your needs can be met in that setting.

For the most part subdivisions serve a rather good purpose here. Yes, I have heard of one where the architectural committee told someone they couldn't paint their front door red (and I believe that harkens to big town subdivisions) but really that is the exception.

Subdivisions provide common amenities and often they are a plus for people coming here and wanting to enjoy the area. You can meet people, you can perhaps pick up a game of tennis,  your kids can take friends to the pool, there may be a beach that one can ride a bicycle to....there are real plusses.

Some locations on the Northern Neck, beautiful though they may be, can almost be too remote. When I first moved here my husband and I lived in a "subdivision" where our house was the only house (later more houses were built...probably about 10). The total property for this subdivision is 150 acres and the only common thread (other than the covenants which meant that there were no trailers or double-wides allowed, and there is a minimum square footage requirement) is the road. There is a road maintenance agreement and each lot owner chips in $100/year to aid in the upkeep. That's it. No amenities. Nothing else shared. Yes, restrictions, but minimal, but worthwhile.

Although we were in a subdivision it felt exceedingly rural and remote. What really made clear that we were totally nowhere was when hunting season came in, specifically deer hunting with dogs--a special hunting time that runs from Thanksgiving until the 1st of the year. Our location was such that dogs chased deer down to our point and then circled around and around and sometimes seemed lost. We'd end up calling hunters to get the dogs and when you hardly know anyone, inviting hunters down to your secluded home may feel like a bit of a drama. It all worked out, but I now realize that sometimes it is helpful to not be too remote.

There are subdivisions where people are very active and have quarterly meetings and have a newsletter to keep people informed. Some have a social get together at least once a year to get people involved. If you want in, then it is there and if not, you don't have to.

One subdivision I ran into years ago had put the minimum square footage for a house at 2000 square feet. Well that requirement became so problematic for owners who wanted to sell their lots. People wanted to come in and build a 1400 or 1600 square foot house and would have been willing to pay the price for these waterfront lots. They just weren't ready to build that big....they weren't coming here full time, so it is important to know what you are dealing with.

I believe, and don't hold me to this time frame exactly, about ten years ago the Property Owner Association of Virginia started to monitor the different subdivisions that fall under their jurisdiction (I believe these are the ones where each owner pays at least $250/year). The reason for this monitoring is that they wanted to be sure that the amenities would be funded. I have to believe that this concern arose out of experience somewhere where this wasn't done and so such things as pools or clubhouses, or whatever, became run down and there weren't funds. That can become an expensive proposition and since by and large subdivision annual fees are not terribly significant, to be hit with a special assessment because monies weren't being carefully watched or no one realized the pool was going to cost a bunch of money soon, would be really not pleasant.

When you buy into a subdivision that is a recognized Property Owners Association you get a package of information prior to closing. And you have to sign off that you've received same. The reason for this is part of the package shows you exactly how healthy the organization is--whether there are funds that are set aside and how well they are functioning within their annual budget. This sort of information is important and don't miss out on it if you are buying in a subdivision. Make sure you get a copy. This package also includes the restrictions and covenants....an important bit of information too....I heard of an instance where someone bought into a subdivision, didn't get the package.....assumed they could have a daycare center in their house and the restrictions were such that no, that couldn't happen. Not a good thing to learn after the fact.

So subdivisions can have almost no sway over a group, or may have truly minimal impacts or can be more strict. It all depends, but don't assume....ask and see if you really are concerned about their requirements.

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, September 17, 2015  5:01:37 PM
Sales numbers waterfront properties 0 Comments Posted

We've been going great guns this year with sales of waterfront residential properties. That was clearly spelled out in the post I put up around September 1. What I decided to do today was take a look at is how the 6 weeks we've just completed (give or take since I use August 1 through September 13) compares with the same six week period a year ago. I was hoping that it was stonger and I find that it isn't--that it is considerably weaker. I hope this 6 weeks in 2015 doesn't serve as any sort of a predictor of the future. I hope it is just another data point that will move into place to be part of a very successful sales year.

With that said, here are numbers for sales August 1 through September 13 for 2014 and 2015. Below the first chart I've also broken out the numbers at a variety of price points just to see if there are any trends there.

Waterfront res. sales 8/1-9/13 (4 counties)
  2014 2015 Active
# sold 39 26 526**
$ sold (millions) 17.8 11.9 299.5
Median sales price 395,000 437,500 449,000
Median days on market 169 352.5 167

What you can say about this year's sales is that the median price point is up and the median days on market is way way up. It says some long-standing properties...those that have been on the market for a long time.... have finally sold. This is an important step in our market.

**Out of curiosity I went back and looked at the number of actives from previous posts. What I found was that in January there were 404 waterfront residential listings that were active. By mid July that number was 535. Now with a fair number of sales the number is still at 526.

To see what the inventory looks like sometimes you annualize sales to find out what the "absorption rate" is. In appraiser's terms the absorption rate is how long it would take to sell everything we have on the market right now. Looking at the 26 sales we had in six weeks....if we simply multiply that number by 10 to make it easy (which is fairly close)....we see we have at least two years worth of inventory with the 526 (26 x 10=260 then multiply it by 2= 520)....actually a bit more. A fair amount of inventory but we've seen more demanding numbers in the past.

In the charts below we can look at how the above sales breaks out for the different years. First 2014 and then 2015.

2014 wf res. sales broken out by price point (same timeframe 8/1 through 9/13)
  Under $200,000 $200,000 to 400,000 $400,000 to 600,000 $600,000+
# sold 3 15 15 6
$ sold (millions) 445,000* 4.3 6.6 6.4
Median sales price 165,000 290,000 440,000 691,000
Median days on market 134 254 169 140

*not millions

2015 wf res. sales broken out by price point (same timeframe)
  Under $200,000 $200,000 to 400,000 $400,000 to 600,000 $600,000+
# sold 1 10 11 4
$ sold (millions) 132,000 3.0 5.4 3.4
Median sales price 132,000 308,750 489,500 737,500
Median days on market 154 165 355 448

The properties selling at above $400,000 in this time period this year have median days on market of 448. That's a lot of time. And even the $400,000 to $600,000 segment is running close to a year (with 355). Don't know exactly what is going on but suspect that sellers are bringing properties down to meet what they can really sell for. Some people who "really don't need to sell" actually really want to because they have determined their next step and holding on tight to the Northern Neck property waiting for the highest price may not be the best approach. We can't know what people's needs are but by the time they have called in a Realtor the assumption is that it isn't a whim, that there are reasons. 

And a couple of other sets of numbers. These I checked because I was curious. I looked at the price point of Waterfront Residential properties ($400,000 to $500,000) in the four counties in the last 6 months. So the period is 3/13/2015 through 9/13/2015.

There are 18 homes that have sold with an average median sales price of $435,000. Of those, 5 have been in Westmoreland county and all have been older except one. One of those five was originally listed at $675,000 and sold for $450,000. Another one sold for $435,000 when originally listed at $525,000. Those are significant price differentials.

I saw something else this morning while looking at sales information....something that surprised me and then again it really didn't. A high end property that I knew quite well and I knew the owners....well they didn't list with me and sometimes that is a good thing. Sometimes it works well to work with friends and other times, no. You can't get all hung up on whether or not you get this type of listing, otherwise real estate will be an even more difficult pursuit than it already is. Back to the point of all this....I saw the property go on the market with one of the big names. I saw the price and thought....hmmm.....that won't fly. But it wasn't my problem. Recently I saw that it sold and it sold at about 40% below asking price and I'm not talking about original asking price....I'm just saying below current asking price. I thought to myself, well I think I could sell a lot of my listings were the sellers to consider taking 40% below what is being asked. Many of my sellers will hardly consider 10%. This little anecdote is my way of saying, this business isn't simple and what you see may not be what you get. There are a huge number of variables that go into a successful sale and part of it may just be luck. We'd all like to think that we have control over most of what goes on in our lives, but it really isn't simple. When you think your Realtor should have all the answers, start to think about what they are supposed to know. Then think about the economists or other professionals who are supposed to predict things and don't get it right. They have far more at their disposal and believe it not, they are not expected to the expert in a broad number of categories....the list of what Realtors are supposed to know goes on and on. One of these days I'll expound on this, which may or may not interest you. I hope it will.

My last little bit of checking that I did relates to non waterfront residential properties in the same 6 month period in the four counties (3/13 to 9/13). I was curious how many foreclosures there are in that segment. We don't tend to talk about foreclosures in the Northern Neck too much, but they really are out there. Of the 77 properties that have sold in that category in the last 6 months, 18 of them were foreclosures. That's a little bit more than 23 percent. That has been making a real difference in other prices for that group. Wow!!

That's it for today. If you have a question you'd like researched pleae either call or email me, I'd be glad to look into it. --Kathryn (Kathryn Murray, principal broker, 804-450-4442 cell)

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, September 13, 2015  9:38:54 AM
Land sales in the Northern Neck 0 Comments Posted

As I said yesterday when I put up the numbers for residential real estate (which you should check if you didn't see it yet), here are the land sales for the same five year period. These are for properties in the four counties (Lancaster, Northumberland, Richmond and Westmoreland) and for the timeframe January 1 through August 31.

Land sales, 4 counties, January 1 through August 31
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 85 81 69 94 82 1001
$ sold (millions) 8.9 6.4 6.9 11.9 8.3 148.0
Median sales price 37,500 40,000 64,950 100,250 52,000 74,500
Median days on market 178 148 264 177 268 413

 

As we've seen all along, this is not an improving market--land is not selling well. This is the portion of our local real estate market that seems to move in one direction one year and then another the next and then back again and back again. Makes it hard to make any projections. 2014 was the best year of lot sales. The median sales price in 2015 isn't as low this year as in 2011 and 2012 (but is almost half of what it was in 2014). The median days on market in 2015 is the greatest number for the five years reviewed. Inventory, at over 1000 lots with 82 lots sold to date, is a really scary number if you need to sell a lot and soon.

Waterfront Land sales, 4 counties, January 1 through August 31

  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 25 29 32 44 31 449
$ sold (millions) 4.5 3.8 5.1 8.7 4.9 115.1
Median sales price 130,000 118,000 147,000 187,000 125,000 175,000
Median days on market 294 224 417.5 226 275 367

Now we look at waterfront lot sales. This isn't terribly different from the overall sales data. Fewer sales this year than last. Median sales price this year considerably below 2014's. Signficant days on market for sales this year although not terrible if you look at all five years....Active listings, well with a little more than 14 times the number of actives as the number of solds....that pretty much tells it all. With the median days on market for the actives at over a year....that tells about the amount of inventory that has been on the market and for a long time. Wish I could paint a rosy picture. Wish I could say that land is picking up, but it isn't. It makes perfect sense that we are perhaps selling off the residential inventory and getting closer to healthy there in the residential part of our market....once enough of that is sold off and there aren't the great deals to be had....well then purchasing land will make more sense to more people.

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, September 02, 2015  8:20:04 AM
Residential sales numbers in the Northern Neck of Virginia--an update 0 Comments Posted

It was really my hope that the trend showing that this is an improved market would shine through after the August numbers were in...here we are greeting September already which is hard to believe (and note that some Realtors don't get their information on closings in for a couple of days so there may be more sales that would qualify for 2015). Looking at what we have below for sales in the Northern Neck of Virginia four counties (Lancaster, Northumberland, Richmond and Westmoreland) we are doing well....the best that we have in years. Nice to see.

In total residential sales are doing better, but percentage wise when we look at the subset of waterfront residential sales, that is where there is the most improvement.

All residential, 4 counties, 1/1 through 8/31
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 241 235 259 278 298 903
$ sold (million) 66.5 65.6 77.1 78.5 91.5 375.5
Median sales price 204,500 215,500 220,000 205,000 240,000 315,000
Median days on market 172 169 212 203.5 164 154

 

Improved number of sales. Improved dollars. Highest median sales price within this five year period and fewest median days on market. That's good news!!

 

Waterfront residential, 4 counties, 1/1 through 8/31
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 112 117 129 123 151 521
$ sold (million) 48.8 47.4 57.9 56.2 70.2 299.0
Median sales price 363,000 359,500 375,000 370,000 390,000 449,000
Median days on market 211 176 282 231 212 158*

Almost 50% increase in number of properties sold from 2011 to 2015. That's good. Significant dollars more in 2015 than in any of the previous four years. Highest median sales price and a reduced median days on market in relationship to 2013 and 2014. Interesting. Good news. The trend is that we are in a better market and that property is selling. If you are interested in buying, you might seriously consider doing so soon.....people are out there buying which makes for a more challenging market for buyers....not a sellers market yet, but it could be coming.

Sometimes I'm just curious so I looked at the property that has been on the market the longest in the waterfront residential category. It has been on for 2987 days. And almost more fantastic than that length of consecutive days the fact that when it was put on in 2007 there hasn't been a single price change makes me absolutely astounded. What is this seller thinking? What is the Realtor thinking? Any Realtor worth their salt wouldn't show the property....there isn't the value there, so what is going on? Well, not my problem.

I'll put together the land numbers either late today or in the morning. It's fun to get to the end of the month and see where things stand. We aren't just speculating, we're watching the numbers unfold. --Kathryn  (Kathryn Murray, 804-450-4442 cell)

 

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, September 01, 2015  7:52:51 AM
Northern Neck Real Estate 0 Comments Posted

After the stock market's roller coaster ride of the past week or so it seems perfectly reasonable to ask the question whether that has changed our market dynamics. There really isn't much of a way to know right now. The people who have been looking for property continue to look. I think that what is significant here is that our market is still a buyer's market. In other markets where the tides have turned so thoroughly that this has become a seller's market, well yes, that stock market hit would probably take more of a toll.

What seems to be important here is that you can often get a lot of value for your dollars. When looking at having money in the stock market or placing it in a property that would have cost you 20 or 30 or 40% less as recently as 7 or 8 years ago....well that should cause someone to pause and seriously consider a purchase....if they've been in the market. 

We still have low interest rates. The cost of gas is low and no longer a big factor in getting to and from the Northern Neck. And as I look around I see an area which is really so beautiful as to be hard to resist. Although I do believe this place feels a little big like nowhere, we aren't far from lots of somewheres. There is Richmond and Fredericksburg and DC really. Those aren't so far away. Then Norfolk, Virginia Beach, even places like Annapolis are reasonable for a quick round trip for an event.

Where I grew up, outside of New York City, the idea of owning a waterfront home within 3 hours of the city and not paying a zillion dollars would be laughable. Here there are properties within three hours of DC that are waterfront and under $400,000 or even under $300,000. This is really something! So time will tell if people are becoming more cautious (I'll compare the fourth quarter of the previous five years once that data is in....have to put it on my calendar for the end of the year....otherwise it won't happen), but after years of caution and with prices at what well may be the all-time low, the Northern Neck is an area to strongly consider. A different type of lifestyle that has real value. And by the way, numbers update tomorrow.

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, August 31, 2015  8:20:15 AM
Northumberland and Lancaster waterfront land sales 0 Comments Posted

Sometimes it is interesting to look at how the market is doing in a more segmented way. For that reason I decided recently to look at how well waterfront lot sales have been in Northumberland and Lancaster county. Funny how these two counties are sometimes quite similar in what they have to offer and then again how totally different they are.

If you'd allow me....just think about it. Northumberland county includes Callao, Heathsville, Reedville and all of that Potomac frontage and lots of creeky waterfront. Just an incredible amount of creeky waterfront. Then you come around and there are portions that are right there on the Bay as well as on a most beautiful river, the Great Wicomico. Reedville and the vicinity seem to be waterfront everywhere you look. So lots and lots of variation just in Northumberland. And Northumberland comes very close to Kilmarnock, so there is a long stretch there between Wicomico Church and Kilmarnock which is all Northumberland waterfront. Yes, creeks, but many of them deep water (which is not so along much of the lower Northumberland-on-the-Potomac-side creeks) and these same creeks from Wicomico Church almost to Kilmarnock are an easy distance to the Bay. Very very different types of waterfront.

Move over and look at Lancaster's waterfront. There is a great variety of waterfrontage that includes just moments outside of Kilmarnock either toward the Bay or over toward the lower Corrotoman. There's the waterfrontage that runs between Kilmarnock and White Stone which is all on creeks close to the Bay. There is Windmill Point outside of White Stone which is a totally different world altogether....totally beautiful in its location and presence so close to huge water, but then again just a tiny point of land if the weather ever got really bad and you didn't get out of Dodge. To each their own. I can see how spectacular that location is and for some it is just the right place. I can see how for others it is just too exposed. Beautiful, however you look at it.

Then come back up the Northern Neck to the beautiful creeks that are off the lower Rappahannock River....the Irvington area, and wrap your way back to Weems with the various Corrotoman waterfrontage. Travel up Route 3 and see the waterfrontage on the Rt. 3 side of the Corrotoman, or travel up to Lively and run across White Chapel Road to River Road to find a whole other world of waterfrontage. Truly, there is nothing that is the same about waterfrontage in either county.

So now you say, will you give us some numbers and I will, but waterfrontage is so different that this information is most relevant when you look at the sold properties in particular to see what really sold. The numbers do help a bit, though.

Northumberland & Lancaster waterfront land sales

1/1 through 8/19 priced under $100,000

  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 4 10 8 4 8 96
$ sold  187,000 458,500 416,000 142,000 398,400 6.8 million
Median sales price 48,750 42,250 56,000 34,750 46,450 75,000
Median days on market 522 288.5 417.5 808.5 486 411

 

Northumberland and Lancater waterfront lots 1/1 through 8/19                         priced  $200,000 to $400,000

  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 5 5 10 15 7 100
$ sold (millions) 1.16 1.15 2.4 3.6 1.97 28.6
Median sales price 227,500 217,500 213,500 240,000 295,000 271,500
Median days on market 270 133 359 207 93 355

 

Northumberland and Lancater waterfront lots 1/1 through 8/19 priced  $400,000+ 

  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 2 1 1 2 1 38
$ sold (millions) 930,000* 400,000* 500,000* 1.16 415,000* 38.8
Median sales price 465,000 400,000 500,000 581,250 415,000 547,000
Median days on market 233 1653 1263 67 45 353

* not in millions 

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, August 20, 2015  10:15:56 AM
Land sales update--5 year perspective 0 Comments Posted

As I promised yesterday with the update on residential sales, here are the land numbers for the four counties of the Northern Neck for the timeframe January 1 through July 31st. What you'll see below is a resounding lack of any type of trend. It says you just can't tell where this is going in terms of a market. We still have too much residential inventory for land to be seeing the sort of pick up in sales that we'd like.

All land sales Jan.1 through July 31 (4 counties)
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 74 68 61 83 71 956
$ sold (millions) 7.6 5.3 6.5 10.5 6.8 136.2
Median sales price 36,500 40,000 75,000 90,000 52,000 74,950
Median days on market 202 130 287 168 265 420.5
 

Wouldn't you agree? No clear trend in this five year sequence. Higher numbers in 2011 than any other year except 2014.  Lower median sales price in 2015 than in the two preceeding years. Median days on market are up for those properties selling in 2015. Lots of inventory too!! 

All waterfront land sales Jan. 1 through July 31 (4 counties)

  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 22 24 31 35 27 427
$ sold (millions) 3.9 2.96 4.96 7.4 3.8 104.3
Median sales price 125,000 116,500 144,000 195,000 115,000 175,000
Median days on market 294.5 213 414 245 315 354
 

Waterfront land sales are fairly similar to the overall land sales in that there isn't really a trend. The two years with better sales than 2015 were 2013 and 2014. But look at the dollars....the 27 sales thus far in 2015 are not the equal in terms of dollars sold as the 22 sold in 2011. Median sales price this year is the lowest of the five years.....lots of median days on market for 2015. Clearly what we have here is no trend at all.

--Kathryn,  Kathryn Murray, Principal Broker, 804-450-4442 cell

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, August 06, 2015  10:30:53 AM
Overview numbers for residential sales through July 31 0 Comments Posted

We know quite well from following the sales statistics from the last few months that 2015 is shaping up to be the best year since we had the screeching halt resulting from 2008 and the banking debacle. This is good news for sellers and in all probability it is good news for buyers. Part of what is going on is that sales are finally occuring on properties that have been on and off the market for years. The reality has set in.  People can't stay here forever and wait for the market to take off. It isn't taking off. It is improving but only after prices have been adjusted to reflect what people will buy. None of this can be helped. We've had a lot of inventory and it's taking a long time for that to move, but these numbers show we are definitely going in the right direction.

Although I often include Essex county in this, I have left it out. For me Essex is part of the Northern Neck since it is an area that I work regularly. And there are special aspects about all the counties...I could say that Westmoreland being closer to Fredericksburg and DC has a special appeal. Obviously Essex, since it is closer to Richmond has that extra appeal for the. Well you have to make a choice somewhere so for today's purposes, this is the four counties of the Northern Neck, Westmoreland, Northumberland, Lancaster and Richmond.

All residential sales Jan. 1 through July 31 (4 counties)
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 189 200 219 219 259 923
$ sold (millions) 52.2 53.7 64.9 58.4 81.5 384.6
Median sales price 191,000 201,225 210,000 187,000 250,000 320,800
Median days on market 169 178 211 224 165 145

 Big jump in sales this year. Big jump in total dollars. Big jump in median sales price and fewer days on market. Very nice.

Obviously what is below is a subset of the total residential sales.

Waterfront residential sales Jan. 1 through July 31 (4 counties)
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 87 94 103 91 135 527
$ sold (millions) 38.4 37.1 47.7 40.9 63.9 302.4
Median sales price 361,000 350,000 385,000 350,000 380,500 449,000
Median days on market 215 195 246 273 212 145

Looks as if the biggest jump in sales has been in the waterfront category. More dollars obviously with more sales. Higher median sales price and fewewst median days on market since 2012. Looking like an active and improvinng market. This is great!!

Later today, or early tomorrow I will do exactly this with the land sales for the Northern Neck. Have to run out the door to appointments--today is another 150 mile day running through the four counties. Really, never dull in the country!!!   --Kathryn, Kathryn Murray, 804-450-4442 cell 

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, August 05, 2015  10:11:57 AM
Northumberland waterfront residential sales, as promised 0 Comments Posted

Mid week, last week, I put up the sales figures associated with waterfront properties in Lancaster county. I stated that I thought there were the greatest number of sales in that county....and then sort of hedged thinking that Northumberland might actually have the most. Well the same comparisons that I did with Lancaster and done here. Also, I'm going to copy and paste this and put it on the end of the Lancaster statistics so it's easy to see which county is more active.

These numbers are January 1 through July 30, waterfront residential sales in Northumberland county

$400,000 and under

WF residential January 1-- July 30  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 26 25 35 110
$ sold (millions) 6.8 6.8 9.6 33.2
Median sales price 272,000 269,500 285,000 300,000
Median days on market 306 246 212 169.5
 

Lots of sales, and I'll check but I'm pretty sure that there are more sales in Northumberland than Lancaster in this segment. Obviously 2015 is the healthiest one of the years noted here. These years are the best since 2008, so 2015 is really an improved market. More sales, more dollars, increased median sales price and reduced median days on market. Nothing to complain about here!

 

$400,000 to $800,000

WF residential January 1-- July 30  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 21 17 17 94
$ sold (millions) 10.5 8.7 8.9 52.4
Median sales price 458,000 455,000 540,000 499,250
Median days on market 197 171 179 129
 

This one I'll have to check when I go back and look at Lancaster (and as I said....I'm posting this after the Lancaster post so you have everything together. You can either look at this in and of itself or go back and compare with me). This looks pretty flat. Obviously same sales as last year. Slightly increased dollars, higher median sales price and slightly raised median days on market. Quite a bit of inventory here.

 

$800,000 and above

WF residential January 1-- July 30  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 2 5 37
$ sold (millions) 825,000* 1.7 4.9 46.0
Median sales price 825,000 871,750 950,000 999,000
Median days on market 147 211 105 165
 

I don't even think I have to look to know that this segment is smaller in Northumberland. But within the context of Northumberland only it is obvious that this segment is doing better this year. Five sales, more dollars,  higher median sales price and considerably reduced median days on market. Plenty of inventory. 

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, August 02, 2015  11:20:22 AM
Just Lancaster Waterfront Residential for a change 0 Comments Posted

I thought I'd take a look at the county that tends to sell the most waterfront homes....then again I'll double check tomorrow and see how Northumberland does versus Lancaster. For the moment here's just a bit of information, waterfront homes in Lancaster county Virginia that have sold from January 1 through July 30 for this year and the two previous. These are broken out in segments of up to $400,000, $400,000 to $800,000 and $800,000 plus. Looks like we're selling!!

$400,000 and under

WF residential January 1-- July 30  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 11 15 17 57
$ sold (millions) 3.3 4.0 4.9 17.9
Median sales price 330,000 272,000 335,000 329,000
Median days on market 323 224 327 152

We know that prior to 2013 sales weren't doing well from 2008 on. So these numbers represent the best of sales since 2008. Pretty clearly we are in an improving market for this segment. More sales. More dollars. Higher Median sales price (and yes, I do note that the median days on market is high, but properties that have been on for a long time are selling...probably with considerable price reductions, but yes....selling. And that's good.)

$400,000 to $800,000

WF residential January 1-- July 30  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 12 9 19 82
$ sold (millions) 5.1 5.1 10.3 48.6
Median sales price 417,500 530,000 528,500 595,000
Median days on market 242.5 184 240 157

As with the under $400,000 segment, this segment is improved....greatly improved really. With more than double the number of sales as last year this time, and more than double the dollars this segment is doing well. Still a fair number of days for median days on market in 2015, but nowhere near as high as those days for the under $400,000 group of sales. These are really very good numbers in terms of sales this year.

$800,000 plus

WF residential January 1-- July 30  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 11 8 10 45
$ sold (millions) 12.7 9.5 11.8 61.9
Median sales price 900,000* 1.01 1.12 1.2
Median days on market 348 283 169.5 262

This market segment isn't exactly clear. Obviously in 2013 there were more homes sold and at a higher total price. The median days on market in 2013 was close to a year while in 2015 it is much less. The median sales price in 2015 is the highest of the three years. This is pretty good news. Not bad news, not terrific news, but pretty good news. We'll see at the end of the year how this all works out. People are looking and there are still opportunities out there.  Yesterday when I was in the "curious" mode I looked at high end listings and found many that have been on since 2011 and 2012. A number of these have dropped 25% or more. Reality is setting in and people are dealing with the market more and more. If they do so, then they can move on. If they do so, then buyers who have been waiting can take that step forward and own their special home on the Northern Neck.

 

------------------------------------------------

The information below was put together a few days later than the above. I really don't have a way to put these side by side. I'm double checking to see which county had more sales and will write that in red below. You can always go back and forth, but it's a bit of a pain.

Mid week, last week, I put up the sales figures associated with waterfront properties in Lancaster county. I stated that I thought there were the greatest number of sales in that county....and then sort of hedged thinking that Northumberland might actually have the most. Well the same comparisons that I did with Lancaster and done here. Also, I'm going to copy and paste this and put it on the end of the Lancaster statistics so it's easy to see which county is more active.

These numbers are January 1 through July 30, waterfront residential sales in Northumberland county

$400,000 and under

WF residential January 1-- July 30  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 26 25 35 110
$ sold (millions) 6.8 6.8 9.6 33.2
Median sales price 272,000 269,500 285,000 300,000
Median days on market 306 246 212 169.5
 

Lots of sales, and I'll check but I'm pretty sure that there are more sales in Northumberland than Lancaster in this segment. Obviously 2015 is the healthiest one of the years noted here. These years are the best since 2008, so 2015 is really an improved market. More sales, more dollars, increased median sales price and reduced median days on market. Nothing to complain about here! (I checked....there are far more sales in Northumberland than Lancaster in this price point. About the same amount of inventory in both counties.)

 

$400,000 to $800,000

WF residential January 1-- July 30  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 21 17 17 94
$ sold (millions) 10.5 8.7 8.9 52.4
Median sales price 458,000 455,000 540,000 499,250
Median days on market 197 171 179 129
 

This one I'll have to check when I go back and look at Lancaster (and as I said....I'm posting this after the Lancaster post so you have everything together. You can either look at this in and of itself or go back and compare with me). This looks pretty flat. Obviously same sales as last year. Slightly increased dollars, higher median sales price and slightly raised median days on market. Quite a bit of inventory here. (12, 9, 19 those are the numbers of sales in Lancaster. Therefore for 2013 and 2014 there were fewer sales in Lancaster than in Northumberland. For this year, 2015 there are more in Lancaster. There's considerably more inventory in this price point in Northumberland than there is in Lancaster.)

 

$800,000 and above

WF residential January 1-- July 30  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 2 5 37
$ sold (millions) 825,000* 1.7 4.9 46.0
Median sales price 825,000 871,750 950,000 999,000
Median days on market 147 211 105 165
 

* Not in millions

I don't even think I have to look to know that this segment is smaller in Northumberland. But within the context of Northumberland only it is obvious that this segment is doing better this year. Five sales, more dollars,  higher median sales price and considerably reduced median days on market. Plenty of inventory.  (11, 8, 10. Those are the sales numbers in Lancaster for 2013, 2014 and 2015. Northumberland (with 1, 2 and 4) isn't anywhere near at that level. This isn't too much of a surprise really. Lots more inventory here in Northumberland at this price point.)

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, July 30, 2015  5:15:04 PM
Two waterfront homes, both are a deal 0 Comments Posted

I know, you think we say everything is a deal--well some of us do. Then again, there are "deals" out there in Northern Neck real estate right now and depending on what your needs are, one of these might be a fit. You might also note that both sellers are motivated.

Currently we at River & Rural Realty have two waterfront homes that are priced in the $260,000s. One is priced at $269,000 and the other at $265,000. The appeal of one is completely different from the appeal of the other. Here is some background so you can see if either of these works for you. (And please realize I know that you generally come to this web site for the statistical information, but if just a handful of readers find one of these listings appropriate....that's a good thing. There are always statistics and always more to come, but not always listing information with lots of background to review.)

$269,000. (MLS number 95349) This home is located outside of Montross, actually it's 139 Jenkins Point Road. The assessed value on the property is $420,000. To be totally truthful, 2.5 acres of the overall 5 acres was sold to the next door neighbor (and 5 acres is included in that assessment). They purchased this acreage in order to make sure it wasn't sold and developed. By selling the 2.5 acres off to the neighbor, the remaining property with the house has 2.5 acres, which is waterfront (270 feet of frontage) and a potential buyer lost 2.5 acres of field to care for or mow. Not a big loss. Let's say that 2.5 acres that was sold affects the assessment by $40,000. I don't know if that is a good number or a bad number since that type of land isn't selling and it really doesn't change in any major way what an appraiser would value the property that includes the home. That brings us down to $380,000. So in reality this property even without those 2.5 acres that have been sold, is priced more than $100,000 below assessment.

The home was built in 1988. It was built by a couple who had come from Europe and had spent many many months on a sailboat before settling here. (He became the first winemaker at Ingleside, being a chemist with winemaking background, and he, Jacques Recht, put Ingleside on the map in terms of excellent wines.) The house was a totally logical progression for them. It has a vast open space (the core of the house) which includes the sweep of the kitchen to dining to living to an office. It is 2300 square feet. Although it has only two bedrooms, each with a private bath, the office could easily be changed over to another bedroom (might involve some septic work).  Keep in mind too, that there's room to build a garage that could probably have a garage apartment if this home wasn't quite enough room for all your visitors.

In its heyday there was an above ground pool that was flush to the extensive deck. It was an absolute paradise to climb down into the pool and be surrounded by woods while overlooking the little inlet off the Nomini. Those days are gone. The pool is gone. The deck needs work, but the essence of this beautiful home is waiting for the "right person." I'm not going to pretend that it doesn't need work. It does. But with the right person and the right efforts this house easily becomes a $400,000 showplace....it will take vision.

There are quiet misty mornings when the great blue heron takes his place on an old tree fallen into the creek and keeps you company as you have a cup of coffee and watch the filtered light become more and more present as the sun comes up.

There is an outbuilding which may or may not be worth someone's while. There is a pier that needs work. (The neighbor further up this inlet has a small fishing boat on a lift and gets in and out okay.) The house is livable, but for most they would upgrade the kitchen and the bathrooms. I do think that for a family or a couple who are looking for a sort of old-world getaway where the home has character and not in the way some people say that....true character....not a box. Something that can be totally inspiring....well here it is. Yes, this is my listing. Yes, I have seen this house when it was inspiring. Yes, I hope to find the person who will take the time and effort to put it back to pristine condition. (The price has dropped $30,000 since the 1st of June. That should tell you something.)

$265,000 (MLS number 95471) The second property is completely different. A 2.7 acre lot surrounds this beautiful builder's home that has never been lived in. Tucked at the end of a cove and located just outside of Callao, it has waterfront and also has quick access to town. 

The kitchen is gorgeous with stainless and with granite. Bamboo floors almost everywhere (carpet in the bedrooms and tile in the baths). There's a good-sized living area and dining area all assocatied with the kitchen....so yes, a very nice great room. A huge master bath with all the best materials is located off the master bedroom that has a large walk in closet. 

The floor plan is great, with the two other bedrooms across the house. The second bath is at that end with these two bedrooms--these bedrooms also have walk in closets. There's a utility room with plenty of room for the washer/dryer and it's in the perfect location....just off the kitchen and just as you would walk in to or out of the two car garage.

At present there isn't a pier. There could be. The water depth would be appropriate for canoes and kayaks and perhaps small outboards. Just a beautiful home. A real convenient setting. High end finishes and appliances. Conditioned crawl. Ready to go. Ready for you if this property fits your needs. Please come and take a look...you won't be disappointed.

Thank you for reading. I will be on to statistics later this week. Obviously we are close to the end of the month and things are hopping....meaning real estate is selling. The best year yet since the 2008 banking debacle. Thankfully things are moving!!

--Kathryn

Kathryn Murray, Principal Broker, 804-450-4442 cell

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, July 28, 2015  8:11:53 AM
Lots of details in real estate 0 Comments Posted

For anyone who thinks that once the contract is written and ratified on a property that the Realtor's job is over, well it just isn't so. There are a myriad of details that need to be followed up on and sometimes the time from the contract ratification to the closing table can seem like an eternity.

Of first priority is the home inspection. Within the contract itself is a section where a buyer signs whether they do or do not want a home inspection. I always urge a buyer to inspect. On a few occasions buyers have insisted they have friends or family members who can fulfill the role of inspector and so that is the way it goes. Otherwise a number of inspectors that I know are offered as possibilities and obviously the buyer may find one otherwise through friends or even off the internet. There is also a separate document that spells out how much time each party has to do their part with the inspection and how quickly a response is expected, and required. Ordinarily I put in 14 days or 10 business days as the period within which the inspection should take place. That gives us (we're the buying side for this discussion) at least two weekends to fit the inspection in. It really can become a bit challenging for an out of the area buyer, to get here for the inspection, but it's important.

The way buyers participate in the inspection can run the gamut. I know people who literally follow the inspector everywhere they go and want to understand things in depth--everything (I've been told by inspectors that that is a bit distracting). Others may just be called in by the inspector when there is something of note. Others visit with friends who may have come with them, or may walk around the property noting things they didn't see before....and they just wait for the inspection to be complete when the inspector summarizes everything. After the inspection, within a day or two, a written report which flags issues of the house is forwarded on to the buyer. There are photos that show the exact problem so all can be sure they are talking about the same items.

A back and forth negotiation takes place utilizing an Addendum to list the "fix items" and eventually there is agreement. The seller will fix "X" and the buyer accepts responsibility for "Y." And yes sometimes there just is next to nothing and so there is no addendum. It's nice when that happens. Agreed to items are fixed by the seller before closing and in the walk-through these are checked and copies of invoices are given to the buyer at closing.

Most of the time the buyer is getting financing for a property. That, in and of itself, can be a challenge. Most of my buyers are really well qualified for their loan so it is really the process that is challenging. My words of wisdom are to check every week with a lender no matter how secure you feel with them and with the process.  You'd be surprised how things can fall through the cracks and you don't want to be a few days out from closing with everything backed up and totally in a stressful situation. Also, to pull a lender off the internet can be pretty risky business. This past year we've had one such lender that totally failed, and at the last minute (the property was successfully financed, but obviously the schedule was off). And another an internet lender promised the moon and wasn't anywhere close to fulfilling the deadline they agreed to. This made things uncomfortable too. So the choice of lender isn't something that should be taken lightly (and not just in terms of the percentage...we'd all like the best percentage, but if you'd like to deal with a professional, be sure you're hiring a professional).

Insurance for the home comes into play and so looking for an insurer that is right for a particular buyer's needs takes time. Some purchasers add the Northern Neck home to an existing policy and that is great when it can happen. Others try to do so and find that their insurance company is leary of second homes on the water and so will charge quite the premium. Then these people embark on finding a more local insurance company. Sometimes the issue of flood insurance comes up and that can be a whole education in and of itself. The maps that show whether a house is or is not in a flood plain are available to be consulted in the counties' Building and Zoning Departments. What is tough is that new maps came out last year and some properties that were not considered in a flood plain that requires special insurance are now considered ones that require flood insurance. Sometimes that is true, something has changed, but it is more likely that what will be needed is an elevation survey from a surveyor that will be official proof that the structure is not at risk. This has a cost associated with it and the request often goes to the seller to pay for this. That cost may or may not become the seller's. It all depends on who has paid for or agreed to what and where everyone stands in the deal.

Recently an agent I know had to help figure out about the fire department question for the insurance. One of the questions was where was the closest hydrant.....well that seems like a funny question. Think about how many fire hydrants you've seen in the Northern Neck. What is the real question is where is the closest Fire Department. Being within 7 miles of that fire department versus outside of it makes the difference in a fair amount of money on an insurance policy. Don't know if people think that way....probably not. But there it is, one more detail.

Three inspections need to be done within the window of 30 days to closing. These are noted in the main contract and are "water, termite, septic." Obviously if the property has community water or sewer, these aren't tested, but most of the properties we deal with at least have to have a termite and a septic inspection. The listing agent orders these inspections and copies of the reports are sent to the agent and to the closing agent. Closing agents may either be an attorney or a title company. Some purchasers have their closing agent already determined even before they start looking at property. Others will shop and decide based on their individual needs. I have been pleased both with attorney and title company closings and so provide information on both types of agents. It really all depends.

The listing agent should give the utility information to the agent for the purchaser. This can include the water company, electric company, gas company and perhaps even the telephone company....not too many land lines these days. These utilities should be contacted prior to closing so that the purchaser is all set to go as soon as the ink is dry on their documents. And within this transfer there is the measurement of gas in any given tank. That amount is credited to the seller and the amount is then applied to the purchaser.....in other words, there's no free gas....

Closing day there is the walk through. And really what you are looking for is that the house is still standing and that in the course of the move out that there was no damage. Certainly if an appliance was to be replaced or something significant was to be done, yes, look at it, but the invoices that are received should make clear that the work was done and also who to check with if any question arises.

When someone takes possession of a property is also something that requires a bit of time sometime. Until the deed is recorded, the new owner really isn't the new owner. In some instances it is just a five minute walk to a courthouse. In others, especially if someone is closing in Richmond or Northern Virginia, someone may need to travel miles and miles and it may not be the same day. So lots of things come into play with the closing of a property. There's lots to think about and this process can go very quickly even if we do encounter "a few bumps in the road." Be prepared!!

--Kathryn   

Kathryn Murray, Principal Broker, 804-450-4442 cell

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, July 27, 2015  8:05:44 AM
Housing Market on Fire? 0 Comments Posted

That's the title of the below article (or portion thereof) which was copied from an email I just received. This is from the Commonwealth Magazine which is the Virginia Association of Realtors' publication. This is obviously a reflection of all of Virginia and so it should be kept in perspective.

To show that all markets are truly local and behave in a specific way, I'm going to call each of the Building & Zoning departments in the five counties that we regularly review and see what they have to tell us about the Northern Neck and Essex so far this year. Along with it, I'll add the numbers associated with how well we are doing in total both in all residential, all waterfront residential (a subset, naturally) and all land versus the last two years. Wish our house  market was on fire, but I think it is slowly glowing with a hope that it might take off.

There’s no denying that the housing market is on fire

20jul2015      Posted by Christine Hodges, Chief of Marketing & Communications  

The US housing market is exploding. On Friday morning, Census Bureau data showed that housing starts surged 9.8% to an annualized pace of 1.174 million, a level not seen since July 2007.

Building permits, which indicate the pace of future construction, climbed 7.4% to an annualized pace of 1.343 million, also the highest level in about eight years.

“With a nearly 30% increase in housing starts compared to June of last year, the residential market recovery is here, and it is strong and sustainable,” said Peter Ciganik, managing director of GTIS Partners, in a note Friday.

“The increase is the result of a strong job market, rising consumer confidence, and a moderate and much needed improvement in the supply of mortgage cr edit.”

-----------------------------

Thus far I've had three counties tell me how many permits they've issued for stick built houses in their counties thus far this year. For Richmond County it is 4. For Essex county it is 17 and for Westmoreland county they've issued 26. Actually that is more than I expected given that I'm in Richmond county and realize it isn't exactly moving forward at warp speed. I'll let you know what Northumberland and Lancaster report back as soon as I hear.

In the meantime, here are the numbers. 

This is for the four counties of the Northern Neck. Timeframe is January 1 through July 21st. First grouping is all residential. Second, is all waterfront residential (a subset). And finally all land.

All residential sales 1/1 through 7/21 (4 counties)
  2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 189 204 209 234 942
$ sold (millions) 50.5 59.8 55.6 74.2 389.7
Median sales price 200,000 210,000 180,000 250,000 309,425
Median days on market 180 216 219 181 142

The answer is yes, the market is improving. More sales (more than 10% increase over last  year). Higher dollars. Higher median sales price and reduced median days on market.

Waterfront residential sales 1/1 through 7/21 (4 counties)
  2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 87 93 85 124 539
$ sold (millions) 34.8 43.3 38.4 58.8 305.9
Median sales price 350,000 380,000 370,000 378,750 449,000
Median days on market 199 307 266 212 143

The same is true for waterfront obviously, with more sales, higher sales numbers (almost 50% increase which is significant), higher median sales price and reduced median days on market.

All land sales 1/1 through 7/21 (4 counties)
  2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 64 56 79 68 955
$ sold (millions) 4.9 6.2 10.2 6.7 137.0
Median sales price 40,000 77,500 90,000 52,000 75,000
Median days on market 130.5 287.5 186 245.5 412

Reduced number of sales in comparison with 2014. Reduced dollars as well. 2015 is the strongest year with the exception of 2014 when we look at the last four years. Lots of inventory and that inventory has a lot of value. Lots of median days on market with that number 412.

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, July 21, 2015  7:40:43 AM
Lots to do, always....in real estate 0 Comments Posted

I don't know where all the time goes. I keep intending to update a bunch of statistics here and the next thing I know, I'm out the door. 

It may seem quite straight-forward to be a Realtor, but truly, it isn't. Right now I am juggling a whole bunch of different issues for my sellers and mostly they think that almost anything might fall into the category of being my job. Think about the houses that aren't in great condition and need to be worked on in order to sell. The owners are out of the area, and much as you try to give them references of contractors to call, in the end it is you...the Realtor....who has to check on progress and report. If those sellers are slow to pay or have stopped communicating then it is you who needs to track them down and make sure that the contractor gets paid.

There are the lots that don't have surveys and haven't been perked. If there is a prayer of them selling then this work has to be done. Just recently I had an application basically put on hold because the Health Department found that the brush was too thick to be able to do good soil samples. And this we got back after I called in a favor from a friend (a retired surveyor) who went down to the lot machete in hand and cut a path into the house site and cut the house site out so that it could be seen. The people who own this lot really don't have money to do the work that is necessary to get it sold. I can't call in any further faovrs. They have to work out what they can and can not do....hopefully they will pull together funds to get a small area bush-hogged (if the scrub trees can be taken down that way) and in early fall we can try again. This is just the "little" on the side sort of stuff. It has nothing to do with the day-to-day of checking on listings, putting up signs, organizing advertising, tracking financial aspects, calling clients to let them know whatever progress, or lack thereof, has been going on. Yes, this can be a 24/7 sort of job....it is challenging. 

In addition to selling property we have buyers who come to us for assistance. Yesterday I showed property for quite a while. We had a good time and I always enjoy orienting people to the basics of the Northern Neck. Without a Realtor you could drive around for days and not quite see how things hook up...how the different towns offer different opportunities. How living in one area precludes certain things because of the distance you'd need to travel. There really is no substitute for someone who can tell you a short cut that will take ten minutes off a 40 minute drive and therefore make that destination (whatever it is) perhaps within the realm of reason.

We had lunch yesterday....late....and at The Daily. I wanted my clients to find out what a great place this is for lunch (and breakfast too), and so we snuck in at around 2:30 and were pretty much out the door at 3 when they were ready to close. The food was great!

As it was I was meeting a friend yesterday evening at the Westmoreland County Museum for their opening and then we intended to have dinner at the Inn at Montross. Unfortunately the Inn was closed for dinner because of a problem with their refrigeration system, but we went on over to Angelo's so that we could visit together. That place was rocking. There were people and people and more people and the kids who are out there serving dinners were moving fast.

In my spare time I've been thinking a lot about the Fones Cliffs controversy. Last week there was a meeting to discuss what they are trying to do....get the parcel rezoned for somewhere around 700 units...some being houses and some being town houses. The problem I see with it other than the myriad ones such as roads, schools, fire department, environmental, access to the water from up on the cliffs, etc. and the list just does go on and on, is that that isn't the kind of life style that most people are drawn to when coming to the Northern Neck. In my experience people are not coming here to live in a townhouse (most of the time) and also they don't want to be in a development with hundreds of other people. This destination is much more about having a bit of room and easy access to the water....hopefully your own waterfront, or if not, well one that is shared with at most a couple of dozen other parties. Time will tell how this sorts out. I just hope that the owner/developer isn't going through this process only to up the value of the property for potential resale and not for any real sort of development. It seems they don't understand our market really.....oh well. 

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, July 16, 2015  8:17:59 AM
More numbers, a real update 0 Comments Posted

Sorry to have been slow to post this. These numbers are for the four counties (no Essex county in this analysis, just Richmond, Westmoreland, Lancaster and Northumberland) and this is for the period January 1 through July 1. There are some interesting things to be learned from the subsets. And it is always interesting to see what the overall numbers tell us. What it does tell us as of the 1st of July is that things are "getting better." Which is something I get questionned about all the time. Not hugely better....but yes, better. Some quick remarks and I hope to come back to this later today. No promises.

 

All residential (4 counties) 1/1 through 7/1
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 157 165 177 193 200 934
$ sold (millions) 41.5 45.0 52.2 51.2 61.9 389.0
Median sales price 184,900 200,000 210,000 177,400 240,000 319,000
Median days on market 196 185 218 224 202 138

Yes, improved. More houses sold. More dollars for those solds. Median sales price is the highest it's been in the last five years and the median days on market decreased in comparison to the last two years. That looks pretty good. 

Waterfront residential (4 counties) priced under $400,000, 1/1 through 7/1
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 38 44 40 40 54 234
$ sold (millions) 10.5 11.1 10.8 10.6 15.2 70.4
Median sales price 292,500 254,500 280,000 259,500 285,000 299,900
Median days on market 208 232 308 292 289.5 133.5

Good things to be said for waterfront priced under $400,000. More homes sold. More dollars by a 50% increase. Higher median sales price ....higher than all years except for 2011. Still it is clear that a lot of properties are selling for under $300,000 in this segment. The median days on market has dropped in comparison to the last two years. Median days on market for the actives is pretty low. This can mean lots of new listings or that there are many listings that have come back on that have been around before. Can't be sure. 

 

WF residential (4 counties), priced $300,000 to $400,000 1/1 through 7/1

  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 22 18 20 15 25 112
$ sold (millions) 7.2 6.2 6.7 5.2 8.9 40.7
Median sales price 325,000 341,500 333,250 345,000 360,000 369,250
Median days on market 183 350 183.5 288 283 144

A subset of the under $400,000 market is the $300,000 to $400,000 segment. I wanted to look at this since I've been working with people in this price point and wanted to see where things stand. Well it is evident that this is a thriving segment (relatively speaking....of course this is the Northern Neck and these numbers aren't huge). A jump from 15 to 25 houses sold for the same period is signficant. The dollars sold onthose properties is up. The median sales price is the highest of the five years reviewed. Days on market, well at 283, that isn't perfect but things do take time around here. This does look good!!

WF residential (4 counties), priced $400,000 to $500,000 1/1 through 7/1
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 7 13 20 10 10 93
$ sold (millions) 2.9 5.5 7.7 4.4 4.3 43.1
Median sales price 408,000 425,000 412,000 450,000 413,750 468,000
Median days on market 426 169 278 173.5 141 105

This segment is a different story. 2013 was the big year with 20 houses sold. Since that time the number has been cut in half with 2015 having the lowest value for the solds for the last five years with the exception of 2011. In place of what is about 4 times the amount of actives as current solds (the $300,000 to $400,000 segment) we have 9 times the sold inventory in active. That makes it real challenging for someone trying to sell at this price.

WF residential (4 counties), priced $400,000 to $800,000 1/1 through 7/1
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 24 28 34 26 39 214
$ sold (millions) 12.76 14.1 16.1 13.9 20.8 121.8
Median sales price 505,000 492,000 433,650 523,000 528,500 541,000
Median days on market 422 174.5 220.5 209 224 116.5

Looking good. Best sales numbers. Best sales dollars. Highest median sales point and the days on market aren't too bad. But look at that median sales price.....not exactly bumping up toward the $800,000. Then again it looks as if most of the properties that are active are located just around $400,000 to $500,000 since the active median is $541,000. Has to be a lot of inventory skewed to the lower prices.

WF residential (4 counties), priced $800,000 plus  1/1 through 7/1
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 8 7 10 9 14 87
$ sold (millions) 7.2 6.8 11.7 10.2 14.4 112.9
Median sales price 858,125 900,000 897,500 925,000 954,750 1,175,000
Median days on market 331 378 347 273 172.5 155

Better news for this segment. And there isn't the excessive inventory of some of the previous segments. 2015 has the most sales, the most dollars, the highest median sales price and fewest median days on market. That looks rather healthy. 

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, July 09, 2015  7:22:32 AM
Storms, storms and storms 0 Comments Posted

The Northern Neck has really gotten pounded in the last two weeks. I can not remember any other time over the last 25 years when we had to deal with so many tornado warnings when we needed to tuck ourselves away in the safest room in the house. Just like many houses on the Northern Neck, the great benefit of vast windows everywhere takes on a completely different feeling when you want no glass to be near you just in case of a tornado. We didn't have anything major happen due to those tornado warnings but we did find we joined a great number of people with other woes due to thunderstorms.

Last Friday was my volunteer day at the Rappahannock Art League. This is something I do once a month and it relates to my having work shown on the wall there (photographs infused in aluminum). All of the artists whose work is there do some sort of volunteer work, mostly contributing a day or a half day to the overall operation. While there (in Kilmarnock) I heard a multitude of tales of lost TVs and down trees, and various other systems not working. This because a number of the storms that we've had mostly marched down the Rappahannock River. Little did I know that just twenty-four hours later we would be in the same boat and able to recount all sorts of system problems at the house.

Saturday afternoon brought another storm. The thunder in the distance at about 4 p.m. sounded more like one of the bases around here was testing artillery....the thunder was almost constant. We don't hear anything like that very often, but earlier this spring Bowling Green was up to something and so you heard more than you would want to. It was a short term exercise, so don't think that is normal. Anyway, lots of booms. Lots of thunder and lightning. We watched the descriptions of the extreme weather and where the tornado watch was until we lost the DirectTV signal. I pulled the plug on all my computer equipment fairly early in the game and we sat in the living room waiting out the storm except for a fifteen minutes tucked away with the dogs in a big closet (we have one of those little weather radios so we continued on with the information for our area). At one point before we went to the most sheltered part of the house, there was a lightning strike very close to our house. After that I pulled the plug on the TV.....too late, obviously. When the storm was gone we regrouped and looked at what was and wasn't working. What we found was no TV, no electric in part of the house....just one floor of the new addition was out, no AC so the heat pump was somehow affected and most odd of all was the water issue. No pressure....hmmm...we share a well with three other parties. That well was put in not so long ago and is great and we've been very happy with it. We assumed that all four parties on the well were affected. But no. And although it wasn't figured out immediately, within an hour or so the water was able to force itself up into a small geyser where the underground pipe had broken and so where all of the water that was coming from that was making our backyard into a marshy, soupy mess, could be identified. Off goes the water. Got to do what you got to do. We were thankful that that geyser appeared (not huge....only a couple of inches above the lawn) since we could have thought that there had been so much rain already recently that the water was part of that saturation.

Sunday we were in a bit of shock and knew who we might call and how this could be managed. What I am most happy to report is how it has been handled. For years I have heard comments about this being the "promise land," and I can agree, I have experienced this kind of outcome when I ask for assistance. What this phrase really means is that you get promises but you don't get action. Oh yes, it happens and I have to think it happens in a lot of rural areas. What happened yesterday shows that that isn't really true if you know the right people, and also perhaps the Northern Neck economy has developed over the years. My husband went to see the man who had done our electrical work just at the start of business. This electrical work at our house had been a side job for him so he has a "real job." He came at lunchtime and fixed the problem and also told us he couldn't help with the heat pump problem. I made a call to a recommended party at 12:30 and asked for some assistance. That gentleman came at 2:30 and determined the problem and has ordered the part that will be installed Wednesday morning. The water issue...well I called a recommended plumber at 8:30...left a message....got a call back 5 minutes later. He came after his job and worked for three full hours to fix the pipe that had burst underground. In all of this attempt to get back to normal the only party that has been a bit questionable has been DirectTV. My husband called on Sunday and they said they'd be by on Wednesday. In talking to our nextdoor neighbor who also lost his TV reception and perhaps his TV as well, my husband found out that their DirectTV visit would be on Tuesday. He called DirectTV back and trying to get us scheduled along with the nextdoor neighbor it was learned (quite a number of times since my husband is tenacious and of course this doesn't make sense) that no, they couldn't put the appointments back to back. Corporate America??

My basic thoughts about going through this event is that I am very thankful for the hardworking and capable people who do the various trades work around here. Couldn't have asked for a better response from the local people....and we'll be all set by Wednesday noon....with or without DirectTV!!

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, June 30, 2015  8:39:28 AM
Northern Neck, a great retirement destination 0 Comments Posted

Recently I've been thinking a lot about where people retire and why. Yesterday I read a UVA analysis about retiring in Virginia and contrary to what we are reading in most publications, in Virginia retirees are moving to rural areas. This surprised me. I had thought that people wanted more and more of those amenities called lots of shopping and walk-down-the-street-to-a-restaurant. Well not so for Virginia. Not lately.

The Northern Neck has a long list of plusses for retirees and a couple of minuses. The plusses are pretty obvious....prices much below many other locales, for instance think of waterfront property in Annapolis, there is nothing here that is priced anywhere in the average waterfront property price range. Yes, you get all that "stuff" with Annapolis...meaning shopping and walk-to restaurants. You also get the Maryland tax rate which is much higher than Virginia's. You get traffic and you get the stress of city living. Here  you get plenty of peace. Yes, the place is transformed on summer weekends with quite a few people and actual lines that may take a while at the supermarket, but you just take that in stride....it's like the snow....it comes and it goes, but it isn't always here, that's for sure.

Climate is generally great....it may be hard to believe as I look at the umpteenth day of 90 plus weather and just in June, but in general, yes, our Northern Neck weather is very good. Taxes are comparatively low, really low.....I know of a little house in a nice waterfront community. It has access to a pool, tennis court, marina and boat ramp....it is assessed at around $100,000 and the annual taxes are just a bit below $400. That is something anyone could live with.

So weather, cost of living, nice accommodations, hardly any traffic, very nice people, gorgeous waterfront places to visit, or boat, etc. Lots of activities but you have to look a bit and once you do you could be busy 24 hours a day.

The drawbacks include the not so many restaurants, not so much shopping and there isn't the kind of health care that you would get in the city. There does come a time when taking care of all your property may get to be too much. But rather than looking at the Northern Neck as your ultimate destination you might consider it your retirement place with the option of downsizing in 20 years....that isn't so hard to take....And at this moment with this being a buyers' market it might well be that this property could appreciate in that 15 year period or so. It also is reasonable to compensate for the "shortages of shopping" here by going to Fredericksburg or Richmond every week or two to stock up on special provisions, go to a nice restaurant and perhaps see a movie. As you get more and more used to being here that allure lessens. Yes, you would want to go perhaps once a month, but the pace and the activities do fall into place and you no longer seek out hectic places.

Retiring in the Northern Neck....if you haven't been here to visit, make an appointment and we'll take a look around. You'll be surprised at how much there is to make your transition a very good one.

--Kathryn (Kathryn Murray, principal broker, 804-450-4442 cell)

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, June 23, 2015  10:47:47 AM
Breakdown on some waterfront residential numbers 0 Comments Posted

Back again with a bit of a breakdown on waterfront residential sales in the Northern Neck as of mid June 2015. I ran out of time after I reached a certain number and hope to get back to this later this week. What is different here is that I have NOT included Essex. There have been a lot of questions and activity which makes me look at this within the Northern Neck and not including Essex. (In some ways Essex is very much part of our market and in other ways it is a world apart. It depends on who is looking and what their needs are. For those coming from Richmond it is preferred because it is closer. For some parties coming from elsewhere it is preferred because it is close to Tappahannock and reasonaably close to Richmond...anyway, not the story today.)

These numbers are for 1/1 through 6/15 for the four counties, Richmond, Westmoreland, Northumberland and Lancaster. They cover the five full years that are available to us in terms of data our MLS holds onto.

Waterfront residential sales under $200,000
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 6 12 9 8 6 22
$ sold (millions) 944,000* 1.7 1.4 1.3 874,450* 3.5
Median sales price 156,000 142,000 171,500 163,000 145,000 167,966
Median days on market 251 285 309 227.5 277 265

*these aren't millions. Just straight numbers.

Looking at this segment, it certainly isn't improving. If anything it is slipping. With the fewest sales except for in 2011 occuring now, in 2015. With the lowest dollars in terms of sold. With the lowest median sales price, and median days on the market has risen.  

Waterfront residential sales $200,000-$300,0000

  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 9 12 10 14 13 97
$ sold (millions) 2.2 2.8 2.3 3.4 3.2 25.6
Median sales price 232,000 226,000 241,450 242,000 250,000 268,000
Median days on market 231 126.5 356 320 307 128

This segment is doing okay, but not great. Selling, but not in any way that would make you feel there is a big trend. Still plenty of days on the market for the median number. Lots of inventory here.  Think about it....approximately 2 houses have sold each month and there are almost 100 on the market at the moment. Yes, there are sales, but not a lot and they are taking some time.

Waterfront residential sales $300,000-$400,0000

  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 18 16 16 13 22 119
$ sold (millions) 5.9 5.5 5.3 4.4 7.9 43.2
Median sales price 325,000 341,000 325,000 345,000 355,000 369,000
Median days on market 200 350 219.5 393 311 155

There's pretty good news for these properties, ones that are in this price point. The largest number have sold this year and it is an almost significant number over last year. Most dollars for the solds and highest median sales price of all five years. True, the median days on market has been 311 for the solds in 2015, but they did happen and the actives have a much lower median days on market number. 

Waterfront residential sales $400,000-$500,0000

  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 3 12 17 9 10 89
$ sold (millions) 1.2 5.0 6.5 3.9 4.2 41.4
Median sales price 408,000 420,000 410,000 450,000 413,000 469,500
Median days on market 426 160 357 184 141 126

No real trend whatsoever here. Perhaps a holding its own after 2012 and 2013 were improved years. Pretty low median sales price for the 2015 solds, but then again fewest median days on market of all five years. Plenty of inventory. I'd say this isn't really trending anywhere at the moment. Time will tell.

Waterfront residential sales $500,000 plus

  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 21 18 21 19 34 211
$ sold (millions) 13.7 12.8 17.9 15.3 24.9 192.7
Median sales price 601,000 575,000 685,000 646,000 600,000 749,000
Median days on market 353 207 211 298 227.5 130

The numbers of solds here shows that this portion of the market has improved. As I said, though, I need to break this out into $100,000 or $200,000 increments which I will do by the end of the weekend. The 34 sales of this year are far greater than any of the four previous years. The dollars for these solds are the highest too. Of course the median sales price is down and isn't that high...still 34 sales. Median days on market are improved this year over last year.....all in all, good news. (This will be reviewed more closely to see what portions of this over $500,000 market is doing best and what is perhaps still not performing too well....to be continued.)

--Kathryn

Kathryn Murray, principal broker, MBA, 804-450-4442 cell 

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, June 18, 2015  10:03:45 AM
Prices on property 0 Comments Posted

Discussions about real estate inevitably come up in almost any social situation. Many people have strong opinions. I try to voice mine, but other "experts" want to prevail. In my mind this isn't a simple market at all. And the market isn't getting any simpler. There are no generalizations that take in "the market." There are the different segments that get more attention and inventory moves more quickly and there are the segments where that isn't true.

It is hard to be the bearer of bad news. Recently I've been talking to a number of people about potentially listing their land parcels. Well the price they can sell them for is not anywhere near what they purchased them for. These properties were purchased at a time when the people had a plan to build and move here one day. Plans changed and that either isn't an option or just isn't desirable. So how do you tell someone that their property is worth 30 to 40% less than what they paid for it and even at that price it may not sell? Well I know that purchasing land isn't exactly the same as investing in the stock market but there is some real similarity to it. We all wish for things that didn't happen or seemingly can't happen. Don't I wish that when I bought a bunch of Apple stock at 13 and watched it do just about nothing and sold it at 16 that I might have had a bit of patience to watch it climb to 700? Well yes, that might have changed my life a bit. That moment is gone. For these people expecting to sell at the purchase price within the forseeable future is out of the question. Things might change. Perhaps if the Northern Neck ever became a location where people could work from home, especially for the Federal government, well this would become a highly sought after place to live. Currently with the inflow and outflow of people who come and live and move to somewhere else we are somewhat stable. (The high inventory we have would say that somewhat stable looks more like we need quite a few more people down here looking first and buying thereafter.)

Yesterday while out on appointments I noted a house that might be appropriate for one of my clients who has been looking for waterfront for quite some time. I drove in the driveway (no one was there) and walked around the house to see what I could see. I looked it up on my phone to find out the price. Well it seemed a little overpriced, and hmmmm, the Realtor hadn't dropped the price in over 6 months, so I easily dropped the price in my head by another $10,000 to $15,000. Later in the day I looked it up in the county records and found something out that must be very painful for those owners. They bought in early 2008, just prior to our banking meltdown/debacle/tailspin. And they paid $360,000 and the current asking price on the property is $239,000 and it's obvious that there aren't any takers. How would you feel in that situation?

Recently I assisted some buyers in purchasing a property. The price they paid was 62% of what the previous owners paid for their property. Not nice. Must have been a hard decision but these sellers obviously had their reasons. My buyers were very happy with the house, but truly at the price at which they purchased, it wouldn't have appraised much higher. That's just where we are at the moment.

Appraisal value is key at the moment. Most buyers will finance and so most buyers will end up getting an appraisal. If the property can't appraise, well most of the time it is not going to sell. Sometimes there is wiggle room. Sometimes a buyer will bring more cash, but that can't be something a seller relies on unless they are willing and able to sit tight for perhaps a couple of years.

It's not easy delivering bad news and I find I have to be realistic all the time. Sometimes that information I convey isn't pleasant. I wish it weren't so. I wish the market was going up brilliantly....but without good jobs and the current excess inventory the market is moving forward, but not in a major way.

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, June 17, 2015  8:02:10 AM
Northern Neck of Virginia real estate sales updated...mid June 0 Comments Posted

We're almost there--to the middle of June and I thought I'd double check some of my generalizations. Lately everywhere I go people are saying, the market's improving, right? And I say, well I think it is really stable and not improving very much. So this is taking a look at where the chips really are falling this year in relationship to past years. In the last few weeks I've only compared our 2015 sales with 2013 and 2014, but I thought it would mean more if we went back to 2011 and 2012, when we were just pulling out of that abysmal period which was the end of 2008, and all of 2009 and 2010.

All of these charts are for the period January 1st through June 12th. Also, I put up the actives at the far right. The counties that are included in here are: Westmoreland, Northumberland, Lancaster, Richmond and Essex. So let's see where we stand in this....."getting better market, right?"

1/1-6/12 All residential sales
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 147 155 176 190 189 1000
$ sold (millions) 34.5 41.1 48.7 46.7 55.9 409.6
Median sales price 173,500 200,000 189,000 167,000 210,000 302,475
Median days on market 169 190 216 224 201 133

Improving? Well yes, a bit. One fewer sale this year, but considerably more dollars changed hands. Also the median sales price is up over all four previous years. The days on market are down somewhat. Better....yes, but not in any big way. Quite a bit of inventory and the median sales price for the actives is 1.5 times the median price of this year's solds. A big difference. Interestingly the median days on market for the actives is quite a reasonable figure. Perhaps there are a lot of properties that have gone off and have come back on the market as well as new properties to the market. Can't tell you exactly why.

1/1-6/12 Waterfront residential sales

  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 57 71 75 68 87 552
$ sold (millions) 23.3 28.2 34.6 30.4 42.0 313.4
Median sales price 340,000 350,000 380,000 347,450 400,000 449,250
Median days on market 271 216 282 297.5 234 130

Obviously the numbers above are a subset of the overall residential sales. The solds for this category have decidedly improved (87 this year vs. 68 last year). Greatest number of solds, greatest dollars for the solds in all five years. The median sales price hit $400,000 for the first time in five years. And the median days on market are lower than both 2013 and 2014. Look at the active median sales price....there is nowhere near the big difference here between this year's sold dollar median and the active. Of course the expensive waterfront obviously skewed the above situation (total residential sales info), so it isn't really a helpful number when you look at it there. In waterfront residential there are far fewer median days on market for the current active properties. I'd say, yes, this part of the market has improved. That is good news for sellers and something for buyers to keep in mind....still a buyers market, but inventory is starting to go!! 

1/1-6/12 All Land sales

  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 68 61 50 68 56 973
$ sold (millions) 7.4 4.8 4.5 8.5 4.6 139.5
Median sales price 37,000 40,000 59,500 58,500 39,250 71,000
Median days on market 209 136 287.5 196 215.5 396

Overall land sales.....hmmmm.....2015 is one of the worst years of the last five. In every year except for 2013, the sales of property was better than 2015. I think the numbers pretty much speak for themselves. 2011 and 2014 there were the same number of sales.....68. that is the maximum number of sales we've had in any of the five years. And with each of those two years there were far more dollars that were exchanged. Let's hope that 2015 thus far is not indicative of the overall land market since there are many many sellers who have been waiting a long time to sell. Look at the median days on market for the actives.....wow, 396 days!! 

1/1-6/12 Waterfront Land sales

  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 23 20 22 27 24 422
$ sold (millions) 4.1 2.4 3.3 5.9 3.5 105.0
Median sales price 120,000 89,750 144,000 189,000 112,500 170,050
Median days on market 302 224 414 117 270 369

Really what can you say about this. Numbers of sales are not great. 2014 was the best year of all and 2015 is not great at all. Median days on market have grown again after falling to quite a reasonable 117 in 2014. The active number is large. The median days on market for the actives is over a year. Not simple for sellers and provides buyers with a lot to choose from.

Let me know if I can help you with a purchase or a sale, or with real estate perspective.  Thank you. --Kathryn Murray, principal broker, MBA, 804-450-4442 cell

View Comments | Add Comment Saturday, June 13, 2015  9:00:30 AM
Northern Neck recent sales summary 0 Comments Posted

This is fun. It is a snapshot of where we are at this moment in terms of Northern Neck of Virginia real estate sales. It shows that within the residential market there is progress...sort of....you'll see. Whereas in land there's a bit of a backslide taking place. In a way that shouldn't be a surprise. You can still buy a house on a nice piece of property for less than you could ever buy the property and improve it with the septic and water and pier and oh, yes that major expense, the house. For some the investment in building exactly what they want makes sense. Those individuals should have a larger window of time to enjoy the property and ride out this market. For the majority of people who are buying--especially waterfront--taking a good look around at existing homes tends to be the most reasonable, economical approach to a purchase. (We show property to a lot of late 50 somethings and 60 somethings and they aren't necessarily going to stay for the next 20 or 30 years.)

The residential numbers show that the 2015 improved over 2013 and are slightly reduced in comparison to 2014. Dollars spent are up as is the median sales price in 2015, so that is good. The actives though.....lots of them and lots of dollars in those actives!!

These numbers are for the five counties of the Northern Neck, including Essex, Northumberland, Richmond, Westmoreland and Lancaster. The dates covered are January 1 through June 2 for the respective years.

All residential 1/1-6/2 (5 counties) 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 160 178 174 985
$ sold (millions) 42.3 44.8 51.8 400.4
Median sales price 182,500 171,500 210,000 299,900
Median days on market 215 215.5 202 130

We have close to three years' worth of inventory in the residential category. By Northern Neck standards that isn't so bad. Median price is up and Median days on market is down somewhat for 2015. There's obviously a bunch of higher end properties with the median sales price of the actives basically at $300,000 which is quite a distance from the about $200,000 of the most recent solds. I'd call this not exactly great news, but not bad news.

All land 1/1-6/2 (five counties) 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 43 59 49 931
$ sold (millions) 3.9 7.6 4.1 134.2
Median sales price 60,000 90,000 38,000 70,500
Median days on market 288 186 226 400

Here's a very different story in terms of sales but we've already discussed the reasons above. Unless a piece of land is absolutely what you want and you can't find anything to replace it that already has a home on it, well that lot better be priced really well. Based on sales in 2015 there is a bit more than 9 years' worth of inventory on the market. The median days on market for the actives is 400....yes 400!!! The median sales price of the solds thus far this year is $38,000 which is a far cry from the $70,500 for the actives. The good news is that there are lots that are selling. The bad news is that there are fewer this year than last and that the days on market are climbing again--the sales price is obviously quite low. Not simple for a seller of land to be able to get out of this market unless they bought at a good time and can reasonably discount. For those who bought around the 2003, 2004, 2005 run up of property values....those prices are not anywhere in the forseeable future. They were a moment in time that probably won't be repeated in our lifetime....sorry to say.

Anyway, great values are out there in residential properties and sometimes in land. There is no denying that the Northern Neck is a special place to get away to or to live full time. There are all sorts of groups and activites....you just have to take a bit of time. Look around. Talk to people and as I often say, don't volunteer too much right away....if you do, you'll find that your "spare time" is all gone and you don't have any time for you!! It's true, there is that much to do! 

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, June 02, 2015  7:41:22 AM
Hmmm.... town oriented buys for waterfront residential? 0 Comments Posted

As I said a bit earlier this week I've thought recently there is more interest in properties that are closer to town. I wanted to see if there was anything behind this sense of the market that I have. For that reason I've checked waterfront residential sales in our three largest selling counties, Lancaster, Westmoreland and Northumberland. I've done the charts in that order for I believe that it is much easier to figure out places fairly close to town in both Lancaster and Westmoreland....not so much so in Northumberland.

If you aren't interested in the town angle, well at least this works to show you that in all counties waterfront residential sales are up over the same period last year. Median sales prices are up in Lancaster and Northumberland counties.  In Lancaster and Westmoreland there is a bit more than 6 times the inventory as their are solds for 2015. For Northumberland that number is 8 times as much inventory.

Solds are for 1/1 through 5/31 for each year listed.

Lancaster county waterfront residential 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 24 19 29 182
# sold (millions) 14.9 11.7 17.2 124.9
Median sales price 457,500 475,000 495,000 549,700
Median days on market 284.5 224 240 191

I found that looking through the data, that in 2013, 12 of the listings or 50% were located in or around Kilmarnock, Irvington and White Stone. Then in 2014 57% were and in 2015 there are 62% of the sold listings in that given area. This doesn't promise that they are within 10 minutes of a quart of milk. There are always some variation and I didn't google map each one, but at least in general this does suggest that perhaps people are more interested in being within shooting distance of a town.

Westmoreland county waterfront residential 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 5 8 14 92
# sold (millions) 2.5 2.9 6.2 41.0
Median sales price 414,000 337,500 350,000 399,000
Median days on market 220 398.5 347

76

For this county I found that in 2013 none of the sold listings were associated with a town nearby. In 2014, 3 of the 8 or 37% were associated with a closeby town. and Then in 2015, 35% or 5 of the 9 are associated with town. Does this imply a trend? I don't really know. Does this mean that town properties that have been for sale have dropped their prices and that's why they've sold? There are lots of ways to interpret this, but it is at least interesting to think about.

I realize that for each person who feels they need convenience first and foremost there are those who want the big views, or the sand beach or a special community and they just take the value of each element into consideration. There is no perfect way to look at how people make choices. There are properties that I have seen that I thought never, never, never would they sell....and they sold and then there are other properties that are terrific and what happens....they sell very slowly and for no apparent reason.

Northumberland county waterfront residential 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 30 29 29 233
# sold (millions) 10.3 11.2 13.5 126.8
Median sales price 325,450 345,000 390,000 429,500
Median days on market 330 288 211 185

Sales haven't changed much from year to year in this county. Of course the total value of the sales and the median sales price have increased. Also the median days on market have dropped for sales in 2015, which is good. Looking at the town angle....and this county is much harder to gauge....there was .06% in 2013, 0.38 in 2014 and 0.17 in 2015.....which results in a resounding non-trend. So really the fact that prices are going up on sold properties and days on market for those same solds are dropping is the main story here.

Look too at the difference in the number of solds. In both Lancaster and Northumberland counties the number of sales thus far in 2015 is 29. In Westmoreland it is 14. Of those 14 in Westmoreland, 5 of them were in the Colonial Beach area. That really is a totally different creature. Colonial Beach is closer to Fredericksburg and all sorts of places where one might work. Granted, there are people who commute to DC from the Montross area, but that is brutal. If you could cut half an hour or 45 minutes off that commute....or if you worked at Dahlgren, well that would put a premium on living in Colonial Beach. The proximity to various work opportunities really changes the sales equation in my mind and almost makes the Colonial Beach information something that skews how we would look at Westmoreland county. Just a thought.

If I can help you with your purchase or sale, please give me a call at 804-450-4442 cell. Thanks. Kathryn Murray, principal broker.

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, May 31, 2015  7:23:18 AM
Lots of action now.... 0 Comments Posted

Within the last two weeks the activity has picked up. People are calling more, but mostly there are online inquiries about various properties. Not completely gang busters, but much better than early May. 

Now that the Memorial Day weekend is behind us and the opening salvo for summer has been launched, it is my hope that there is a real focus among people looking at property to make decisions and have the chance to spend much of the summer of 2015 here on the Northern Neck in their own getaway.

Sales data seems to be shifting some. I'm going to have to do an analysis by the end of the weekend. My thought is that since Lancaster county has had such a glut of properties and the prices have been coming down, there are more sales there lately than a year or so before. Hopefully my numbers bear me out. And it is interesting that more and more people are interested in the "amenities." Well essentially....where to shop...where to play golf....maybe a hospital....This wasn't so right after 9/11. At that point everyone who came down was looking to get out in the sticks (maybe not everyone), but I must say there was a real incentive among many buyers to be quite remote. Now the property that is 20 minutes from that quart of milk, is a bit more challenged in terms of buyers.

This past weekend was a good one. The campground was quite full and there were plenty of boats out on the water even if Sunday and Monday brought a bit of extra wind with it. One little episode we had here that makes me smile now....a boat went out with two couples and their children. Other relatives were here at their cottage. In looking out at the water as I opened up some windows I saw two little bobbing heads. It was reminiscent of what I see during hunting season when deer decide they are going to make a run for it and out into the River they go and hopefully they make it to the other side. These two bobbing heads were the dogs belonging to each family represented on that boat. The boat had made tracks and was almost disappearing into the horizon but the dogs were working at catching up. They were almost in the channel that runs closeby the campground and once they got caught up in that, I hardly suspect that they'd have made it out of the water alive. We ran and got the other family member who called and got the dogs back in without incident, but there was maybe a five minute window after which there probably wouldn't have been dogs at the end of the day. Yes, just a little moment....but there's lots of them around and they aren't big-time, but they are very real.

Off to a busy day running through/to three counties and doing a variety of real estate work. Beautiful day really, and getting up at 5:30 and taking my dogs for a walk to the campground beach with a cup of coffee was the perfect way to start the day off. 

Yes, I'll do numbers county by county this weekend....just to see if my hunch is right.  Call me if I can help you....--Kathryn Murray, Principal Broker, 804-450-4442 cell

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, May 29, 2015  7:46:31 AM
Don't judge it by the photos 0 Comments Posted

Oh my, one of the agents in this office, David (202) 297-8946, was talking to me this morning about one of his listings. With this one, just like a number of others, he feels that if people would just walk in the door, they would realize how great this is. We're  not talking a lot of puffery....I believe him..... I haven't been focussed on this property, but I do believe him.

Looking at the photos.....they don't do it any sort of justice. That I can see very very well. He explained that on either side of this house are properties valued at at least twice what this one is being sold for. That there is deep water. The waterfront is protected. There is a pool. The area doesn't have many properties come up and of course one of my most favorite considerations, which I call "the quart of milk" issue, is covered....it's close to Callao and Callao is a real place with a supermarket and other places to take care of a lot of needs....even a restaurant or two.

So at $450,000 asking price and knowing that the photos don't show what you really need to see....come and look at it. 1800 square feet, two car garage.....deep water in a protected area..... and here's the link.

http://www.navicamls.net/displays/?n=319&i=1381115&k=qSUVxHl

Call or email David to take a look and if it has some of your needs....do take a look. He doesn't tell me good things about properties for nothing.....this is a value!

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, May 28, 2015  8:20:23 AM
Here Comes the Memorial Day weekend.... 0 Comments Posted

We're facing a most busy weekend coming up. This one is filled with all sorts of energy and excitement related to summer being on its way and weeks and weeks of fun by the water. Along with that energy hopefully there is serious reflection on what Memorial Day stands for and how thankful we should be for those who have made our lives what they are--free and safe. Somehow this is a very special time on many levels.

With that said, here are a few numbers that show us how we are progressing or not, with this very mixed market. Everywhere you turn you hear stories about how it is now a sellers market. Well not here. That is not the case. One of these days we may turn a corner and join those locales that are fortunate to have a sellers market, but don't hold your breath. Our market is stable. Our market is slowly improving in most market segments. There is more and more activity. It is just each market is different and each segment of a market is subject to differing interest. It is not simple and don't let anyone tell you that it is.

Here are numbers for our five counties, Essex, Lancaster, Richmond, Westmoreland and Northumberland. These numbers are for January 1 through May 20th for the respective years. What they show us is that in the residential market we are improving. In the land market (at least the waterfront land and that is the most sought after....) more properties have been sold but at a signficantly lower median sales price which results in fewer total dollars. 

All residential sales 1/1-5/20
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 145 157 161 981
$ sold (millions) 38.9 39.9 47.3 394.9
Median sales price 180,000 160,000 210,000 299,500
Median days on market 220 211 201 140

Greater number of solds in 2015. Greater dollars in terms of overall sales. Higher median sales price and fewer median days on market. Still considerable inventory, but all in all this looks good. And the active median days on market is quite low!

Waterfront residential sales 1/1-5/20--a subset of the above
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 61 54 74 527
$ sold (millions) 27.0 25.6 35.8 299.3
Median sales price 375,000 411,000 394,675 449,500
Median days on market 307 298 230 134

In this subset of residential sales 2015 are significantly higher in number over the last two years. The dollars for the solds is higher too. The median sales price is not as high as 2014, but higher than 2013. Median days on market is quite improved over the previous two years. Just as with the overall residential market there is plenty of inventory and also the median days on market is much lower than the median days for the solds.

Waterfront land sales 1/1-5/20
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 18 19 21* 419
$ sold (millions) 2.7 4.1 3.2 105.5
Median sales price 144,000 189,000 115,000 175,000
Median days on market 457 107 172 364

So a tale of two markets. Residential is improving. Although there are more sales in terms of numbers in 2015 the dollar value for those sales is quite a bit less than 2014. The median sales price for 2015 is lower than both 2013 and 2014. The median days on market has climbed up some in 2015 over 2014 numbers. Then again look at the median days on market for sales in 2013--457!! And look at the median days on market for the actives--364. Also, there is lots and lots of inventory. There is almost 20 times as much inventory that is active as has sold in 2015. If we were to roughly annualize our 1/1 to 5/20 numbers (which isn't totally fair in that it is not quite a full 5 months...but still it gives some perspective) then we would see that within the waterfront land actives we have close to ten years' worth of inventory. That's a lot of lots!

* of the 21 solds this year, 6 were with conventional financing, 1 with owner financing and 14 were with cash. Cash is still talking big time in this segment of the market.

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, May 20, 2015  7:16:40 AM
Misty morning on the Northern Neck 0 Comments Posted

This weekend has started in a rather sleepy way. The clouds overhead and the little sprtiz of rain has made it kind of quiet and soft. The campers in the campground, who are a reasonable number given how early it is in May, are not jumping out of their campers and tents to get moving on the day. Only one lone boat has gone out from the boat ramp with the voices of the people on board echoing down the river.

When you've lived here as long as I have you almost start to take things for granted. I realized, though, as I walked to out to get the paper, there are simple things that happen every day around here that truly could be considered special if you were attuned to them. At the end of the driveway standing by the mailbox/newspaper box I felt a bit of a presence, but probably I was hearing what would become the sparring event perhaps 30 feet above me as an osprey drove a juvenile bald eagle out of his territory. The whooshing sound of the wings was so loud you might almost have thought they were barreling into me, but they weren't.

This Saturday predawn hour was filled with cries of the numerous pairs of osprey carrying on looking for breakfast. There really are a lot of them up and down the river here with a number of neighboring homes putting osprey platforms off by the end of their piers--so these birds are set with good locations for building nests and raising families. I find that the osprey are a bit of a hazard for me, or shall we say for one of my dogs. For some reason he has decided that catfish carcasses that are dropped randomly throughout the area are tasty, especially as I reduce his dog food because he's gotten a bit older. The dog who used to run all the time, at 8 is seemingly lazy....but I must admit....he probably is a bit older than that puppy I see in my mind's eye whenever I look at him. So if I catch him as he is crunching away, which doesn't happen often since he really wants to escape with his bunch of bones, he clamps his jaw and doesn't let me get at the horrible stuff he is choosing to eat. It's not nice!!

The catfish must be really biting for the visiting fishermen are down by the crabhouse all the time. It is supposed to be a most magnificent location for catching catfish. This past winter in my walking travels with the dogs I ran into a man who was checking on the area. He had been told by a friend that this was the place to go for catfish. His friend had drawn a circle on the map that showed the Naylors Beach area. Hadn't told him precisely what the story was since you can't fish off the campground beach. I sent this guy back to the little bridge and told him that on the far side people often park and then fish off the river side....which really is rather close to the road....and so as a fisher person you should be very careful and as a driver one always needs to keep track of what is going on. This winter visitor had driven three hours from Maryland to check on this and intended to come back in the spring. That is serious fishing commitment!!

Having the quiet time at the beginning of the day is great. Being a Realtor requires constant running it seems. There is always a sign or a lockbox or an inspection, or a showing or a listing presentation, or photographs....or..... I think you get the idea.

Enjoy the day. Visit the various events that are going on. I don't recall who has the Farmer's Market today....which town. I do know that Kinsale has a Strawberry Festival today with food and crafts and music and I think there's barbecue later in the day....don't hold me to it. An event that everyone should enjoy, but perhaps more children oriented. Hmmmm....here comes the sunshine...the quiet morning is evaporating!

--Kathryn

Kathryn Murray, Principal Broker, 804-450-4442 cell

View Comments | Add Comment Saturday, May 09, 2015  8:15:17 AM
Waterfront residential in Northumberland and Lancaster counties Virginia 0 Comments Posted

Since the two largest counties in terms of waterfront residential sales are Northumberland and Lancaster, I thought I'd see how they have been trending this year. The numbers below are broken out into $200,000 increments except when we get to the $1,000,000 mark. These numbers are for January 1 through May 4 for the respective years.

Northumberland & Lancaster wf residential Under $200,000
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 5 5 2 16
$ sold  806,500 861,000 325,000 2.6 mil
Median sales price 171,500 164,000 162,500 167,000
Median days on market 309 231 88 356

 

Sales in 2015 are behind 2013 and 2014. Median sales price is down slightly. Median days on market are down significantly which means a right-priced property is being snapped up quickly. There's 8 times as much inventory as there have been sales in this first third of the year. Just a number to think about as we run through these other price points.

Northumberland & Lancaster wf residential $200,000-$400,000

  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 16 12 18 150
$ sold (millions) 5.0 3.4 5.9 48.4
Median sales price 323,950 284,750 355,000 325,000
Median days on market 322 326 271 244.5

 

This segment has the greatest number of sales and it is doing the best in 2015 when compared with 2013 and 2014. More sold. Higher dollars. Higher median sales price and fewest median days on market. There are 8.33 times as much inventory available as has sold in 2015.

Northumberland & Lancaster wf residential $400,000-$600,000

  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 12 11 12 99
$ sold (millions) 4.6 5.3 5.9 50.2
Median sales price 415,000 475,000 498,500 499,000
Median days on market 363 171 206.5 105

In general this segment is doing well too. Not significantly more sales, obviously since the variations on 12 to 11 to 12 really can't be significant. The dollars sold are up for 2015. The median sales price is up and while the median days on market in 2015 are higher than 2014, they are greatly improved over 2013. Actives are 8.25 times the number of solds for 2015. Hmmmm....pretty consistent thus far.

Northumberland & Lancaster wf residential $600,000-$800,000
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 3 4 7 57
$ sold (millions) 1.96 2.6 4.6 40.6
Median sales price 653,000 655,000 600,000 699,000
Median days on market 197 140 372 216

 

This segment looks improved and not...sort of a mixed situation. More properties sold in 2015 than in the previous two years. More dollars in terms of sales. A reduced median sales price and a hughly increased median days on market at 372....more than a year!! A mulitiple of 8.14 actives compared to sales in 2015.

Northumberland & Lancaster wf residential $800,000-$1,000,000

  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 5 0 3 34
$ sold (millions) 4.2 0 2.5 31.1
Median sales price 830,000 NA 791,000 899,000
Median days on market 346 NA 215 272.5

2015 sales are better than 2014 (with no sales) and lower than 2014. The median sales price is lower in 2015 when compared to 2013. Median days on market are much better in 2015....it took almost a year to sell the 5 properties in 2013. 11.3 is the multiple here for the number of actives vs. 2015 solds.

Northumberland & Lancaster wf residential $1,000,000-$1,500,000
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 0 3 3 24
$ sold (millions) 0 3.4 3.6 29.8
Median sales price NA 1.2 1.2 1.25
Median days on market NA 293 212 184

 

Don't know if you can call this stable. Nothing sold in 2013 and 3 properties each sold in 2014 and 2015. Dollars area quite similar. Median sales price is the same. Median days on market is an improved number for 2015. There's 8 times as much inventory available as has sold thus far this year. Not a bad number. I think perhaps it reflects the fact that many parties have taken their property off the market given how poor sales have been. Can't be sure, but that's my gut feeling.

Northumberland & Lancaster wf residential $1,500,000 plus

  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 1 1 2 14
$ sold (millions) 2.3 2.35 2.9 30.7
Median sales price 2.3 2.35 1.4 1.95
Median days on market 246 642 73.5 396

There's not much to say about this except that things are pretty stable and not much selling. Obviously the median sales price for the two properties that sold in 2015 is much lower than the price of the two properties (one each) that sold in 2013 and 2014. The 2015 properties sold quickly....either totally new on the market and priced well...or brought back with sellers who knew they wanted to sell and chose to price their properties accordingly. (In this market even that doesn't assure a quick sale....it is tough.) As you can see the actives are 7 times as plentiful and the actives have 396 median days on market.

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, May 06, 2015  6:38:40 AM
Returning home 0 Comments Posted

Please note that just before this entry is one I wrote on Sunday that has a bunch of numbers. You might want to scroll back after reading this. Or if you'd prefer just numbers, then skip this.

I had to be away for a considerable time assisting with health issues for a family member. Although I came home twice, for all intents and purposes I was gone for 5 weeks. Granted that was probably a bit of a good thing. Missing all of March with the cold and the snow was not really a bad occurence. But I didn't have any choice and although I was in warmer climes I didn't really notice....each day was a whirlwind.

When I got home I started to do a variety of different activities beyond the real estate day-to-day, I was a bit surprised at how quickly there was plenty to fill up my days with activities that extended beyond work. Sometimes I get asked how in the world do you survive here? It is certainly easy to survive and thrive if you are someone who is here part-time to enjoy a second home and all that goes with it....getting out on the water....the beautiful weather....visits from friends and families....just plain great and in a great part of the world.

It may be perceived that during the months when our summertime fun is a memory, it is harder to get by. Well just in the last couple of weeks I have had occasion to do a lot of different things and that was without really trying. There was a volunteer recognition dinner held at The Daily for the Friends of the Refuge volunteers. Although I've been invited for years, I hadn't gone. My husband and I attended and it was a very good time. It was great to get better perspective on the many people who do volunteer their time for the group. For me, I have put together their newsletter for many years since I have a background in desktop publishing and that's easy for me. Also they asked me to be on their committee (the Friends) to review strategies and procedures associated with a purchase of GoPro cameras. The goal of this program is to have individuals or groups go out into the Refuge and to record certain events or information and then find a way to have that put together in short movies that can be posted on the Refuge site to encourage more people to take advantage of the Refuge. It would be a learning opportunity for whoever was embarking on a project and at the same time it could teach or encourage on the other end. This is still in process and not totally refined, but a pretty interesting idea.

Then this past week was Historic Garden Week in Virginia. The different garden clubs present a group of houses within a given county. For the Northern Neck this year's locale was Kinsale. My friend Lynn Norris, who is the Museum Director for the Kinsale Museum had asked me weeks ago if I'd like to hang my photos in the Ice Cream Parlor which is a building adjacent to the Museum and now part of the "museum complex" (which of course is my words and given how small both structures are....is supposed to be a bit of a joke). I had agreed and so what that meant was hanging the show. Beyond that I was to be around for part of the day (last Wednesday) when the tour was in Westmoreland county and all the people were coming through. So I went and I stayed for part of the day. During my time I ran into all sorts of people who I knew from different places in the Northern Neck. It really is a small enough place that that happens and the longer you are here the more often that is true. I spent a fair amount of time speaking with Lisa Hull who is the head of the Northern Neck Tourism Commission. She was there with all sorts of information about the Northern Neck and activities.

I've been to the Rappahannock Art League for a project and seen some good friends there. There was a gathering in Colonial Beach last Saturday evening for the Art Guild there and I went up for an  hour or so.....if you are interested in something, there really will be others who are interested in that too, and here. It is a matter of finding these people. If you came here you had to have an interest in the outdoors, or the water, or rural living....gardening, boating, fishing, etc. The other interests whether quilting or reading...or hunting for that matter.....it's there. It's here on the Northern Neck. There's never a reason to be bored.

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, April 28, 2015  8:51:47 AM
Northern Neck property sales update April 26, 2015 0 Comments Posted

Back again with more numbers and tomorrow I will do a little narrative about getting back to a more normal life and my travels to different activities on the Northern Neck. It is the Northern Neck is truly coming alive again after quite a slumber. Normally the winters here are very quiet and so if you choose to live here full time that may be an adjustment. With the weather we had this past winter it was a bit of a chore making it through the ice, snow and cold, but then again we didn't have half the weather that many other locations had, so it is all relative. Our normal winters are really quite easy....with little snow and only one major cold snap that doesn't last to long. Can't say that about this past winter.

Numbers!!

In thinking about the analysis and numbers I've been putting up most recently I concluded perhaps only three years didn't tell us as much as we might learn with a bit more time, so in these charts we have 2012 through 2015 sales for the same time period. (As always, Westmoreland, Northumberland, Lancaster, Richmond and Essex counties are included.) What looking at the numbers you'll see below, well it tells me in general is that we are improving over last year. The one problematic segment is all land sales that are up in terms of number of sales, but the dollars for these sales and the median sales price are significantly down. That isn't a plus....but generally, good news for almost all property sales.

5 counties, all residential 1/1 through 4/26
  2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 103 112 133 130 899
$ sold (millions) 26.2 29.6 32.5 37.35 363.2
Median sales price 170,000 186,500 160,000 206,150 299,995
Median days on market 199 218.5 203 209.5 210

Looking good in 2015. Slightly fewer sales, but higher dollars total and highest median sales price within this four year review. Days on market are up a bit but not really out of line. And yes, there's certainly a fair amount of inventory, but not really excessive in Northern Neck terms. 

5 counties, waterfront residential 1/1 through 4/26

  2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 44 47 45 55 481
$ sold (millions) 18.1 20.5 21.3 27.6 273.6
Median sales price 345,000 350,000 345,000 410,000 450,000
Median days on market 265 263 299 234 221

2015 sales are improved over the previous three years in every way. More sold, more dollars, higher median sales price and fewer median days on market.

Of the fifty-five (55) 2015 solds in this category 31 were priced below $500,000.

There were 21 properties sold in 2015 between $500,000 and $1,000,000.

A total of 3 priced over $1,000,000 have sold this year. Currently there 41 active properties (listings) at $1,000,000 plus. That's quite a comparison....that's competition! 

5 counties, all land 1/1 through 4/26

  2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 47 34 35 38 942
$ sold (millions) 3.8 3.0 4.3 2.7 134.3
Median sales price 40,000 42,500 61,000 36,750 72,950
Median days on market 136 380 153 248.5 395

Better number of sales than the previous years with the exception of 2012. Dollars for the 2015 sales are way lower than 2014 and considerably lower than 2012 and 2013. 2015's median sales price is lower and median days on market is way up over 2014. Huge amount of inventory with median days on market for the actives climbing well over a year.

5 counties, waterfront land 1/1 through 4/26
  2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 16 14 12 16 408
$ sold (millions) 1.96 2.2 2.3 2.07 101.0
Median sales price 106,500 146,500 182,500 103,750 170,050
Median days on market 224 591.5 87 223.5 378
           

Of the 408 active properties there are 107 priced under $100,000.

147 priced from $100,000 to $200,000.

In the $200,000 plus price point there are 154 actives. 

5 properties have sold for over $200,000 since the beginning of the year. All of those sold for cash. This is another segment where you have to be the best of the best of the best in terms of value in order to sell. And with the actives for this whole category the median days on market is above a year too!!

Kathryn Murray, Principal broker, 804-450-4442 cell

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, April 26, 2015  8:42:09 AM
News flash...great price.... 0 Comments Posted

The listing we have on Warner (297 Warner) down at Ragged Point Beach has just been dropped to $399,000. This property has so much going for it and will be someone's dream home soon. With a 2000 square foot home and an apartment adjoining the beautifully built (and quite recent) garage, and other outbuildings, there's plenty of room for a crowd. There's sand beach, a nice pier, the vast Potomac views that everyone is looking for. This just happened today, so perhaps you can find a way to get here this weekend and take a look. I'm letting everyone know.

You can easily see more particulars on this property on this website. It is listing 96041.

Thanks.

--Kathryn Murray

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, April 17, 2015  12:50:12 PM
Northern Neck first quarter land results 0 Comments Posted

As promised, here is the beginning of far more regular posts. Much as what you read here sometimes is just confirming what you've heard before, but it's always good to know you are on track with your observations. And really, how could you know without checking the numbers?

My thought as I looked up numbers this morning was that because we've had such a tough winter perhaps our sales results weren't so good land-wise this year. Looking at what we have below it shows that yes, 2015 numbers mostly fall behind 2014. Does this mean there is a trend? Does this mean there will be fewer land sales total in 2015? Those are hard questions to answer. I really do think the weather had something to do with this, but as with all this speculation, time will tell.

The below numbers are for the five counties we regularly follow: Essex, Richmond, Westmoreland, Northumberland and Lancaster. They are for the time period roughly comprising the first quarter--I chose to bring it up to date with numbers through the 12th of April. With that said, take a look at what we've got here!

All land 1/1 through 4/12 (5 counties)
  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 27 33 30 926
$ sold (millions) 2.4 4.04 2.3 130.4
Median sales price 37,000 61,000 37,550 70,000
Median days on market 414 157 215.5 394

 

Interesting results we have here. More sales in 2015 than in 2013, but fewer than in 2014. Total sales value is the lowest in 2015 than in any of these years. Median sales price is up just a touch from 2013 but considerably down from 2014. Days on market are creeping up again too, but nothing to compare with that 414 in 2013. Lots of inventory and many many median days on market for the actives.

Waterfront land 1/1 through 4/12 (5 counties)

  2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 10 11 12 390
$ sold (millions) 1.7 2.1 1.7 96.8
Median sales price 165,000 165,000 103,750 170,050
Median days on market 714 69 223.5 372

More properties sold in 2015 in this period than in the two earlier years. Lower median price point in 2015 than in either of the two preceding years....considerably lower. Far more days on market for these solds than those in 2014, but much much better than the timeframe for median days on market for the sales in 2013. Lots and lots of inventory and a much higher median sales point for the actives than for the solds thus far this year. This certainly doesn't show any sort of trend. 

Waterfront Active Property Under $150,000
Number 170
Value (Millions) 15.8
Median price 89,250
Median days on market 369
....ooopss too many rows!! *******

 

Waterfront Active Property $150,000 to $300,000

Number 158
Value (Millions) 34.4
Median price 212,500
Median days on market 409
....ooopss too many rows!! *******
 

 

Waterfront Active Property $300,000+

Number 66
Value (Millions) 47.5
Median price 450,000
Median days on market 323
....ooopss too many rows!! *******
 

These three little charts really show us that we have lots and lots of inventory and the median days on market is generally close to a year. To a fair degree too this suggests that the prices are still pretty darn high and that is keeping properties from getting sold. At this moment it is cheaper to buy a house (provided you like it and it fits your needs) than to build on a lot...it is just pure economics.

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, April 13, 2015  8:11:16 AM
Northern Neck residential first quarter summary 0 Comments Posted

My apologies for having been absent for so long. Family health issues have kept me from my regular day-to-day and among my normal activities is keeping this board up. As best I can tell by the 15th of April my life should be back to "normal" which is very busy, but much more orderly. That said, here are the first quarter residential sales statistics for you to take a look at. Some of it is truly to be expected, and then some of it not. This has been an extremely unpleasant series of winter months weather-wise and I can only hope and believe that there will be lots of activity with the change of weather which will have to take place soon....tomorrow is the 1st of April!!

These statistics are for the five counties that include Essex and the four of the Northern Neck (Richmond, Northumberland, Lancaster and Westmoreland).

All residential 1/1 to 3/31 2013 2014 2015
# sold 79 95 90
$ sold (millions) 19.5 23.5 27.1
Median sales price 200,000 159,900 214,500
Median days on market 221 219 225

For 2015 slightly fewer properties have sold when compared with 2014. Then again signficantly more sold this year than in 2013 and there has been a considerable increase in total dollars sold. Not bad. Not bad at all!

Waterfront residential 1/1 to 3/31 2013 2014 2015
# sold 36 30 40
$ sold (millions) 13.2 15.2 20.8
Median sales price 325,500 372,000 408,500
Median days on market 272.5 298.5 237

In the waterfront market it is evident that we are doing better all the way around. More residences sold. More dollars sold. Higher median sales price. Reduced median days on market. This is good news!!

And now for a couple of segments of the waterfront market. These are price points that are important to a lot of people, myself included. Again, for 1/1 through 3/31 of the respective years.

The two charts cover the $300,000 to $400,000 price point and the $400,000 to $500,000 price point.  At a later date I'll break out the whole waterfront residential market as well as put together the land sales information too.

WF residential sales $300,000 to $400,000 2013 2014 2015 Actives
# sold 10 5 11 98
$ sold (millions) 3.5 1.7 3.97 35.2
Median sales price 332,750 345,000 360,000 357,000
Median days on market 222 288 351 226

This segment looks healthy--properties are selling. Better sales this first quarter than in 2014 and slightly increased sales over 2013. Improved median sales price, although the days on market for those that have sold....wow, almost a year. And it looks like there is a bit more than two years' worth of inventory in this group which isn't bad in terms of Northern Neck sales. As I said, at a later date (in April) I'll check all of the segments out and post results.

WF residential sales $400,000 to $500,000 2013 2014 2015 Actives
# sold 8 4 4 66
$ sold (millions) 2.8 1.8 1.7 30.9
Median sales price 390,000 453,500 420,325 475,000
Median days on market 388.5 247 173 180

Hmmm. A more challenged part of the market. Same sales as in 2014, but half as much as in 2013. Fewer dollars than of either of the preceeding two years. About 4 years' of inventory here. Lots to choose from, and lots to compete with. Well at least the median days on the market for the 2015 properties is quite a bit fewer than 2014 and far fewer than 2013.

This message board will be back up to speed by mid-April and I will be putting up information at least once if not twice a week.  

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, March 31, 2015  12:02:57 PM
Waterfront land sales perspective 0 Comments Posted

Just another variation on one of our themes. I just looked at sales within different price categories for waterfront land in the Northern Neck. It's rather telling. This is for the five counties (four on the Northern Neck and Essex county as well). Since an appraiser may look as far back six months, I made this a five month study. It's always preferable to use the last three months to judge what is going on in terms of sales. (though I don't know if it is mandatory for appraisers at the moment). Regardless, this bit of statistics gives us quite a bit of perspective. 9/23/2014 through 2/23/2015 is the time frame. This is broken out in price points. It is obviously most interesting to see how much is on the market in relationship to the solds. You'll see!!

List price up to $100,000
  9/23-2/23 solds Active
# sold 9 95
$ sold (millions) 537,000* 6.6
Median sales price 57,000 71,200
Median days on market 464 389

* Not millions.

So annualized these numbers say that there is a bit more than five years' worth of inventory. Of the active property the median days on market exceeds a year. There's about a 20% difference between the median sales price of the actual sales and that of the actives.

List price $100,000-$200,000
  9/23-2/23 solds Active
# sold 12 138
$ sold (millions) 1.5 21.9
Median sales price 112,500 159,950
Median days on market 176 455

Again, a little in excess of five years' worth (almost 6) of inventory sitting in the active column. Obviously the active properties have a lot of age on them with the median days on market at 455. Those that have sold haven't been on such a long time. Bigger difference percentage wise between the median sales price of the solds and actives here.

List price $200,000-$400,000
  9/23-2/23 solds Active
# sold 5 98
$ sold (millions) 1.2 28.0
Median sales price 210,000 275,000
Median days on market 315 325

Here's where it gets tougher. More like 9 years' worth of inventory here. Says you have to be the best of the best to even get looked at.

List price $400,000 plus
  9/23-2/23 solds Active
# sold 1 38
$ sold (millions) 410,000* 36.9
Median sales price 410,000 587,250
Median days on market 200 278

At this price point there is more competition than at any other price point. Close to 20 years' inventory if we look at this one 6 month period. Let's just hope that was a very slow period and that things will change.

 

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, February 23, 2015  12:52:01 PM
Another snow day... 0 Comments Posted

It looks as if all will be rather quiet until we get beyond all this cold. We down at Naylors are on the side that isn't part of the state road system so we don't get dug out. Not that that is truly a problem since with a 4 wheel drive vehicle at the end of the driveway and people using our little road, there isn't any real obstacle to getting out. From my vantage point I can see that Naylors Beach Road coming in from Newland (which is just off of 360) is pretty much cleared and easy to navigate. But there really isn't much need to go out except to overcome a bit of cabin fever and satisfy some curiosity.

The river is developing more than its fair share of ice flows and probably by Saturday morning we will have the sense that the river is frozen over even if the tidal flow is really so strong as to make that almost impossible. Funny how the river sings when the tide is ripping the most. The flows that move back and forth in their special time frame seem to have a life of their own and they do talk about it.

I was fortunate to get to go out and show property on Monday. Just squeaked that in before the Northern Neck snow started to come down. Right around when we finished up, there were the flurries and I could only keep my fingers crossed that my DC area clients would make it home safe. With an inquiring text and a response about 3 hours later, I knew they were safe.

Yesterday was when I started this post. Got interrupted and that was that. Did drive around a bit in the afternoon to do some errands and found that almost all the roads are in perfect shape....just the little back roads have some challenges. The Chinese restaurant, The Hunan, was packed as I suspect it may have been the only game in town. A bit of take-out was perfect for our snow day.

Today when I look out I try not to think of how cold it will be tonight and how much wind chill factor we will have. It feels as if the world is on a hold a bit until this all passes us by....and for some it just won't end. I think of 50 and possible rain on Sunday as a huge gift....a softness that will blunt this cold moment.

A neighbor came with his tractor yesterday evening and plowed us out. Not that it was really bad and not that we couldn't have gotten out without picking up a shovel (with one of the cars)....we could have. But still, now all cars can get out if we need to go and that's a good thing. I think that this country behavior of helping ones' neighbor is quite rampant as I read bits and pieces on Facebook where I sort of scan what is going on (and post my photographs to the local world). 

Lots of reports of frozen pipes. Lots of thoughts on my part of those places that aren't well insulated. Boy does construction really come into play when the times are as severe as this. I feel fortunate to know how much work has gone into where we live in terms of insulation. Also to have two heat systems so that the heat pump can remain inactive at these low temperatures and if push comes to shove, well there is the generator waiting in the wings. No power outages in the area thus far, but you can't know. You think, well no freezing rain/ice to encase trees and cause outages and the roads are clear, but even with all this with just one accident that hits the wrong power pole, all bets can be off. No, I'm not a pessimist, but I can't imagine being in these conditions without heat.

Well it is sunny and although windy, not really ripping windy where the wind howls and I find that ear plugs are what I may resort to so that I can really think straight. Just a couple of weeks ago I was enjoying the sense of spring to come. At one of my listings where the daffodils are in a particularly sheltered place....they were blooming. Weren't they brave?

Ramble ramble. This is going to be a good spring for our market. People are already looking. People are listening to the talk of increased interest rates. People seem quite poised. This is good. There is a lot of real estate ready to be turned over and have a new life. Some of these houses have been sitting sadly for years and so with the right people they will start to have the attention and presence that will make them bright again. Springtime is really just a handful of days away (okay, stretching it) but the change of the light tells us we are certainly over the worst....just two more nights and I hope we are home free.

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, February 18, 2015  11:27:38 AM
Recent land sales and some waterfront residential numbers 0 Comments Posted

I wanted to check on how land has been selling since the first of the year. Meant to do the comparison at the end of January but if we "apples to apples" this by using the same dates, it is still helpful. So this first set of numbers compares lot sales in the four counties of the Northern Neck and Essex county for the period of January 1 through February 12. This are the numbers for 2014 and 2015. Then we look at the active numbers.

All land 1/1 through 2/12 (5 counties) 2014 2015 Active
# sold 7 10 866
$ sold 758,500 830,000 124,000,000
Median sales price 61,000 58,500 74,750
Median days on market 142 226 386.5

Looks like we've sold a bit more this year, but not a significant number in either year. It's taking longer to sell with a longer median days on market....and then look at that active number....866 versus 10 sold in about a month and a half. Wow, that's a minimum of 7 years inventory and that's being generous.

Second part of this is.....County by county we see what sold in 2014 for waterfront residential properties. The sales numbers for 2014 are compared with what is active today for that county. Tells quite a bit about each county. We've seen before that these counties can perform very differently and for a lot of reasons.....some have lots and lots of inventory and some practically none.

Waterfront residential sales 2014 and actives 2.12.15
Essex county 2014 solds Actives
# sold 17 14
$ sold (millions) 7.9 7.9
Median sales price 425,000 372,200
Median days on market 243 284

This county's results will prove to be an anomaly. 17 solds and only 14 actives. Median sales price of the solds is higher than that of the median sales price for those on the market. A very different market in Essex as you will see. Plenty of days on market for those actives, though.

Waterfront residential sales 2014 and actives 2.12.15
Lancaster county 2014 solds Actives
# sold 74 153
$ sold (millions) 43.6 109.1
Median sales price 470,000 599,000
Median days on market 256.5 261

 

Here we are with twice as much inventory as we have solds for 2014. Even though that isn't perfect, that's not a bad number. I think that in the next few days I'll break this down into different price points. At some price points there's a reasonable amount of inventory. At others the numbers on the market versus what has sold tell a very different story.

Waterfront residential sales 2014 and actives 2.12.15

Northumberland county 2014 solds Actives
# sold 100 176
$ sold (millions) 39.0 95.1
Median sales price 350,000 399,000
Median days on market 229 270

Fewer than double the actives as the solds (75% more actives than solds). Closer relationship between the median sales price of the solds and the actives than in Lancaster county. Higher median days on market for these actives.

Waterfront residential sales 2014 and actives 2.12.15
Richmond county 2014 solds Actives
# sold 4 8
$ sold (millions) 1.3 4.3
Median sales price 270,000 415,500
Median days on market 366 236.5

Yes, totally different. Four solds in 2014. But if you've spent any time here, there isn't that much waterfront residential property to sell and often it is sold within a community to friends and family. Those 2014s took a long time to sell, and the actives have a considerably higher median sales price. Days on market look to be about what's normal in the Northern Neck these days.

Waterfront residential sales 2014 and actives 2.12.15
Westmoreland county 2014 solds Actives
# sold 40 61
$ sold (millions) 13.5 27.3
Median sales price 337,500 425,000
Median days on market 175 196

Looking at the numbers, hmmmm Northumberland sold 100 waterfront residential properties, Lancaster sold 74 and here we are with Westmoreland with 40. We tend to forget how differently these locations perform. With 151 actives in Lancaster and 176 in Northumberland, that's a whole other world from 61 in Westmoreland. Even though a lot of our clients look all over the Northern Neck there are different sub-markets and different pressures in any given county. These are better median days on market than in any of the previous four counties. Yes, different. And we don't have so much inventory here in relationship to the solds. That's a good thing for Westmoreland provided your property is priced appropriately. This is looking to be a good selling year based on a bunch of factors, not the least of which is the activity I'm personally experiencing.

Call for real estate assistance. We'd be glad to help. --Kathryn Murray, principal broker, 804-450-4442 cell

 

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, February 12, 2015  2:43:55 PM
Post Super Bowl perspective on Northern Neck Sales 0 Comments Posted

Now that the dust has settled from an extremely dramatic finish to the Super Bowl, we are on to the work week and reality is right here in front of us. My husband would say that at the conclusion of football season a whole lot of people (I'm assuming men, but can't be sure) go through major withdrawal, so perhaps now is the time to concentrate on your real estate. Whether you are looking to buy or sell, this is a very good time to look seriously at the viability of selling and the options for buying.

Here are the January residential numbers for five years...obviously including 2015. Usual five counties, the four of the Northern Neck and Essex are included. Later today or tomorrow morning I'll do the same with land sales.

Even though it's just for a short amount of time, I do find this interesting and helpful. Perhaps you will too.

Residential sales for month of January
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Active
# sold 21 22 22 30 22* 771
$ sold (millions) 5.0 5.4 6.2 7.7 7.3 314.6
Median sales price 180,000 172,500 242,500 169,500 247,500 299,000
Median days on market 217 210.5 249.5 184 205.5 246

**Sometimes all the sales numbers aren't in for a week or two after the closing, so the 2015 numbers may be a bit better than we see here. Doesn't change a whole lot...just keep it in mind.

So what do we have here? January sales in 2014 were the highest with the most properties sold and the most dollars changing hands. It also had the fewest median days on market. What is most telling in the 2014 numbers, I believe, is the fact that that median price is the lowest for all five years. As I watched the market I did see that 2014 continued to show a lot of foreclosures and it may well be that people were buying them pretty quickly since the price was right. In 2015 we have the highest median sales price of the five year period and that may say something positive about properties other than foreclosures and the sales. Our median days on market are back up a bit in 2015, but still below all other years except for 2014. A healthy start to 2015 with about 3 years' worth of inventory. I have a feeling that number is really going to climb come the beginning of March or April. Stay tuned....we'll put that up when we get there. 

Call us if we can help you. We have great perspective on the market and can provide that to you so that you are better positioned. Thanks. --Kathryn (Kathryn Murray, Principal Broker, 804-450-4442 cell)

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, February 02, 2015  8:42:17 AM
Westmoreland county waterfront solds 0 Comments Posted

 

For a variety of reasons I'm finding this analysis helpful. Perhaps it will be helpful for you too. Needed to see how the different price points of waterfront residential properties in Westmoreland county have fared over the years and if that tells us anything about what to expect in 2015. So here goes with a number of charts!!

Waterfront residential up to $300,000
  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 9 11 10 8 16 19
$ sold (millions) 1.9 2.4 1.9 1.7 3.4 4.6
Median sales price 225,000 225,000 210,000 201,000 205,000 249,000
Median price per sq/ft* 135.38 137.82 167.00 183.00 180.00 191.67
Median days on market 112 217 237.5 163.5 184 277

* I consider the median price per square foot to be a very "iffy" kind of number given how a lot can be much larger or smaller and the waterfront can be small creek or vast river. This is a very odd number when looking at Northern Neck properties but I thought I'd provide it anyway.

In terms of analysis....well obviously there are twice as many properties that sold in 2014 as in 2013. That's a good thing. And twice the dollars. The median sales price went up a bit in 2014 as did the median days on market. There isn't a huge amount of inventory that is active right now, but I think that if you give this a month or two, there will be a lot more out there to choose from.

Waterfront residential $300,000-$400,000
  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 5 11 9 7 12 14
$ sold (millions) 1.7 3.7 2.9 2.4 4.1 4.8
Median sales price 335,000 349,000 320,000 352,000 347,750 342,000
Median price per sq/ft* 266.00 183.91 194.71 205.29 181.50 220.5
Median days on market 113 200 225 124 223.5 333.5

* I consider the median price per square foot to be a very "iffy" kind of number given how a lot can be much larger or smaller and the waterfront can be small creek or vast river. This is a very odd number when looking at Northern Neck properties but I thought I'd provide it anyway.

2014 was the best year in terms of sales in the last five for this price point. Median sales price was second best of the five years. Median days on market were up there and wow, look at the median days on market for the actives....333.5 days!!

Waterfront residential $400,000 to $500,000
  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 5 3 7 5 8 9
$ sold (millions) 2.2 1.2 3.01 2.1 3.4 4.2
Median sales price 425,000 400,000 430,000 415,000 422,000 469,000
Median price per sq/ft* 277.84 185.55 226.77 216.22 173.00 222.98
Median days on market 396 438 122 152 117 106

 

Again, the best year of the five was seen with the sales in 2014. Not too many days on market and a middle Median Sales Price within the five year set of sales. Not too much on the market, but as with all these categories, this will change by April or May.

Waterfront residential $500,000 plus

  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 3 3 6 4 4 19
$ sold (millions) 1.7 2.3 3.4 2.5 2.6 13.3
Median sales price 550,000 528,000 535,000 595,000 650,000 695,000
Median price per sq/ft* 287.50 174.69 203.00 212.00 235.50 220.49

Median days on market

155 245 502 219.5 303 252

Now we come to the really stressed segment.  With four sold in each of the last two  years and 19 on the market, there is a long wait for some of these properties. Median days on market for the actives are pretty high as well. Then again 2012 had a median days on market of 502, so perhaps the current 252 looks good. All in your perspective!!

Call me if I can assist you in looking at your home's value or at houses you are considering purchasing. --Kathryn (Kathryn Murray, Principal Broker, 804-450-4442 cell)

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, January 26, 2015  2:00:21 PM
Northern Neck wf land sales 0 Comments Posted

Thought I'd add a bit of perspective on how waterfront land has been selling. Overall land seems to have done better in 2014, but that doesn't mean that if you are selling your property will be finding its way to sold any time soon. Take a look at what has gone on. As with all our stats, these cover the four counties of the Northern Neck and Essex county.

Waterfront land sales under $100,000
  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 16 10 21 17 12 90
$ sold (millions) 1.05 492,000* 1.17 951,650** 595,000** 6.15
Median sales price 62,950 45,000 57,500 59,000 51,750 72,850
Median days on market 130 522 198 414 468 366

** not in millions.

For this category, 2014 was the worst year of the past 5, with the exception of 2012 in terms of sales. Also we have in excess of 7 years' worth of inventory. And look at the median days on market for this group recently--2014 had 468 days as the median days on market. Wow! A fair disconnect between the median sales price in 2014 and that of the actives too.

Waterfront land sales $100,000-$250,000

  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 24 18 25 22 38 181
$ sold (millions) 3.6 2.55 3.77 3.4 6.0 32.1
Median sales price 150,000 129,750 140,000 150,000 161,750 175,000
Median days on market 193.5 282 224 222 254.5 427

This is an improving segment obviously. By far the greatest number of properties sold in 2014. By far the most dollars and also the highest median sales price. Days on market continue to be quite challenging and in the active category, having 427 median days on market shows that what is on as active has been on a long time!!

Waterfront land sales $250,000 plus
  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 17 14 15 16 20 97
$ sold (millions) 6.02 4.24 4.1 4.7 5.99 55.4
Median sales price 274,900 280,350 255,000 277,500 255,000 365,000
Median days on market 295 276 313 292.5 154 288

Improving over the last three years. Declining median sales price. Much more reasonable median days on market in 2014. More than four years' worth of inventory. Not great, but not terrible either.

 

And in the "just because" category, I've run the numbers on waterfront homes that have sold that were listed at $1,000,000+. Interestingly, of the 38 sold (total) through the course of the five years shown below, only one was located outside of Northumberland or Lancaster county. And of the 40 that are currently active, 37 of them are in Northumberland and Lancaster. Remember, only 38 sold in the five years shown. The result is we have plenty of competition out there for a sale at this price point!! (Then again, 2014 was by far the best year for this price point within this five year review.)

Residential Waterfront sales over $1,000,000
  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 6 6 8 7 11 40
$ sold (millions) 7.5 6.7 10.7 10.9 15.24 66.1
Median sales price 1.145 1.125 1.2 1.5 1.2 1.395
Median days on market 286.5 156.5 209 348 209 225
View Comments | Add Comment Monday, January 19, 2015  11:48:33 AM
Residential sales, waterfront versus all other 0 Comments Posted

Shown below we have the breakout for the five Virginia counties (Lancaster, Northumberland, Westmoreland, Richmond and Essex) in such a manner as to see how the market has affected two distinct segments of our market. First we have the waterfront residences and then we have all the other...these include what we call in our MLS water access, water view and non-water....any property not directly on the water. I found this rather informative. As I've said in the past, you get a feel for what is going on when you look at the sales and the new listings as they come on day by day, but standing back sometimes gives you a better perspective. Well here it is!!

Waterfront residential 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 active
# sold 132 172 203 207 235 404
$ sold (millions) 63.4 72.9 83.9 90.4 105.2 241.7
Median sales price 432,000 370,000 350,000 365,000 375,000 449,975
Median days on market 197 211.5 182 238 231 252

Well yes, more sales and yes more dollars. Raised median sales price, although not as high as 2010 but better than all the intervening years. Not quite two year's worth of inventory which is a nice number....A considerably highter median sales price among the actives than among the solds, but that isn't unusual. Quite a bit of age on the solds in that the median days on market was 231 for 2014 and for the actives is 252. Still a lot of property that has been around and needs to find new ownership. But what we get out of this that is most clear is that the market has been improving.

Non-waterfront residential** 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 active
# sold 212 228 220 255 282 380
$ sold (millions) 33.2 31.2 31.8 38.4 39.3 80.4
Median sales price 140,000 126,000 130,000 133,500 122,500 179,250
Median days on market 169.5 154.5 163 184 190.5 228

** all residential properties that don't directly front on water 

This market is improving too, although the median sales price is down in 2014 and the median days on market are at their highest mark. Less than two year's worth of inventory....considerably less which is good. A fairly big disconnect between the median sales point for 2014 and what is active on the market. And lots of days on the market for the median home that is currently active. We'll see if 2015 can make a real dent in these numbers....I sure hope so, but we continue to have our fair share of foreclosures so that keeps prices down especially within this category (actually more often the non-waterfront....but not exclusively).

Let us know if we can help you either buy or sell a house....or even put a real estate question into context. Just call me, Kathryn Murray, at 804-450-4442 cell or email me at kam129@aol.com.  Thanks......looking forward to a great 2015!!

 

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, January 11, 2015  10:51:56 AM
Northern Neck year end sales numbers, 2014 0 Comments Posted

The Northern Neck has had a healthy rebound in the sales department. Our properties here on the big rivers of the Rappahannock and Potomac, and many on the Chesapeake Bay are obviously getting renewed interest as the economy becomes more stable and productive.

Here's some quick information for you related to how 2014 is finishing up. This is for the five counties we follow: Essex, Richmond, Northumberland, Westmoreland and Lancaster. On the numbers sold there may be a handful of sales that straggle in for this year both in terms of residential and land, but that won't affect our 2014 outcome very much. And generally speaking what we have here in these two charts tells us quite a lot.

For residential sales we see that yes, we've sold more and there have been more dollars being spent in 2014 than in any year we can get access to (our MLS holds data for five years and so this goes back to 2010). Without going to my previous blogs and looking at that data I do know that 2008 and 2009 were not good years and although 2009 was the worst because the effects of 2008 were incorporated, 2008 was experiencing a dip in sales. 

For land sales our 2014 sales information is mixed. Not the highest number of sales in the bunch 2014 has the highest median sales price almost the highest number of dollars paid for these properties for the five years reviewed. The number of actives versus solds is troubling as is the median days on market, but that is just the way things are. Not perfect.

All residential sales January 1 through December 31
  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 347 400 423 462 505 808
$ sold (millions) 97.6 104.2 115.7 128.8 142.2 331.3
Median sales price 194,000 195,866 215,000 205,000 210,000 299,000
Median days on market 176 170.5 174 210 199

227

 

All land sales January 1 through December 31

  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 143 135 129 154 135 891
$ sold (millions) 15.8 13.4 12.0 13.9 15.4 127.0
Median sales price 55,000 37,000 51,000 55,000 70,000 75,500
Median days on market 199 188 198 200.5 186 423

In total dollars and numbers 2014 outstripped any of the recent years. Obviously residential is doing better than land. Although sales this year on land have been good with shorter term properties selling and higher priced ones selling. It does show that we have some pretty hefty land inventory that has just been sitting there. Wonder if there have been enough price reductions....the answer, well obviously not with those numbers on the market and with that median days on market number--423!!

These two charts show that we are healthy. Our real estate market is moving along...maybe not at the clip that those who work real estate in suburban and urban locations, but for us...we're doing pretty well.

What will be a bit more interesting is when I put together the numbers which are exclusively waterfront and then all other for both residential and for land. That I will do by the end of the weekend because I am a bit curious. Until then, happy new year, and thank you for keeping track of the market with us. If you need specific help, please let me know either by calling 804-450-4442 cell or emailing kam129@aol.com.     --Kathryn (Kathryn Murray, principal broker)

 

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, December 31, 2014  10:40:29 AM
Finally, some new numbers 0 Comments Posted

I have been remiss. My objective of putting up county-by-county sales numbers got derailed when I had a lot of work to do. My apologies. Perhaps during whatever lull we might have around the holidays I'll be able to go back and do those. For the time being, though, here are numbers that put things into context in terms of sales thus far this year.

I've taken the January 1 through December 11 sales for the regular five counties (4 in the Northern Neck and Essex) and put them together here. For the residential side we'll have three charts: non waterfront, waterview and water access and then waterfront. For the land I've lumped all the properties that aren't waterfront together and the put together a waterfront only chart.

This latest data further supports what we've been finding in this second half of 2014....that we are at least stable, if not slightly improving across the board. Good news, really!!

Non-waterfront residential sales (1/1 to 12/11)
  2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 157 190 207 318
$ sold (millions) 22.6 28.2 27.6 65.4
Median sales price 130,000 125,000 119,900 173,750
Median days on market 163 182.5 183 198.5

Not too bad. 2014 with increasing number of sales, but fewer dollars and a lower median sales price. Median days on market have stayed stable from 2013. There's some inventory here...around a year and a half's worth which is reasonable for our market.

Water view, water access residential sales  (1/1 to 12/11)
  2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 47 52 55 94
$ sold (millions) 7.2 8.4 8.6 20.8
Median sales price 138,855 140,950 147,500 199,900
Median days on market 204 170 165 172

More sales and more dollars in 2014. Higher median sales price and fewer median days on market. A little more than a year and a half's inventory but still not a bad number with those 94 actives. With the exception of the inventory number, all of this is good news. (Yes a disconnect in terms of the median sales price of the solds and those that are active, but we find that pretty much everywhere.)

Waterfront residential sales  (1/1 to 12/11)
  2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 196 197 221 444
$ sold (millions) 81.3 85.8 99.4 259.7
Median sales price 356,250 365,000 375,000 450,000
Median days on market 181 238 224 222.5

More sales, more dollars, higher median sales price and fewer median days on market in 2014 when compared with 2013. Four for four is great!! Yes, basically two years worth of inventory, but that isn't bad given how much property has been available. (Perhaps, though, we will see a change in this come February or March....I suspect so. We'll see.)

Non-waterfront, water view & water access land sales  (1/1 to 12/11)
  2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 70 91 69 533
$ sold (millions) 3.6 4.3 3.9 34.2
Median sales price 30,000 19,500 25,000 35,500
Median days on market 132 162 167 460

This caused me to pause....hmmmm...fewer sales in 2014 vs. 2013 (significantly fewer) and fewer dollars. Median days on market have stayed reasonable and the median sales price has increased in 2014 over 2013. Lots and lots of inventory obviously and for the actives with 460 days as the median days on market....well that is a big ouch!!!

Waterfront land sales  (1/1 to 12/11)
  2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 51 53 61 393
$ sold (millions) 6.9 8.3 11.0 97.3
Median sales price 115,000 144,000 170,000 175,000
Median days on market 224 287 245 373

This segment has been doing well and the numbers bear that out. 2014 shows an increase in number of properties sold, an increase in dollars as well as an increase in median sales price. Along with that comes a reduction in the median days on market. 2014 has been a good  year...an improving year for this group of properties.

Plenty of inventory, though. A similar median sales price for the actives when compared with the 2014 solds. Another number that deserves some attention is that the median days on market for actives exceeds the one year mark....that's a long time! 

Still, looking at the above sales figures as a whole, 2014 has been a good year, an improving year and one that we hope will serve as a springboard to an even stronger 2014.

 

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, December 11, 2014  11:01:32 AM
Photo of Oyster Festival....a test!! 0 Comments Posted

 

Recently I wrote about the oyster festival (about two weeks ago). I've been speaking with the people who manage our MLS and websites (for most of us). I wanted to start putting up photos and so here is one from the Reedville Fisherman's Oyster Festival....the guys working the fire and cooking those great oysters!!

Read back one post for the numbers of the day. I posted that information earlier.

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, December 02, 2014  9:35:57 AM
County by county waterfront summary 0 Comments Posted

I'll get to this during the course of the week. I thought it would be nice to see each county's waterfront sales in perspective. Since Lancaster is a large county with much for sale, and also because it has Kilmarnock and a hospital and golf courses right in the proximity, it is an interesting one to look at first. Here we have numbers for waterfront residential properties from January 1 through November 30 just for Lancaster county at the moment. Looks pretty good...but plenty of inventory in the $600,000 plus categories....something in the 3 years plus vicinity....otherwise below $600,000 we're talking more about two year's worth.

Up to $300,000

  2011 2012 2013 2014 active
# sold 3 10 10 12 23
$ sold (millions) 727,500* 2.2 1.9 2.3 5.3
Median sales price 232,000 216,500 196,000 193,500 249,000
Median days on market 100 503 268 281 276

*not millions, obviously. 

Look at those days on market in 2012, wow!!! Decline in median sales price. Slight increase in days on market for 2014 over 2013.

$300,000-$600,000

  2011 2012 2013 2014 active
# sold 28 34 35 31 63
$ sold (millions) 11.9 14.3 13.5 12.5 28.4
Median sales price 411,000 407,000 385,000 395,000 450,000
Median days on market 178 222.5 269 254 246

Give or take it looks like this segment is holding its own in a fashion simililar to 2012 and 2013. Slight decline in numbers and in dollars and better than median sales price in 2014 over 2013 and fewer median days on market than in 2013. Only about double the inventory sold available as active at this price point. In Northern Neck waterfront terms, that's not too bad.

$600,000-$900,000

  2011 2012 2013 2014 active
# sold 8 6 16 13 47
$ sold (millions) 5.7 4.2 11.8 9.5 35.0
Median sales price 737,000 739,000 736,000 720,000 745,000
Median days on market 443 180.5 313.5 187 173

Obviously better sales numbers in 2013 and 2014. Lesser sales in 2014 versus 2013. Also a slightly declining median sales price in 2014, but also a big improvement in median days on market. More than three years worth of inventory if you annualize what we have as of the 1st of December, so a more challenged segment than the two discussed prior to this.

$900,000 to $1,200,000

  2011 2012 2013 2014 active
# sold 3 2 4 5 18
$ sold (millions) 2.8 1.8 3.7 4.8 18.3
Median sales price 930,000 890,000 920,000 950,000 992,250
Median days on market 199 263 413.5 301 162

2014 gives us the best performance numbers-wise and dollars-wise of the four years. Also an improved median sales price (meaning increased which of course is important to sellers). Far fewer median days on market in 2014 when looking at 2013. We could make a big fuss over one more property being sold in 2014 versus 2013....wouldn't that be hugely statistically significant .....a 25% increase in sales numbers (4 to 5 sales)....and what does that mean, pretty much nothing if it were a headline and not supported with real numbers. But taken together with an overview of 4 years I think that this segment is stable. It too, has more than three years worth of inventory if we annualize what we have up until December.

$1,200,000 plus

  2011 2012 2013 2014 active
# sold 1 4 4 5 19
$ sold (millions) 1.1 6.0 7.2 9.2 34.2
Median sales price 1.1 1.3 1.8 1.35 1.7
Median days on market 109 207 214 198 185

This is another segment where most of the numbers for 2014 are an improvement over the past four years. Certainly the median sales price isn't as high as in 2013, but otherwise it is improved. And certainly 2014 is improved over 2011 and 2012 except for the fact that median days on market in 2011 were much lower. We have close to four year's worth of inventory active if we use our current number to annualize. A challenged segment, but we wouldn't be surprised about that. Also, an improving segment, which is good news.

Please feel free to call or email me if you'd like me to review a specific real estate question you are considering. Thank you. --Kathryn, Kathryn Murray, 804-450-4442 cell, kam129@aol.com

 

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, December 02, 2014  8:17:01 AM
Promises, promises...by the end of the day 0 Comments Posted

A bunch of running around to do after a totally calm and beautiful day on the river yesterday. Nothing could have been more spectacular than the dawn with the bit of overcast and the perfectly calm waters that reflected up some of the puffy clouds.

Yesterday we all were hearing from family and loved ones (or been able to share with them) and hopefully are filled with goodwill based on how really full of goodness and grace our lives our...how much we truly have. Thanksgiving is a great holiday and I intend to hold the feelings of yesterday closeby as I ease into this next couple of days. No shopping for me. No trying to win out on something I really don't need. Things are quite good just the way they are. 

What was most fun about yesterday was telling myself to stop...I didn't turn on the computer. Yes, I did check my email a couple of times on my phone but that is a far cry from the hourly obsession that makes up my regular days. And I knew that no one was going to respond or act on anything anyway, and wasn't that a nice type of day. It is something. We really do STOP. We really do NOTICE. We really do SHARE and not in a way that requires any commercial element. You could leave the TV off (except for football and maybe the parade....although it has become openly filled with a lot of ads-- I guess) and recreate a Thanksgiving of 10 or 20 or 40 years ago....and it would require nothing really new--just those dear to us who share in the day. Old recipes handed down. Old China perhaps shared among family members....a collection of friends and family and a feeling of being really there for the moment. 

Okay, enough for now. Off to do some of the things that need to be done and I will be back to put up some numbers and a bit of perspective before the sun sets. I appreciate your being there and coming to read what the Northern Neck has to offer....and what it has been experiencing. I am thankful for a great deal, not least of all the simplicity that comes with living in a place where people are generally friendly and there are spaces in between experiences. That long drive from here to there is actually a moment to catch your breath and let your mind wander a little. Hmmm... a gift.

4:15 p.m. Back again and just barely before sunset. Since I'll be updating us once we finish up the month it didn't seem particularly advantageous to look at anything that told us a bit more of what we already know and just at a day or two before we have a whole month to look at. For that reason I went and looked at dollars/square foot for solds at different price points. As you know if you've read this over time, I'm not a great supporter of that bit of statistics being terribly useful. Then again if it is for a specific price point then all the great variables will have factored in for each year. I still don't like it. What accounts for the size of the property and the depth of the water etc. Well rather than talking you out of looking at this, what I suggest is that you see it with a rather skeptical eye. We all know that statistics can be pushed and pulled and manipulated to say almost anything based on what you include and what you include. I'm not out to make any major point...it was another exercize that may or may not tell us something new.

This chart is for the five counties we follow: Westmoreland, Northumberland, Lancaster, Richmond and Essex. It is for the time frame from January 1 through November 28th and for the respective years. You'll see what the price points are and what the price per square foot is for the solds in that time frame.

Waterfront residential price/sq.ft.
Price point of sold property 2011 2012 2013 2014
Up to $400,000 191.87 184.53 173.85 185.00
$400,000 to $800,000 221.19 227.00 212.00 205.84
$800,000 to $1,200,000 279.47 287.50 236.00 234.50
$1,200,000 plus 290.63 338.00 423.75 430.22

Taking a quick look at this we can see that the price per square foot of the under $400,000 segment has declined since 2011 but is slightly above 2012 and 2013. What does that tell us? I really can't say. I guess what it looks like is it is rather stable.

Looking at the next category, well the price is less in 2014 than in any of the previous three years. Perhaps that tells us that people are getting more for their money. Again, a tough call. The next segment the $800,000 to $1.2 million has shown a steady decline in $/sq.ft.--this segment has been hard hit in this market. That leaves us with the $1.2 million plus group. There the $/sq.ft price is up and up considerably since 2011. Just the opposite of the three lower priced segments.

You tell me. Does this help you understand the market any better than without it. I'm not sure it really helps me, but it does tell me that things are changing and in some cases subtley and in other cases not so subtley. I'm looking forward to just working with the real numbers and not ones that are based on so many variables other than square feet....in a town or city, square feet tend to be square feet. Here, square feet can come with lots of acreage or not. With  a spectacular view or not. With a great pier complex or no pier. With sand beach or no. Square feet as a measure of what is going on is a very complex number and something to just give you a bit more information but nothing to really depend on.

If you have a statistical request, please email it to me. I am always willing to take a look and would love a suggestion of something new to look at.....later next week will be the monthly update.  My thanks, Kathryn                 Kathryn Murray, 804-450-4442 cell

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, November 28, 2014  8:59:47 AM
Being a Realtor 0 Comments Posted

Despite the glamour that ones see on TV with pretty models and great houses (or total disasters that get rehabbed into something great) real estate is a challenging job which often isn't pretty. Day to day you never know exactly what you are going to find and the things that shift and change are often ones that you can't anticipate.

Two weeks ago there were three real estate deals that encountered problems related to our firm, all in a one week timeframe. Each one of them was one that could potentially cause a serious lack of sleep on my part. Well I've been doing this sort of work for more than twenty years and perhaps getting past the twenty year mark is helpful in being reasonable about what looks like a crisis and how to react. 

There are so many moving parts and so many parties who participate in a real estate deal so it is key for one as a Realtor to know where you fit in. Often you can't change what is happening and so you have to ride it out. You advise your client and you wait. Not easy to do. A lot may hang in the balance. The sale and change of ownership may be critical either to the buyer or the seller, but there is a point at which you just can't make things happen.

I've had sellers who just don't understand why the market hasn't responded to their property with its being offered beautifully on the Internet and in local advertising. They think that something is wrong. They think that their Realtor has failed them. They look for reasons. And sometimes there just aren't any good reasons. I've spoken with numerous Realtors who say that they had some great listings this past few months and some of them never had anyone walk in the door. There are just too many listings. There is too much to see. It just isn't simple.

We've all been to properties, whether buyers or Realtors and known instantly when we drove up the drive that this isn't what you thought it would be. Buyers can't understand sometimes why it is that they weren't told the whole truth...why they didn't know the next door neighbor was right on top of the house for sale, or I can't even tell you the types of things that come up....but really as a Realtor you do understand what is going on. No one can anticipate what trade-offs a buyer will consider. Is the interior of the house much nicer than comparables and the next door neighbor issue isn't really one for this particular buyer when the nicer great room is taken into consideration? Who would know this but the buyer themselves and maybe they would say, no that doesn't work and then standing there in the actual home they get a feeling that tells them, well, yes, I can work with this.

So back to the three situations. They were discussed, they were carefully considered. All possible efforts that could be made as a Realtor in the deal were handled and then one just had to stand back and let it all go. I did/we did. And it ended up that they were let go quite successfully by me. Rather than tossing and turning and losing at least a night's sleep over each of them I gave them five full minutes beyond the effort part and let them go. No, I wasn't perfect with this...they would drift back into my consciousness, but I would say, no, go away, I can't fix you any more than I have. By the end of the week the three situations had righted themselves. They were no longer problems. They were in the flow again. They had been fixed by the parties who could act on them and they weren't really my problem or the firm's, but we were a part of it.

With selling houses I've said to sellers, short of standing in the street and flagging down cars, there really isn't anything more I can do. When I worked for an appraiser years ago he said to me the two key terms in any property for sale are price and condition. Condition is pretty straight forward. Is the house in good shape? Are the systems all relatively new and in working order? How much work would one have to do in order to move in? Obviously depending on the type of property being considered the expectations can vary greatly. But condition is pretty much condition. Is the property in the type of shape you would expect. Price, though, that is a different story. That is much more complicated. In price comes a whole host of issues. The type of construction, the location of the home, the home's relationship to neighboring homes and to the community and perhaps to the town. Does the home have any benefits such as amenities or perhaps a view of the water? Garage, no garage. Materials that the house is built of. On and on and on. So you would think that if the condition is great and the price is on target that the property would fly off the shelf. Well some that have these advantages of good condition and good pricing have been moving quite quickly, but others that you would have thought would sell well and fast, haven't. The crystal ball on all this is that our market has a lot of inventory and is still rather unpredictable.

Take as a for instance a listing we've had for months. A spectacular 6000 square foot home (Lindhal cedar) on a 2 acre plus waterfront lot located on the Corrotoman River. At $900,000, which is the current asking price, you couldn't build this home today. It is spacious and classy and perfect for someone who wants to have plenty of extra room for a big group of family and friends. Add into the selling equation the improvements on the property. The deep water pier, the great two car garage that probably could fit 4 cars, the landscaping and planting...oh and did I say Geothermal heat....and you have to shake your head and wonder what is going on. This is a superb place and there haven't been many lookers.

I guess I've been a bit all over the place this morning writing about being a Realtor. Let me finish with outlining how many different parts make up the deal. You have the buyers.  You have the sellers. Generally you have two Realtors, one representing the buyer and the seller. There is the mortgage company, who has underwriters, and then the appraiser. If the appraisal doesn't come in, then a renegotiaion may take place....or it may just be the end of the deal. You have the closing agent who may either be an attorney or a title company. There can be concerns about the buyers and their credit. That needs to be evaluated. That can finish a deal. The title search may bring up issues that may or may not require some adjustment, or may terminate the deal (though not often). There is the home inspection and what that tells the buyer about the house may be that there are too many problems that are not going to be addressed by the seller, well that's the end of the deal. Water, termite and septic inspections take place during the last thirty days prior to closing. Although they usually go smoothly, deals certainly have fallen apart when the termite has shown too much wrong with the house and the seller isn't willing to shell out more than the $1000 required for termite remediation.

So when it looks as if your Realtor has got a deal that is going to come together and be a paycheck for them and hmmm, that seemed easy, think about all the people and circumstances that are a part of that deal. Think about where that deal might fall apart and how much time and effort that Realtor is really putting into the sale in order to get it to the finish line. 

There are reasons that I like being a Realtor and reasons that I don't. Each day I know can twist and turn in ways I can't really predict. Days which look like turmoil to me, can become quiet days and a time to catch up and file and plan and anticipate. Other days that should be calm are totally not calm. What a Realtor needs to be is resilient. Each day can be fast and furious with new things cropping up. It isn't easy and a good Realtor should be considered essential when buying and selling. Knowing how to get things done. Knowing who to call. Knowing when to do absolutely nothing. It is all important and it isn't simple. I think that it is true that in a way we have to reinvent ourselves almost daily....an interesting way to make a living, isn't it?

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, November 24, 2014  8:21:44 AM
More numbers for perspective 0 Comments Posted

I've been slow in putting anything up since I do get tired of pushing the same information over and over again. Granted it is good to be updated, but there should be a bit of a twist every now and then. Now this isn't anything really radical. You've seen something similar at some point in the last year or two, but it is a bit of a change.

In the charts below are the sales numbers for all residential in each of the counties over the course of 2012, 2013 and 2014 for January 1 through November 20th. Once I put those numbers together I decided it would be nice to have a bit of broad-brush perspective for land and that is at the conclusion. At the very very end I've made waterfront land a subset to review.

Essex county, all residential
  2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 53 53 57 61
$ sold (millions) 10.2 9.1 12.1 18.2
Median sales price 152,000 129,950 141,000 215,500
Median days on market 157 156 129

158

This looks pretty healthy to me. Solds are up in 2014. Dollars are up. Median sales price is up and median days on market is down. Median sales price on the actives is 50% higher than the solds. There aren't that many properties on the market with 61 available compared to 57 sold thus far. Not bad at all.

Lancaster county, all residential

  2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 102 123 119 324
$ sold (millions) 36.2 46.7 43.7 154.8
Median sales price 301,250 277,500 245,000 354,500
Median days on market 197 260 231

207

Completely different market here. Pretty healthy in that sales in 2014 are similar to those in 2013...not quite as good and with a reduced median sales price. Good news is that the median days on market have dropped. About 2.5 times as much inventory available as has sold. Similar difference between the median sales price of what has sold and what is on the market. Quite a bit of difference. Median days on market for the actives isn't too bad at 207.

 

Northumberland county, all residential

  2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 126 125 148 340
$ sold (millions) 37.8 36.1 42.4 137.5
Median sales price 275,000 246,500 247,000 322,500
Median days on market 188 211 199.5 202

Better sales numbers and better dollars in 2014. Median sales price is up just a drop from last year. Real discrepancy between the median sales price and what things are selling for. More than double the inventory of actives as what has sold. Not perfect, but not bad at all. Improving sales market with a fair amount of inventory.

 

Richmond county, all residential
  2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 23 31 34 39
$ sold (millions) 3.7 6.1 4.5 10.2
Median sales price 150,500 162,000 91,000 189,000
Median days on market 132 214 237 175

Looks pretty healthy in that there are more sales, but then take another look...there's a huge drop in the median sales price and as a consequence the dollars sold in 2014 is much lower than 2013. Not too many actives but the median price point is double that of what has sold. Not so many days on market for the actives. For the solds the days on market just seem to increase.  Reasonable number of sales, but seriously declining median sales price. Makes you wonder a bit. I guess a lot of foreclosure activity in Richmond county.

Westmoreland county, all residential
  2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 79 82 95 161
$ sold (millions) 17.6 16.5 21.1 49.3
Median sales price 165,000 152,450 165,000 255,000
Median days on market 148 162.5 170 181

This is a healthy market for one of the counties that has quite a good number of sales. Improved number of solds. Improved dollars sold. Improved median sales price, all for 2014. The only place that 2014 fell behind is with median days on market, but if you compare with some of the other counties, this isn't bad at all. Not too many actives in relationship to what has sold this year. And not quite the same disconnect that some of the other counties have in terms of median sales price in 2014 and that of the actives. Looks good. Good for Westmoreland county.

Five counties, all land
  2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 116 130 126 932
$ sold (millions) 9.8 11.5 14.3 135.1
Median sales price 48,000 54,000 63,000 74,750
Median days on market 160 216.5 203 389

2014 has brought us a couple fewer sales than 2013, but considerably more dollars. The median sales price has gone up this year, but then again, so have the median days on market. There isn't a bad relationship between the sales price in 2014 and the median sales price of the actives. It does look like we have about 7 years worth of inventory when looking at the actives vs. 2014 solds. And wow, look at the median days on market for those actives....that's a lot--389!!!

Five counties, all waterfront land 2014 sold & actives
      2014 Active
# sold     58 391
$ sold (millions)     10.4 96.9
Median sales price     165,000 175,000
Median days on market     261.5 352

We knew there would be some good news and some bad. Obviously there is lots and lots of inventory. What is good about this is that the median sales price of what has sold is very similar to the active median. There is a long period for median days on market for the actives which is 352. As with the overall land market there is about 7 times as much inventory available as has sold thus far this year. That's a lot of inventory.

Any words of wisdom about all this? Well, we are doing pretty well. Things are improving but very slowly. Don't be looking for a market that mimics 2005 any time soon....just take advantage of activity and be realistic, both buying and selling. And please call us if we can help. --Kathryn

Kathryn Murray, principal broker, 804-450-4442 cell

 

 




 

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, November 20, 2014  9:24:38 AM
New Northern Neck waterfront residential numbers 0 Comments Posted

Time to do a bit of broad brush review of where we stand now that we are approaching Thanksgiving. As we've been seeing in the other numbers and analyses, we're really on the road to some improvement. The success differs from price point to price point and really within these broad categories there has to be variation. Still, take a look and see how things are doing for waterfront residential properties in the four counties of the Northern Neck and Essex county. These numbers are for January 1 through November 12 for the respective years.

WF Res. up to $300,000 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 50 54 59 106
$ sold (millions) 10.1 11.4 12.9 25.8
Median sales price 200,000 203,500 219,000 250,000
Median days on market 225 250.5 266 212.5

2014 has the strongest showing yet with more sold and more dollars than in the previous two years. Those previous two years were the best since 2008's meltdown. Median sales price is up, but then again so are median days on market. Under two years worth of inventory if we were to continue at this rate. Not too bad in Northern Neck terms. Not bad at all.

WF Res. $300,000 to $600,000 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 105 93 96 226
$ sold (millions) 42.7 37.2 38.5 97.6
Median sales price 399,000 385,000 395,000 399,945
Median days on market 172 228 205 205

2014 is stronger than 2013 but just by a bit. Obviously sales in 2012 were stronger than the ones we have this year. A little bit more than twice the number of 2014 solds that are currently active. Not a bad relationship in terms of actives to solds.

WF Res. $600,000 to $900,000 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 13 24 26 99
$ sold (millions) 8.9 17.3 18.4 74.7
Median sales price 699,000 715,000 670,000 745,000
Median days on market 158 168 202.5 217

Double the sales and more than double the dollars when looking at 2014 versus 2012. And a modest improvement in 2014 over 2013. Granted the median sales price in 2014 is considerably lower than either of the two previous years. The days on market have gone up too. Almost four years worth of inventory in this category given the numbers sold in 2014 thus far.

WF Res. $900,000 to $1,200,000 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 4 4 10 32
$ sold (millions) 3.8 3.7 9.4 37.8
Median sales price 925,000 920,000 937,500 994,750
Median days on market 257 413.5 205.5 205.5

Wow, look at this. This part of the market is looking quite healthy (relatively speaking) Far more sales in 2014. Far more dollars sold and an increased median sales price. And what a drop in median days on market. True, we do have a little over three times as much inventory as what has been sold thus far in 2014, but still this is really good news.

WF Res. $1,200,000+ 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 3 5 4 31
$ sold (millions) 3.6 8.7 7.8 55.3
Median sales price 1.1 1.5 1.8 1.5
Median days on market 222 246 208 166

2014 is slightly down from 2013 but up from 2012. Median sales price is up and median days on market have dropped in 2014. Lots of inventory though...close to 8 times as much available as has sold in 2014. That means lots of competition for those high-end dollars.

Cumulatively looking at all the categories above, they support our data stating that 2014 is working out to be a better year than 2013. This looks to be the best year yet since 2008. That's good news!

 

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, November 12, 2014  10:50:06 AM
Reedville Fishermen's Museum Oyster Roast 0 Comments Posted

Saturday November 8th....What a day to hold such an event!! What a terrific venue and boy did people have fun. I have been before but never given the sort of perspective I got yesterday. Seeing how the event pulls together and seeing many of the bits and pieces before the crowds entered added to an already strong impression that this oyster roast is really something!

In the past I've been a member of RFM and participated in the Christmas on Cockrell's Creek event which is another very well handled event. (A house tour in Reedville which includes being ferried by boat from at least one or two of the participating households.) Because I now live so far away (an hour) and seem to have more than enough to handle, that relationship has dwindled. A friend, though, asked that I come and take photographs and most specifically photos of the men working to cook the oysters. I suspect that most of the 1,000 who show for this oyster roast don't really think about the process of getting the oysters in front of them, but step by step I was shown what goes on. (Tickets are sold out long before the November date.)

Tucked in the back near the water and cordoned off from the public is a rather large space dedicated to cooking the oysters.  Large boxes of oysters are hauled off a tractor trailer and dumped onto the considerable length of heavy duty screen (more like a grid made of iron I would bet) that runs perhaps 30 feet long. It is partitioned into sections that are maybe 3 or 4 feet long and perhaps about 3 and a half feet wide. Each of these grids is just about the right size to take one of these large boxes of oysters. Once dumped onto the grid they are moved around with shovels until the moment when they pop open and are just cooked...just right. Oh, and I failed to say that running the length of this set of grids is a carefully developed and monitored fire that of course roasts these oysters to perfection. (I loved that when a section of the fire wasn't quite living up to its responsibility there was someone with a leaf blower that blasted a bit of air into that area and brought the fire to life.)

The cooking group had everything under control. I got there a bit after 1 p.m. and their goal in cooking at that time was to have a great number of bushels of cooked oysters ready to roll...ready for those who were standing at the gate and waiting to get in. Kept under quilts for the last twenty minutes or so, there were plenty of bushels to be moved via a couple of wagons to the next stage. When the whistle was blown to say the Oyster Roast had begun, well there were oysters on many of the tables.

Back to the process--Towing the wagons of bushels of oysters they came to a stop by a long talbe. That table with lots and lots of trays, one or two men pulled those bushels up and dumped them on to the trays and young kids came and grabbed them--they were the runners...they got the trays of oysters to each of the locations where they were needed. Funny how well this is run. There are little corridors cordoned off for the runners only. That way they don't get held up along the way. And there is a great system for distribution and keeping everyone in oysters..... Each location throughout the two large tents gets a number that is posted on top of a metal piece that can be held up and seen from afar. A set of these numbers are held by volunteers up high for the runners to see. And I have to believe that the person with the sign must be the one putting numbers up and then crossing them out when the group has received their oysters. Once the big tray full of steaming hot oysters is dumped, back the runner goes to pick up more and race back to another group who is waiting.

So roasted oysters, oysters on the half shell, steamed clams, clam chowder, barbecue, hamburgers and hot dogs....wine and beer (paid for independently) and a great DJ who had the crowd rocking out. This was something and all this opportunity was distributed throughout the grounds of the Fishermen's Musuem. The workboats were out at the dock and could be visited. Lots of little nooks and crannies to wander through....just a really well run and enjoyable event.

The price for this is $40. It is a major fundraiser for the museum and I can understand given how many places on the Northern Neck struggle, why perhaps the RFM is in pretty good shape. This is well managed. This is well attended. This really is something. My understanding is that tickets are sold locally first and then when the balance of the tickets go up for sale online--once that happens they are sold out in a couple of hours.

For any of you who haven't been to the museum, it is worth a trip. Granted when you get to Reedville the expectation is that there will be a collection of things to do. This is really not the case. There are the wonderful Victorian houses that line the street that are certainly noteworthy since they were built with money at a time when Reedville was one of the most affluent towns in the United States. There is the Ice Cream Parlor tucked off to the right toward the end of the street with homemade ice cream. There are two restaurants, the Crazy Crab and Tommy's but don't work with the assumption that they are open all the time. Especially off season calling ahead is critical. The museum itself is a destination showing the history of the menhaden industry and the town. Even though it can be quite a drive, depending on where you are coming from, it beautifully reflects a major time and place in the Northern Neck's history. And by the way....I really recommend the Oyster Roast....wonderfully tasty oysters and the steamed clams were some the likes of which I haven't tasted in twenty years. A good time with good food. Well worth the wait until next year!

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, November 09, 2014  7:59:59 AM
November 1 sales summary for Northern Neck 0 Comments Posted

Here we are, zooming towards Thanksgiving and obviously there is still plenty going on in the real estate market here in the Northern Neck. What I found by looking at this year compared with 2012 and 2013 is that we are doing better than the previous two years. Keep in mind that those two years were the first reasonably notable step up from the sluggishness (or almost standstill) that occured post September 2008 when the extremely troubled financial world really shattered our sense of comfort in terms of investments and how to deal with our money....obviously it affected us all.

I'm glad to be able to say that at this point 2014 is shaping up to be a more successful year dollars-wise and sales numbers-wise than the previous two years. As we've discussed, though, there has been a shift in where those sales are taking place (in terms of price point). These charts are for the timeframe indicated and for the 5 counties which include Westmoreland, Northumberland, Richmond, Lancaster and Essex.

Residential sales 1/1 through 11/1
  2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 345 392 427 947
$ sold (millions) 92.1 108.9 115.4 376.6
Median sales price 215,000 206,000 195,000 299,900
Median days on market 169 206.5 189 184

 

Improving sales numbers in 2014 and improving sales dollars. It is true, though, that the median sales price has continued to drop and the relationship between the 2014 median sales price and that of the actives is a really big leap. Nice that the median days on market has dropped, although it is still signficant. Median days on market for those that are active are in the same ballpark. A bit more than double the 2014 sold inventory in the active column, but we've seen more challenging relationships. All in all this says we are improving in our sales although we know that not every category of property falls into that improving zone.

 

Land sales 1/1 through 11/1

  2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 112 123 122 936
$ sold (millions) 9.1 10.9 14.1 137.3
Median sales price 47,750 53,000 67,500 75,000
Median days on market 160 211 203.5 374

This doesn't look too bad. I think with a total of one fewer sale and the fact that it sometimes takes Realtors a few days, if not a week or two to close out their sales in our system, it is okay to say we've sold as many if not perhaps more this year. The dollars are certainly higher and therefore the median sales price is higher too. Over 200 days on the market for the solds (the median) but that's a far cry from the median days on market for the actives at this point. Lots of inventory and lots of days on market for that inventory. Still, solid sales this year which is good.

The cumulative numbers for 2014 tell us that yes, we are doing fine this year. This is a pretty stable market.

 

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, November 04, 2014  8:39:02 AM
Seems like summer's really over 0 Comments Posted

Yesterday was extraordinary. Temperature in the mid 80s and that light that looks honey colored, soft and warm and just perfect. A wonderful temperature and a day to be savored. With that said, I really doubt that we'll be seeing any more 80 degree days in 2014...that would be too much to ask.

And there were little (or big) symbolic activities that appeared yesterday that told me, yes, we are switching into late fall and looking toward winter. The soybean fields that have been a quiet playground for my dogs to run around in, with their tails raised high and their noses to the ground, have now been harvested. Yesterday was quite the day for it around here, and in one of the fields the farmer was hard at work with his lights on continuing to run the field after dark. Why not, really. A perfect day moves on to a perfect evening and they are saying rain perhaps for today.

The guys at the crab house drove by with their pick ups heavily loaded with crab pots. It's over. The season is really over. Had I been driving by the crab house I'm sure I would have seen them with stacks of the pots as they hosed them down getting them ready for winter storage. There's just no question that there is a shift all the way around.

I was reminded yesterday evening as well, at how connected we all are even as we go about our daily activities. In the late afternoon I went to the store for dinner and then on to the post office and finally to Garners Produce to drop off a bucket that was loaned to me when I picked flowers a couple of weeks ago. My husband and I had tried to see the Wallops Island take off on Monday evening, as I'm sure many others had, and of course with no launch there was nothing to view. A phone message from him greeted me after I was finished with my business at Garners and knowing that 6:22 was it, I drove quickly (didn't speed I'm sure) to get to a location that had a broad, broad view of the sky in the correct direction. I pulled over off of Newland Road and got my bearings. This was just a minute or two before the 6:22 moment. And as I jumped out of the car and checked my phone's compass I realized that the man who was harvesting soybeans in the field in front of me was stopped and was looking the same direction as I. He paused for those same couple of minutes and then with nothing happening, he continued on his way. I returned home to the news of the launch failure and the many photos on the news.

Now we focus on what to do next. Do houses need to be winterized? Are people starting to get distracted thinking about the holidays? In ways this time gets quiet, but in other ways there are some buyers who have been looking for quite some time and this is a time when they think they can get a deal. It may be correct on their part. It may not. All depends on the sellers circumstances and what they can and can not do. 

Well another beautiful day, just not quite what yesterday was. I'm going with one of my agents to walk a couple of large acreage lots that really need to be seen to be understood. That's just a fact in real estate, you may have seen photos of a lot or a house, but until you are there and on the ground, there's really no way to fully understand.

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, October 29, 2014  8:57:56 AM
County by county residential sales 0 Comments Posted

Here are residential sales in the Northern Neck, county by county for the time period of January 1 through October 26. I've broken the numbers out into a series of different price points. What you'll also see is that I have x/y under each year. What this stands for is the number that has sold = x and the dollars sold in millions = y. Generally this information shows us that we are holding our own in 2014 and that there are variations as to where the sales are coming in. Lots of under $200,000 is selling.

Essex County All Residential 1/1 to 10/26
  2012 2013 2014 Active
Up to $200,000 32/3.6 33/3.7 37/3.7 31/3.9
$200,000 to $400,000 12/3.4 13/3.4 8/2.1 23/6.7
$400,000 to $600,000 5/2.4 3/1.6 3/1.3 3/1.7
$600,000 plus 0 0 2/1.6 6/6.1

 

Lancaster County All Residential 1/1 to 10/26
  2012 2013 2014 Active
Up to $200,000 30/3.5 36/4.2 41/4.8 92/12.1
$200,000 to $400,000 29/8.3 36/10.3 33/9.0 101/31.8
$400,000 to $600,000 17/8.0 19/7.8 15/7.0 52/26.8
$600,000 plus 11/9.6 21/19.6 20/20.4 82*/81.2

*A subset of the $600,000 plus is the $1 million plus. In that category there have been 6 that sold this year in Lancaster county. Presently there are 19 active.

Interesting that in the under $200,000 category these two counties (Essex and Lancaster) are very similar in their sales. Of course they are very different in their number of actives. For Essex there have been 37 sold with 31 active in this category. For Lancaster there are 41 that have sold with 92 that are currently active. Lots of inventory in Lancaster for this price point.

Westmoreland County All Residential 1/1 to 10/26
  2012 2013 2014 Active
Up to $200,000 42/4.7 48/5.4 56/7.3 64/9.5
$200,000 to $400,000 19/5.1 18/5.0 22/6.4 63/18.8
$400,000 to $600,000 12/5.7 7/3.1 9/3.9 27/13.2
$600,000 plus 1/800,000* 3/1.9 2/1.4 19/14.2

* obviously this is simply $800,000

Improved sales in 2014 over 2013 in all categories except for the $600,000 plus. Not huge differences, but still an improvement.

Northumberland County All Residential 1/1 to 10/26

  2012 2013 2014 Active
Up to $200,000 38/4/7 43/4.8 52/5.9 104/13.3
$200,000 to $400,000 45/12.8 43/12.1 44/12.5 153/46.9
$400,000 to $600,000 22/10.0 22/10.3 18/8.2 54/26.9
$600,000 plus 7/5.4 9/7.0 9/6.7 61/62.8

Lowest two price points improved and upper two price points didn't in 2014. Goes along with what we've been saying...that 2014 is pretty much following 2013 although the distribution of sales is a bit different. Some of these counties have lots of inventory and then Essex and Richmond have far fewer properties in inventory.

Richmond County All Residential 1/1 to 10/26

  2012 2013 2014 Active
Up to $200,000 14/1.6 17/2.0 22/1.8 22/3.1
$200,000 to $400,000 8/2.0 9/2.3 7/1.7 11/3.4
$400,000 to $600,000 0 2/885,000* 1/526,000* 5/2.2
$600,000 plus 0 1/650,000* 0 2/2.2

*obviously these are the actual numbers and not millions

Looking at Richmond county what you can say is "not too much" selling. And I'm sure that relatively speaking there aren't that many properties period in the whole county for sale or not. And think about the contour of Richmond county's waterfront....it is much straighter than the many creeks and rivers that are along the Northumberland or Lancaster coasts. There isn't that much to be had as waterfront in this county and along the river and into the creeks there are still a lot of old farms that aren't going to change their use any time soon. That is really good for those of us who live here since the rural nature continues and there isn't a lot of subdividing going on. At this point with all the waterfront lots available everywhere, there is no financial incentive to divide up property so we will be the thankful beneficiaries of beautiful landscapes of open or farmed land.

 

 

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, October 26, 2014  12:14:30 PM
Tomorrow. 0 Comments Posted

I try to write at least twice a week if not three times. I haven't quite kept up this week and apologize. For tomorrow's effort what I intend to do is take each county and compare sales from 2014 with 2012 and 2013. These numbers will be broken out for property under $200,000, then $200,000 to $400,000, $400,000 to $600,000 and then $600,000 and over. That might be a bit ambitious, but it is my goal. It will show how small some counties are and then how large others area. But it will probably show a shift in where the sales are in 2014. We'll see.

Today is just way too hectic, so I can't get it done. But it was important that I tell you that tomorrow, Sunday, will be a day with new perspective on the 2014 Northern Neck real estate market.

View Comments | Add Comment Saturday, October 25, 2014  7:29:46 AM
By the numbers 0 Comments Posted
Everyone keeps asking if it isn't "getting better." They are asking about our local market and isn't it clear that changes are coming and we're going to get out of this sluggishness soon.
 
I keep saying that I believe it is sort of flat. We've looked at numbers this year that show this is pretty much the case, but here we are approaching the first of November and I thought it was time to see what the numbers really have to say at this late date. Here it is in a rather broad-brush fashion, residential properties for the five counties for the period 1/1 to 10/18 for a series of different price points. Essex county and the four counties of the Northern Neck are included.
 
Residential sales up to $100,000
  2013 2014 Active
# sold 61 72 94
$ sold (millions) 3.8 4.5 7.0
Median sales price 65,000 64,500 75,000
Median days on market 117 150.5 163.5

A slight improvement here in terms of number of sales and dollars sold. Actives are not a huge number in relationship to the number of sales. Days on market have increased both for the 2014 solds and the actives, but still and all, not bad. Holding our own...actually there is an improvement here.

Residential sales $100,000 to $250,000
  2013 2014 Active
# sold 145 168 303
$ sold (millions) 23.3 26.8 54.3
Median sales price 159,000 155,000 178,000
Median days on market 207 202 168

Again we are holding our own, or actually see a slight improvement in 2014 in all categories except for the median sales price. And there are fewer than twice the number of actives as number of solds for 2014. Not really a bad relationship for around here. So this one as well as the lower price point has slight good news for us.

 
Residential sales $250,000 to $500,000
  2013 2014 Active
# sold 111 108 358
$ sold (millions) 36.9 37.2 128.2
Median sales price 325,000 334,000 349,250
Median days on market 238 194 187

Slight reduction in number of solds with a slight increase in dollars sold for 2014. An increase of median sales price and a reduction in median days on market for 2014. Not a very signficant difference between median sales price for those properties sold in 2014 and those that are active. There is a bit more than three times as much active inventory as there have been solds in 2014. Really, so close to three years worth of inventory within this category. I think with the fewer numbers and the slightly higher dollars we'll just call this price point a wash. Not good news and not bad news.

Residential sales $500,000 to $750,000
  2013 2014 Active
# sold 30 24 116
$ sold (millions) 16.8 14.2 72.2
Median sales price 537,500 617,500 615,750
Median days on market 189.5 257.5 170

A 20% drop in number of sales in 2014. A lesser percentage drop in total dollars but that's because the median price of the sales significantly increased in 2014. But look at the median days on market....that really increased. We also have almost 5 times as many properties active as we have sold this year. Median days on market for those actives looks pretty good. Obviously with fewer sales, lesser dollars, higher median days on market and close to 5 years worth of inventory, this is a segment that isn't doing as well as in 2013.

Residential sales $750,000 tp $1,000,000
  2013 2014 Active
# sold 18 12 71
$ sold (millions) 14.4 9.9 63.1
Median sales price 774,750 824,850 895,000
Median days on market * * *

Fewer sales by a third in 2014. Fewer dollars too. Higher median sales price in 2014 which helped the total dollar sales. Almost 6 times the number of 2014 solds available in the active category. This is another category that is behind 2013. Not an improving segment for this year.

* got distracted and forgot to record....don't think this is essential information at the moment.

 
Residential sales $1,000,000 plus
  2013 2014 Active
# sold 5 7 39
$ sold (millions) 8.1 10.7 62.7
Median sales price 1.5 1.2 1.4
Median days on market 348 293 202

Higher numbers....love it, two more sales than last year and with so few sales in this category, that is signficant. Higher dollars sold in 2014. Lower median sales price in 2014. An improved median days on market in 2014. About 5.5 times as much active inventory as has sold in 2014 so not quite as crowded as the $750,000 to $1,000,000 price point. We'll have to say that this segment is improving....sort of. This isn't a resounding improvement and could almost be considered a wash, but let's look at it as slightly improving. Keep in mind that at this rate you have a one in five chance of selling next year if you have a house on the market in this category (approximately). Not numbers greatly in anyone's favor.

Residential sales total 
  2013 2014 Active
# sold 369 391 974
$ sold (millions) 102.9 103.3 385.9
Median sales price 210,000 180,000 299,700
Median days on market 207 197 179.5

It looks as if we are safe to say that the market is holding its own, which really is a good thing. We had miserable sales in 2009 and 2010 and an improvement, although not significant in 2011. Then a bit more improvement in 2012. The sales for 2013 were the best in a long time. Now we are keeping up with that....actually more sales and slightly more dollars in 2014 over 2013. The median sales price is down this year which is not the best signal for high end property, but the median days on market are down. For the overall market we have only about two and a half years' of inventory. Sounds like a lot, but remember there are a number of segments here where there is about 5 years or more inventory sitting out there. This is a market that is doing okay. We aren't in the middle of an area with great jobs....we are a specialized market and we are doing pretty well given the many factors that affect this market's bottom line.

 

 












 

 

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, October 19, 2014  10:12:58 AM
Forms, procedures, what happens with real estate 0 Comments Posted

As anyone who has bought or sold a property could recount, there are plenty of forms to sign. And today there are more than ever. As the world has changed and there have been reactions to failures within any system, new protocol is set up to try to control all that.

When we go out with a buyer one of the first things we do is to discuss agency. There is a form which I believe was new about two years ago which must be signed by all potential buyers. When first introduced there was some discussion as to when this needed to happen and it got a bit sticky. What I understood from my continuing education person, who is terrific, is that provided you discuss it immediately, when in the continuum of working with someone that form is signed depends on when there is "substantive discussion" about a specific property that might become something they'd write a contract on.

There are different schools of thought. I know one Realtor who gets that form signed before clients are taken to a single property. This is because they have been burned by buyers who didn't take the process seriously. What the form outlines is the list of obligations that a Realtor has to their client. Also, in most cases the form selected and set out for signature states that Realtor is working exclusively for the buyer. That buyer is represented. That buyer has someone in their corner to help them through every step of the process. This is real, contractual responsibility as important as the listing agreement is between Realtor and seller.

With the form you can select a duration of just the one day that the new buyers are agreeing to work with you. It doesn't have to be for a week, a month or a year. That way at the end of the day purchasers can evaluate their experience and see if they would be pleased to continue working with that individual. I tend to have the conversation, but not push for a signed piece of paper. Generally if someone doesn't want to work with me after a day of looking at real estate, then probably I'm better off without them. Thus far I've not had that experience. If someone didn't want to work with me it is because they determined that the Northern Neck wasn't the area for them to pursue. Ususally that doesn't happen either because I have enough passion for living here that I think some of it rubs off. Some of the hurdles don't seem so high. There really is a gentleness to life here, but establishing your connections and your patterns makes a difference.

Let's keep going on the buyer side. So a buyer signs the form, sooner or later. And finds a property and wants to write an offer. That writing an offer includes a bunch of forms. There is the contract itself which outlines the who (seller and buyer), the what (the tax map number, physical address, deed book/deed page that describes the property), the when (what is the expected close date) and the where (who will close it, be it an attorney, a title company, or to be determined). Obviously there are other items such as how it will be paid for, cash or financing or even owner financing. A down payment, any special considerations that may have come up. It could be contingent on a number of things, not just financing. It all depends.

Move on from that form to the other forms. The Disclosure form which the seller has had to sign also needs to be signed by the buyer. What this form really says is that the seller doesn't know anything wrong with the property related to things like limitations from an Historic District, run-off water, power plants....lots of different things that mostly don't affect us here, but the form should be looked through. It says, buyer beware, you are in charge of finding out about the property. Granted there are a couple of protections in place. Almost everyone I've ever worked with signs the Home Inspection form and a professional home inspector looks at the house at the buyers' expense. If items that one would expect would be kept up at the house are not up to snuff, then those are requested as repairs within the context of getting to closing. There is often negotiation of there seems to be excessive requests, etc. So the home inspection form protects the buyer.   There is also a clause in the contract that states that the property will be conveyed by general warranty deed which means that it will be protected and guaranteed to the highest level. This is confirmed through the title search that is done when a property is going to closing. So yes, there are safeguards. But there is nothing like a bit of snooping to be helpful in all this. What if someone down the street is a real junker and is constantly moving stuff back and forth past your front door. No one is going to tell you this.  You need to come back and visit your house a couple of times. Not that I'm suggesting paranoia, and generally this kind of issue seems to be more pertinent where people live closer together. And really, if you are concerned you should do this checking prior to writing a contract. (To tell you the truth practically none of my buyers over the last twenty years specifically did this sort of snooping. They just got to know the neighborhood a bit, probably talked to a neighbor or two and that was that. No complaints....it all worked out.)

There is also the Lead Based Paint form which is for homes built prior to 1979. Obviously if what you are selling or buying a property post-1979, then there is no need for the lead based paint form. This form is meant to draw the buyers attention to the fact that there might be that type of paint within a house and that exposure, especially for young children can be highly detrimental. Important stuff, but again, it probably relates more to city situations than here, but better that everyone be informed...and alerted to the possibilities.

In the actual contract (the "offer") there is normally a limitation at the end that states that it is valid until such and such day at such and such time. If it didn't then a seller and listing Realtor might go chasing after others who have been interested in the property and see what they can stir up. Even with that date on a contract (the "offer"), that still happens to a degree, but the amount of time that a seller has before a buyer moves on is limited by this clause and so....generally if a party hasn't acted on a property then getting a phone call saying we have a contract working isn't going to get them off the fence. People make choices and act on them....they aren't waiting to be pushed and that's kind of what this seems like. This sounds like an absolute, but it isn't because sometimes there is someone on the fence that when faced with losing a house will come out and get in the game and may well end up with the house. So as with a lot of this work...you just never know.

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, October 15, 2014  8:04:11 AM
MLS, out-of-the-area Realtors, referrals 0 Comments Posted

This week has brought to the forefront a number of different issues related to how real estate work gets done and the various functions and relationships we Realtors have with one another. I thought since this is somewhat confusing, even for Realtors sometimes, that perhaps it was worth a bit of explanation. I hope you learn a bit along the way.

MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service. This is the way in which the listings each firm has (through a contractual agreement with their client) are shared among a group of Realtors. Perhaps you can imagine back to the days before computers and you will understand what the function of MLS is and how it came to be.

My understanding is that in the pre-computer days of this association there were meetings or social gatherings, probably on a monthly basis...but maybe more often. At these meetings/ social gatherings, the Realtors would bring a book or a folder with the listing information they had and they would show their listings to fellow Realtors in the hopes of finding a buyer through the other Realtor. (I suspect that there might have been an office or at least a desk where these listings were submitted as a sort of clearinghouse, but I'm not sure about that. Let's not put that into the equation for this discussion.) So imagine that there was a way that Realtors were communicating with each other about what they had for sale. Sure they would possibly prefer to sell the property themselves, but sometimes that wasn't happening, or wasn't the best way to pursue selling. So there was a central event, albeit not completely sophisticated and perhaps not overwhelmingly effective--for despite the fact that the Northern Neck is small, in actuality if you are trying to know all of it, it really is impossible. It is huge. Probably not everyone came to all these events, etc. Maybe a bit hit or miss. Or perhaps a handful of Realtors had all the action and they communicated well. I wasn't there and wasn't a part of this. I can only speculate. What you can understand from this is that twenty plus years ago, a listing and how it was shared was a completely different proposition.

Enter the computer as a way to share information. At this point I won't discuss all the bumps along the way with this newfound way of sharing information. I was chairman of the MLS committee for 8 years here on the Northern Neck at the time when the bugs were being worked out of MLS systems and it wasn't pretty. Still and all, once the majority of glitches were resolved it made for a much more reasonable way to get listing information to fellow Realtors. 

As Realtors we belong to the National Association of Realtors, the state association in which we practice, and a local association. The local association collects our dues and pays both the state and the National portion to the appropriate office. Within our local association a decision was made about which MLS vendor we would work with. We have had a contract with a firm in North Carolina for probably 18 years or so (I believe the contract gets renewed every couple of years...that's what I remember). This MLS company provides us with the tools to put our listings into the system so that they can be seen by more parties. At first the intention was simply that fellow members of that same board and users of the MLS would see them (not all board members initially signed up for MLS because it costs money. Eventually almost everyone did join...perhaps one or two out of close to 200 don't subscribe at this time). At a later date it became the intention (and requirement) for these listings to be seen more widely. Currently our listings that go to our MLS provider are sent on through syndication to a vast array of web sites for display of the listings. This is a much broader way of presenting listings and they can be seen throughout the world. This is the same for all MLSs.

So why am I bothering to discuss this? Well there is what I believe is an odd perception that one MLS functions better than another in terns of conveying information to potential buyers. In my opinion only the local MLS functions better than others for local listings. The local MLS is where when you put your listing and it is automatically fed to other members' web sites where theses listings are shared. When someone looks for Northern Neck property, there are perhaps 200 different web sites hosted by Northern Neck Realtors that will bring up the listing. Beyond that, the listing appears on Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow and a whole host of other major sites.

Why the argument of perhaps using a Richmond Realtor or a Northern Virginia Realtor instead of a Northern Neck Realtor when selling a Northern Neck property? I think what is sometimes mistakenly considered important is that Realtors in jurisdictions where there are more jobs, and more money and more likelihood of someone buying a second or vacation home in the Northern Neck somehow are a better choice for where the listing information should go. If someone lists with an out-of-the-area Realtor and exclusively has their listing on that MLS, it too goes out to all the different search engines which is great. Guess where it doesn't show up? Not in our local MLS, so not in a place where each and every agent in our MLS and association can see it and can search for it within the context of similar properties. It's not that it can't be found, it's just that a main tool isn't part of the package. Northern Neck agents are working with lots of people from out of the area who have sought out and developed a relationship with someone to assist them--locally.  The local Realtor can compare apples to apples and tell you something is apples to oranges. They know where the closest store is. They know if there is or is not a golf course, or a hospital or a whole range of amenities in the area or not. They know. They can help you find a contractor. They can smooth the way with local county officials. They know the territory. And on the other hand, when a property is listed with with a Northern Virginia Realtor are they going to come down and show a house down here to a prospective buyer with that buyer agent? You tell me. Perhaps. But in my experience the answer is, no.

Obviously there are positives and negatives to every choice. The question is what will work best for you. By choosing an out-of-the-area Realtor over a local one, one of the key sales instruments that is available (Northern Neck MLS) is not a part of the marketing program. The listing isn't in our MLS. Beyond that, it may well be that no one is going to open up the house, and open the blinds and turn on the lights when a listing is being shown. A buyer's agent assisting his or her clients may have 8 or 10 properties to show in a day. They may well have more than enough to manage in the busy blitz that is their program. They can't be expected to rush into a house and turn on every light and open up every blind and draw attention to each and every special feature that they may or may not know about. These things are important. A bright and open and alive house has something going for it even before the specific attributes come into play. 

Okay, I'm getting a bit carried away. Referrals, though, that's also a worthy topic. Within the way Realtors work is the referral process. We can refer buyers or sellers to other jurisdictions and they can be referred in to us. What is agreed to, generally in writing, is the amount of the overall listing or selling fee that will be paid to the referring party. Let's just say someone refers a seller to me. They are a Realtor in New Jersey and they've learned of me through a friend or family member and they trust me with listing a house for them. They call me, we discuss the property, I figure out if I can help them and if so, we agree to a percentage of my listing percentage (not the whole fee) that they will receive once the property is sold (everything is done through the firm). We exchange a form that each party signs and that referral and listing is set into motion. I like this system. I think it makes sense. But I think (and have stated) that there should be an automatic referral requirement when properties that are of interest are 80 or 100 miles away from the Realtor. Here's a for instace. I have a friend who lives here who wanted to purchase a property in Northern Virginia. Given that those properties are in-state, I could have done my research and called the listing Realtors and gotten into those properties with my friend and been the buyers agent (i.e. received the full percentage for the buying side). I knew, though, that I wasn't very familiar with the territory. Although I could drive around and find my way, I didn't know the ins and outs of the area. I called a Realtor in the town of interest who I'd worked with previously (with a different set of real estate issues) and asked if I could refer my buyer to him. We worked it out. The answer was, yes. Now I don't expect other people to do this, but I accompanied my friend to Northern Virginia and viewed all the properties she did. I was a bit of a middle man and faciliator in the process of writing up the contract and I attended closing. This is not what is expected. Normally once the referral takes place, someone steps in for you and works to find the property, etc. When it closes a check is sent. That's that. Generally that works perfectly.

Let's put the shoe on the other foot, though ...if I didn't feel fully able in Northern Virginia, then think about out-of-the-area Realtors bringing a buyer here to buy. Does that work or doesn't it.....probably, sometimes. I'm not saying that no out-of-the-area Realtor is a good fit. I'm sure that some of them are knowledgable and if not, they do their homework fully before they embark on assisting someone to buy down here. But it is a situation that a potential buyer should not consider lightly. Does the party know about the controlling depth at the  mouth of the creek? Local shopping? Where's a golf course? Where's a hospital? Who is the right county official to help with "x"? What about a contractor? What about a year from now when I might have other questions that a local Realtor could potentially answer?

There is no perfect choice. Obviously each decision a buyer or seller makes comes with its pros and cons. It is just that the assumption that local means less capable because we aren't big city people...that's pretty funny. One of the things that I appreciate having come from two big city environments is that people here are like people everywhere...there are capable and incapable and in between. There are college educated people who aren't the most able, and hardly-out-of-high-school who are top knotch. Working well with a Realtor isn't a perfect straight line and everyone is learning along the way. There is no perfection...but remember....you are looking to have your needs addressed in a way that best solves the problem and with the most comfort...What is most important in all this is knowing your territory. That's what a local Realtor knows....the territory. Nothing replaces that knowledge--nothing!!

Hope this rather long-winded rambling gave you some new perspective.

--Kathryn

Kathryn Murray, 804-450-4442 cell

View Comments | Add Comment Saturday, October 11, 2014  7:52:56 AM
Being a good Realtor isn't easy 0 Comments Posted

Earlier this week I was reminded in another way how real estate is a difficult profession. I was contacted to do a BPO (Broker's Price Opion) by a national firm that has these done for different banks and probably for government agencies. I thought, hmmm, the property's in my zip code and I know the drill, what can it hurt? And so I embarked on something I'd sworn off a few years ago. When negotiating I asked for a fee that ended up being a bit more than twice their standard, or so they said. I knew even at that price this was a leap. But how bad could it be? The photos were taken care of by an agent with my firm and I got a report on the condition status, which was good. Pretty good. I'd pulled what I thought were comps for solds and for actives and emailed them to myself (the full link) so that I could print them out and take a look.

I felt as if this project was under control. Then I got on to the web site for the firm that was hiring me and signed in and started to look at what they wanted. Unlike my BPOs of years back this was as close to a full blown appraisal as you could get. The forms that one needed to fill out went on and on and on. The relatively quick handful of dollars (probably $25/hour) became a full day commitment to fill in a form for really next to nothing. I knew that this was a bad decision and I let the company know as soon as possible, stating I wouldn't be doing this or any future BPOs. (This was hard for me to do, but I had to think critically about what made sense, and this wasn't a good use of such a large amount of time.) They were fine with this.

I really don't know how these firms can recruit people, at least not in the country....you'd really have to be quite needy to be willing to spend a full day doing this for such a small fee. But maybe other people don't look at it that way. What really concerned me was that I could see the numbers falling into place. When I wake up in the middle of the night I'm afraid to admit that puzzles like this loom before my eyes and I juggle the bits and pieces of information I remember. I could see that the price that I would end up coming to would be close to the current list price and everyone would be happy--well sort of.

The value (price opinion) won't really be the value you can come to through all these comps. The value won't be as good at all. One factor is all the foreclosures, but the other is how remote this property is. Having lived here for 20 years and having been in many locations that have felt like the twilight zone...well you get used to twilight zone, but when you get beyond twilight zone and you feel totally nowhere, well you've reached a new state of being in the Northern Neck. That was the sense I had (I've been in the neighborhood before and recently...even though I didn't take the photos) and so you pull together the numbers and everything looks in line and you can make a comment if your price is adjusted. Really though, no one is going to want your personal perspective to discount the final number derived using comparables by as much as 20 to 25%.

I expect that someone will put together information that will make the bank happy and perhaps the seller too (who might be a short sale or almost going to foreclosure) since there will be a real expectation that something will happen within a certain price point and time frame based on this upcoming BPO (that someone else takes on). I think that that would be totally ignoring the obvious. But we are in a world where numbers and forms and anonymity are the norm. My perspective is we get what we pay for and if BPOs by individuals who don't know the area are relied on to project sales etc. in the future, it's no wonder that we have an ongoing problem with mortgages. And the same is true for appraisals. With the new system where there is a middle man to hire appraisers for a given lender....well sometimes that is good, but sometimes it leads to having people who can't judge an area making projections that are relied on. Just not helpful to anyone really.

This long distance, by-the-form sort of process made me think about a few years ago when someone was trying to buy a home and the bank wasn't ready to loan the money because they didn't see the value as being there. Lo and behold, with a little coaxing a couple of members of the board of directors came to the home and looked at the home and could see the value and made the loan. It was a good loan. It was a local bank to a local property. It was informed decision not relying on an out of the area middle man trying to find someone who might really know how to make recommendations. It was real! Not that that happens anymore, but I suspect we all wish it might. Sure you might not get the absolute lowest rate, but when anything was in question you could drive to an office and talk to a real person. Oh what wishful thinking.....

There's certainly more that I could talk about on this subject. You could consider how much we can worry about our clients who may have significant needs to sell their properties and the phone just isn't ringing. People think, hmmmm, try another realtor. I was contacted last week by someone who has spoken with me off and on about listing a property and then never has. They called and asked me to take over X listing once it expired in a week or so citing the fact that the house had only been shown once in the last 6 months. I told the party I'd take a look and get back to them. And so I did. I know the house. I know the Realtor. I know the market. I checked the advertising done on the property and the write up in MLS. I checked the solds that would have been competing with this property. I looked at the actives that are competing with the property. What did I conclude? That the Realtor was doing a good job in a very sluggish market and the only real change that could be/perhaps needed to be made would be price. Changing Reatlors would not change the situation. That is so true so very often. What is a Realtor who is doing good advertising, has done a good job on the MLS, has a strong web site, has contacted other Realtors and pushed the property, makes themselves available to show it at a moment's notice, puts together flyers.....where is the new bag of tricks that another Realtor is going to bring out? It really isn't there. I think that if a Realtor is doing a good job and the results aren't satisfactory....the Realtor shouldn't be considered to have failed.

I did not take the listing. I told the party that they needed to stick with the other Realtor, and I hope they did. This is still a tough market and having a good, capable Realtor is having a real ally. 

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, October 09, 2014  12:58:07 PM
Two announcements & some numbers 0 Comments Posted

My apologies for not getting to this yesterday. And what I had intended to do with the numbers, I'm not exactly doing. You'll see when we get to the numbers.

My two announcements are these:

1. We've had this listing for a while. It is located at 560 Foxfield Lane in Lancaster (MLS#93863). It has always been a terrific listing. Beautiful house made of top notch materials, wonderful flowing spaces, huge master suite, significant media area downstairs as well as kitchen and another bath and bedroom--plenty of room for lots of people. The waterfront lot is very nice. Landscaping, pier complex, oversized garage. Lindal cedar home with geothermal heating and at a price that is unbelievable....$950,000. The lot cost over $200,000 and so you can do the math that this house is extremely discounted.

To add to this exceptional value the owner has now added a boat that was purchased for $100,000 in 2003 and has been kept meticulously. Don't ask me the particulars on the boat, but if you go to our listings here on the web site or actually to any web site where you can get Northern Neck listings, this one will come up with the MLS number. If this house has much of what you are looking for, there is no better buy anywhere on the Northern Neck. Please take a look!! (And call David if you'd like to take a look....202-297-8946.)

2.  Colonial Beach property. I've had the listing on this beautiful piece of property for about two months. The property is comprised of four lots on which there is one large Colonial (3 bedroom/3 bath) and a shed and a garage. Originally we were asking $749,000 for there are two other buildable lots within the package of four. That price has been reduced to $699,000. More significantly though, is the fact that the property has been broken up into other options for purchase. The house on 1 lot plus 2/5s is now available for $449,000 (MLS#95460). Then the corner lot with 3/5s of the adjoining lot is offered for $259,000, while the final lot is offered at $180,000. These properties are all on The Point at Colonial Beach and just a stone's throw away from the Town Beach. Expansive views of the Potomac. For anyone considering the Colonial Beach area, this might really be the right place. You could live here and take your golf cart to the marina.  You wouldn't be paying for waterfront and you wouldn't have to maintain your pier, but you'd have all the benefits. Think about it!!

Now on to the program I planned --sort of. I took a price point of waterfront solds in Northumberland county and looked at the assessed prices and also at the sold prices. Rather than putting them side by side, I'm just going to broad brush this and say that nothing sold for the assessed price or for above the assessed price. There was a considerable range in terms of assessed price to sales price. In a couple of cases it was about 2 to 3 percent while in a couple of others it was 20%. Then in between there were those that were mostly in the 8 to 10% less. So what this says is that the assessed value is something you can go by, sometimes....so really not a number to rely on greatly. It always depends.

Here are a couple of numbers though, that might be helpful. I thought, hmmm, how have the August/Setember sales of waterfront properties been over the last few years and how is 2014 stacking up. The answer is we are doing quite well, thank you very much!! You'll see that here.

WF Res. sales Aug/Sept 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 26 43 49 48 53 529
$ sold (millions) 13.8 16.9 20.0 19.2 23.4 304.4
Median sales price 445,000 365,000 380,000 346,500 395,000 449,000
Median days on market 148 178 172 263.5 160 186

2014 has more sales numbers, more dollars sold, and higher median sales price than any of the last three years. Also the median days on market for those sold properties is less than the last three years. Granted this is just one little bit of time, but looks pretty healthy to me. Another way of looking at the market at the moment.

If I can help you with a purchase or a sale, please give me a call. I'd be glad to give you an opinion of value on a property that you want to sell, or help you determine if a property you'd like to purchase is priced well for the market. My thanks. --Kathryn  (Kathryn Murray) 804-450-4442 cell

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, October 07, 2014  8:35:30 AM
Nature and Nature's Bounty 0 Comments Posted

When I started to think about writing this morning most of my thoughts were focussed on Nature's Bounty. Then a few other minor or major themes started to show up and I thought, well we won't just restrict ourselves to Nature's Bounty.

And for those of you who would like to see some numbers, please check back tomorrow since I think I will be doing an analysis of the sales price vs. assessed price for a small number of houses in Northumberland county. This isn't the simplest sort of task (rather time consuming and not part of my usual pulling numbers together) and so that is why the number of houses is small. Yet, I think it might be helpful for me and one of my clients. Also, you hear from different people--often from Realtors that the assessed value is or is not a good target for a sales price and why. Not really a simple equation....even from one county to the next. But that's tomorrow's assignment to me.

For today well, it's Nature's Bounty, first. 

Sundays are obviously days to regroup and reflect and hopefully put our ducks in a row so that the coming week will fall into place in a better manner and be less stressful, or perhaps even stress-free. My reflection for today has been to look at the meal I prepared last night and see how singularly Northern Neck it was, and how very good.

Earlier this week a good friend of ours took us out fishing for rockfish. I haven't been fishing in a dozen years and just got my license number a few weeks ago in anticipation that maybe we'd go out. Because of our schedule, particularly mine, it seems whenever we are invited it is at a moment's notice and the timing doesn't work. This time I explained, we either plan a few days in advance, or we will seem like the people who never want to go fishing. So we did go and we did have a good time and it was a great experience to be out on the water (the Potomac) when it was still warm and not rough at all....and after an hour or an hour and a half...there were fish!!

I had to shake my head a bit about going out on the water and doing this. The question was, cell phone or no cell phone? As most anyone who is in business can understand, one's cell phone becomes a bit of an extension of one's hand. It just is there. Always there. And there's always something you can do. Check email, make one last call...check email again. What a set of habits!!!

The cell phone got left behind. There were four full hours in which the world couldn't influence me from a far, and I couldn't influence it. And it didn't matter. And it was a relief because I didn't have to make the choice of turning off my life in the great outdoors to deal with that bit of electronics. It was heaven.

So dinner last night. It consisted of grilled rockfish with a bit of Old Bay and olive oil. Had it just been for me it would have been a butter sauce with garlic and basil, but one does have to compromise when cooking for a spouse. Still it was good. Really good. I'd been invited by to pick up my filets and while there given access to a fall garden which is just tumbling over itself to produce. Arugula....great, reseeded and producing well. It had been my request and some had been planted this spring. In late May my friend called me to come and taste it...that there must be something wrong. When I went and tasted it, this same party was startled to find out that it tasted just perfect....that that is what arugula tastes like!!

Yesterday I was invited to pick a bunch of red peppers and neon eggplant, but most wonderful of all was the collards that are so young and tender. I like collards regardless provided they are cooked right, but with these little newbies there is no right or wrong...there is just tender and tasty and not too strong.

In addition to these vegetables (and we didn't have the eggplant, the red peppers or the argula yet) there were ears of corn that I had purchased a few days ago from Garners. I knew it was really good when I bought it, but I also knew I'd kept it wrapped up in a plastic bag at the top of the refrigerator for four or five days. Surprisingly, or perhaps not so, it was so cold at the top that the corn was really as good as you'd expect had we cooked it the day it was bought (which was the day it was picked). I can't say I've had better corn at any time of the summer. Small tender ears. Sweet. And in October!!

So Nature's Bounty is evident everywhere. Driving back from picking up my photo show at the Westmoreland County Museum yesterday, and squeaking out of Montross before the Fall Festival parade, I saw that Sisson's stand at the corner of Rt. 3 and Zacata Road has a ridiculous number of pumpkins and gourds. And ridiculous means terrific. What a display...what piles of the beautiful offerings that come from the fields all around us. This doesn't even begin to include the various vegetables, the white and yellow sweet potatoes, the wonderful winter squash, the different types of "salad" which includes turnip, collard, kale and other greens.

Just in one meal I found that I am very rich. Rich in friendship. Rich in being able to be out on a boat when there are perhaps two or three to be seen ....as far as one can see....and in a huge expanse of water. Rich in wonderful foods that are so simple, but real, really real. Not packaged, not questionable as to where they came from or how they've been treated.....there was no one in the middle.

I have been good friends with the Garners for years and find their stand to be the most friendly and joy-filled, not to mention the quality of the produce. I particularly like the "bang and dent" produce which means that if I'm making a tomato sauce or something that is going to happen today, I can buy vegetables that have virtually no shelf life. They are ready to be cooked and if it isn't today then they are ready to be history.

Second...nature. I think what I wanted to express here is that nature is something that one can't avoid while in the Northern Neck and in actuality it is so everpresent as to make each of our days richer even if we aren't paying attention. The sky that we experience, whether we live on the water or not, is spectacular. If one just takes a moment to notice, you can see, really see the sky and the changing clouds and the changes of light through the day. The sky is alive. The same is true of the water, whether it is a small creek where the sunlight slowly climbs to fill the area with light and as it climbs the filtered light shifts the colors and the impressions. On the big rivers it is more a big spash of a single color that shifts and churns as the winds whip them up. That color is framed by the shoreline and sky and its simplicity is direct and forceful because of the scale. What I think I'm trying to say is that living on the Northern Neck gives you the opportunity to be really alive. Turn off that cell phone for a couple of hours, and see and feel the basics of this beautiful area....it will be worth your while!

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, October 05, 2014  10:18:16 AM
Some summary numbers 0 Comments Posted

Here we are looking at the residential market. As you can tell I set up parameters to suit myself. I fully realize that the last time I broke this into segments I used $200,000 increments starting with under $200,000. Thought that perhaps I'd learn more if I did that, but started with the first set of numbers at under $100,000. Either way we do get a real impression of our market.

Residential sales (5 counties ) under $100,000
  2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 51 59 65 91
$ sold (millions) 3.6 3.7 4.1 6.9
Median sales price 74,000 65,000 63,000 79,000
Median days on market 140 107 148 153

A little more action this year. Slightly reduced median sales price. Slightly raised median days on market. Pretty good relationship between the number of solds in 2014 and the actives.

Residential sales (5 counties ) $100,000-$300,000
  2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 148 165 182 401
$ sold (millions) 25.9 29.8 32.1 81.5
Median sales price 163,625 175,000 163,000 199,000
Median days on market 212 210 217.5 168

More sales. Lower median sales price. Slightly climbing median days on market. Not too bad a relationship between the numbers of solds and the numbers of actives. Approximately twice as many active.

 

Residential sales (5 counties ) $300,000 to $500,000

  2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 77 76 69 255
$ sold (millions) 28.3 27.5 25.8 99.1
Median sales price 355,000 359,750 370,000 379,000
Median days on market 164 233 184 171

A more challenged segment of the market with fewer sales and lesser total dollars in 2014. Increased median sales price and decreased median days on market for 2014. More inventory than either o fthe other two categories with a little less than three times the number of actives as those that have sold thus far this year.

Residential sales (5 counties ) $500,000-$700,000
  2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 28 24 20 110
$ sold (millions) 15.1 13.3 11.7 67.3
Median sales price 525,285 535,000 580,000 599,000
Median days on market 170.5 189.5 297.5 185

Fewer number sold in 2014 than in the preceding two years. Lesser total dollars, although an increase in median sales price. Huge leap in median days on market for the solds in 2014. Also there is 5 times plus active inventory if one looks at solds of 20 for 2014. That's a lot of inventory!

Residential sales (5 counties ) $700,000-$900,000
  2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 5 17 10 62
$ sold (millions) 3.8 12.6 7.5 51.6
Median sales price 750,000 750,000 755,000 837,800
Median days on market 182 220 254 160

2014 had twice the sales of 2012 and almost twice the dollars sold. Median sales price has stayed right at or right around $750,000 for all three years. 2014 has more days on market for the median days. There is a little in excess of 6 times the sold inventory for 2014 now on the market. That's the largest number we've seen today (until we look at the next price point....).

Residential sales (5 counties ) $900,000 plus
  2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 7 8 9 64
$ sold (millions) 7.4 10.8 12.7 88.5
Median sales price 1.0 1.16 1.03 1.19
Median days on market 222 353 293 163

Better sales in 2014 but still with only 9 sold and 64 active there isn't a huge chance to sell unless you are the very best of the best. Median days on market declined in 2014. Relative to the last two years there is an improvement, but these are not big numbers of sales, obviously.

We have a market that continues to do okay after the beating of 2008, 2009, and 2010 but we are not Northern Virginia. Things take time.

 

 

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, October 01, 2014  9:09:50 AM
Nothing terribly new here 0 Comments Posted

A quick summary of numbers from 1/1 through 9/28 first for residential and then for land. No real surprises here. Just the continued trends that we've been seeing. Slightly more sold in the residential market in 2014 but lesser value. Slightly more sold in land and considerably more value sold in 2014 since those waterfront lots over $200,000 seem to have been selling far more often than they have in the past few years.

Residential sales (5 counties, 4 NNeck & Essex)
1/1-9/28 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 314 340 346 1018
$ sold (millions) 83.9 95.7 92.1 408.4
Median sales price 212,500 210,000 191,750 299,950
Median days on market 166.5 207 200

172.5

 

 

Land sales (5 counties, 4 NNeck & Essex)

1/1-9/28 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 104 102 107 974
$ sold (millions) 8.4 8.6 12.8 139.1
Median sales price 47,750 49,000 65,000 73,500
Median days on market 154.5 216.5 186 357

Don't have a whole lot to say today. Back from a quick vacation (2.5 days) and doing a bit of catch up. Also, it is a most spectacularly beautiful day out, so no reason to spend all day behind the computer. You've seen this information before....lots of active inventory in both categories, but obviously land has far more in relationship to what has sold....still, people are buying and putting some real dollars into our market these days.

 

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, September 28, 2014  1:35:38 PM
The Sunday After.... 0 Comments Posted

This morning is a soothing follow up to one of the most beautiful days I can remember. And everyone seemed to have realized that Saturday, yesterday, would be the best of the best. Although Labor Day weekend is a special time, there is a sense of winding down over that weekend. Things are changing. Kids going back to school. The impending crispness of fall. Yesterday it seems, everyone was into flat-out summer mode, enjoying every second of the day.

The bit of fog we had earlier, and now the overcast day seems just right for the "locals" for the moment, those who are either visiting at cottages or are set up in the campground. Yesterday on my early morning walk with the dogs I saw that there was going to be a wedding at the campground later in the day. Chairs and arbor set up with the backdrop of the expanse of the Rappahannock River. What a beautiful venue and what a perfect day. Granted, the campground has a couple of pavilions where one could be safely covered from the elements had the weather failed, but who would have known that yesterday would be a day almost not to be believed. 

One could hear the band late into the night. Not too loud really. Just right. Reminding me of summer times when the band over the hill and down on the water was calling me and saying...you better grow up soon...you're missing something. And I grew up and I didn't miss it...it was great!

The fireworks that went off occasionally and spooked my dogs were certainly within keeping in terms of the celebratory feel to the day. I can't blame anyone. I understand, it is just my two dogs get a bit scared and my cat disappears for hours. It all works out, but is different from the quiet when most cottages are empty and the campground is my playground for taking photos of the weather cooperates.

Everywhere you looked there were families and family parties. Lots of little kids. Lots of playing in the river and shouts of glee. Perfect. And there were boaters and jet skiers and none of it was too much. It all blended together with the sounds of the sea gulls whose cries have replaced the osprey for they have left their respective nests to fly to their wintering abodes.

Thankfully they've been cutting the corn all around here. I've enjoyed the walls that were almost everywhere and the feeling that I was driving on a ribbon of road tucked between these towering corn stalks, but then again in places these corn rows had encroached on the view around certain corners. It's good to have good sight lines and not be inching out in the road, when you can hardly see what is coming. And I have to think that the farmers are having a very good year. No real drought. No real excess of rain and puddling. Really it must have been just about perfect for them.

A perfect Northern Neck day...and now a day of rest and catch up so that we can jump into the fray again tomorrow....Monday.

Given that you've read this far, or perhaps skipped to the numbers, here are some numbers. I thought, let's see what has sold in the month of September starting on the 1st and running through the 21st during the last five years (this year included). Our MLS only allows us to use five years and then the data falls out of the system. Doesn't seem like a great idea, but that's the way it is. One day I will go back and print out all my writings that started in 2008 and make this file a lot smaller. For the time being that isn't a priority. But I'd like to look at that information and would like to make this message board less full. Don't hold your breath.

All Residential 9/1 to 9/21 five counties (NNeck plus Essex)
  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 19 18 29 28 17 1033
$ sold (millions) 6.9 3.9 6.5 7.6 4.3 419.4
Median sales price 185,000 188,500 200,000 220,000 258,990 312,000
Median days on market 150 176 164 153 358 167

These numbers probably aren't perfect in that many Realtors take a couple of days to get their sold listings into the system. That could account a bit for the few number of sales (17) for 2014. But even taking that into account, I believe that 2014 is a tougher year than most and the Median Days on Market at 358 certainly supports that. 2012 and 2013 were reasonably good years after the bottom dropped out of the market in 2008. 2009, 2010 and 2011 were really tough. I guess I'll leave this little discussion on an up note, that the median sales price is up.

When I saw how many properties are active in comparison to our 17 sales (1033 active) it made me feel a little concerned. For that reason I looked at what had sold since the beginning of the year.

There are 329 residential properties that have sold this year versus the 1033 active. In Northern Neck terms that certainly isn't terrible. That looks a lot better.

Until tomorrow, I hope I've left you with a bit to think about whether it is just reflecting on a perfect summer day, or seeing that the market is "interesting" right now...with plenty selling, but plenty still out there.

--Kathryn

Kathryn Murray, Principal Broker, 804-450-4442 cell

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, September 21, 2014  8:44:58 AM
WF Residential sales vs. inventory 0 Comments Posted

Thought I'd travel the Northern Neck in my mind and see how each county is faring this year in terms of waterfront residential sales. I also wanted to see what those sales numbers in relationship to the active listings in each county. So I broke these numbers down into three categories: under $400,000 list price, $400,000 to $800,000 list price and then $800,000 and above for each county. This is for the time period January 1 through September 16, 2014. And you will note where the number of sales is located there is a number/number. What this is is the solds and then the actives so you don't have to look far to see the relationship.

Here goes. As you will see, these counties have very different personalities in terms of sales.  Not to say that one is better than the other although some clients say...only off the Potomac, or only off the Rappahannock, or close as we can get to the Bay. It is almost never that we hear, only in such and such county.

Well here are the numbers.

 

WF Residential Sales up to $400,000 by county
  West. North. Lanc. Rich. Essx.
# sold 16/43* 33/121 19/59 2/8 5/8
$ sold 4.2 mill. 9.2 mill. 4.9 mill. 480,000 1.3 mill.
Median sales price 253,950 290,000 265,000 240,000 275,000
Median days on market 232 262 254 511 298

*For those of you who skipped the description at the top and went straight to the chart, these numbers such as 16/43 represent what has sold in that county thus far this year followed by how much inventory there is active in that category at the moment.

Essex county has the healthiest sales to inventory relationship, but we're not talking about many sales, nor about many actives. Interesting when you look at Northumberland and Lancaster in relationship to one another  that Northumberland has a bit higher inventory in relationship to its sales than Lancaster. It also has a higher median sales price and a higher median days on market....But look at the median days on market for Richmond county...wow, 511!

 
WF Residential Sales $400,000-$800,000 by county
  West. North. Lanc. Rich. Essx.
# sold 8/28 22/82 16/84 1/3 3/3
$ sold 3.9 mill. 11.1 mill. 8.8 mill. 526,000 1.6 mill.
Median sales price 441,250 452,560 522,000 526,000 425,000
Median days on market 113 180 248 297 295

Lancaster is carrying more inventory in relationship to their sales. That I can even figure out without a calculator. Essex is the healthies in that relationship, but once again there's almost no inventory. Median days on market are generally pretty good in terms of how the Northern Neck tends to function. Obviously Westmoreland is far and away the best. Lancaster and Richmond's median sales price is considerably above the other counties' prices.

 

WF Residential Sales $800,000 plus
  West. North. Lanc. Rich. Essx.
# sold 0/5 2/37 10/57 0/2 0/6
$ sold 0 1.7 13.2 0 0
Median sales price 0 871,000 1.01 mill. 0 0
Median days on market 0 211 283 0 0

This is where you have a really huge difference in what is going on. No sales in Westmoreland, Richmond and Essex counties for the over $800,000 category thus far this year. Hardly anything in Northumberland and the sales versus inventory number is scary. Lancaster is moving along and has a far more healthy relationship of solds to actives for this group. 

Looking at this category particularly I think about how we try to counsel our clients. We'd like them to understand where they stand in the market. I thought, hmmm, I'll look at a listing we have in this cateogry in Westmoreland county and see if what they are is really "the best of the best." Fortunately what I found is that it is true. Of the 5 listed our listing on Skipjack is the second least expensive at $899,000. I can see if someone doesn't want to come farther than Colonial Beach that the Colonial Beach property would be preferable. But the listing that David Fine has within our firm is quite spectacular....9.8 waterfront acres, 6000 square foot house, additional building with kitchen, bath and a couple of rooms to be used for an office, or library or game room. Deep pier complex with two lifts....it is almost unbelievable. Actually, though, what it is is a property that is priced to sell in this market. You couldn't build it for this and that's where a lot of properties are. It's nice to be positioned so that there can be reasonable expectations that a property will sell rather than .....let's hope.....

Sales continue to be at a pretty regular rate. If this last week or so is any indication though, I think the time frame of end of summer vacation and let's get the kids back to school is over. People are out looking more now than they were a month ago. That's good news for Realtors and for sellers. Here's to a beautiful day and a productive fall season!!

--Kathryn

Kathryn Murray, Principal broker, 804-450-4442 cell





 

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, September 16, 2014  7:53:53 AM
Not by the Numbers 0 Comments Posted

For those of you who have been following this board for years, the aim of this story will be one that you've heard before since I've been pushing in the past the "vote with your feet" concept. The specifics today are different, so please indulge me.

This past week I worked with the Westmoreland County Museum to put together an exhibit of my photography. A friend had recommended some months ago that I do this since it would be a different location and audience from my regular locations. So I called up and talked to Brianna at the Museum and sent some photos for her to review, was accepted and there...we were set. September seemed like a good date.

As a Realtor, things are very hectic and demanding.  You never know when your "free" time, or time that seems unencumbered will disappear in an instant. There are calls to do this, calls to go here or there, calls to solve a problem instantly and you just don't know. So to take on something additional with a real deadline comes with some risks and obviously some real planning.

Most all of us have the "other side," the one that does something other than our "job." It could be a thousand other things...it could be golf, it could be gardening, it could be boating....it could be any artistic endeavor. I can't even begin to list all those pursuits we would each take on given a bit of extra time. Regardless, mine is photography.

I proceded with this objective with a bit of reservation. Much as I have friends in Montross, I don't spend much time there anymore. And the lingering sense of the place didn't exactly excite me. Plus I needed inventory. There were a handful of photos here at home that I was going to display and this show forced me to pick some up from Gloucester and also from Urbanna (and this little tour will show up in a bit of real estate analysis later). I ordered a few too.

On Monday I got started and went to the Museum. I knew it was going to take me that day and a bit on Tuesday and perhaps even on Wednesday to get this right. Brianna wasn't there, but I was assisted by Cindi Brigman from the Inn at Montross and that was something. I had met Cindi in passing one evening while having dinner at the Inn, but really hadn't thought too much about it. She and her husband, Ken, own and run the Inn. In the depths of my vague memory I knew they'd been there for a couple of years...but didn't know precisely how long. I hadn't understood quite what a collaboration the art shows at the Museum is between the Museum and the Inn. Along with photos for the show, I was asked if there might be a couple for the Inn. Well that is a real plus in my book since that would be good extra exposure and in a very nice environment, and so I started to scrounge a bit more (I'd ordered some from my vendor, but true to form UPS delivered them after I'd left to tweak my show on Tuesday).

With this very upbeat experience of working with Cindi I finally caught on to the fact that Montross is changing. It isn't just a post office, a bunch of county buildings, Bridget's, Angelos and the Sheriff's office. It has become a lot more. The places just referenced here are the ones that greeted me when I arrived 20 years ago and found that we were driving through this tiny town with a 90 degree turn and sometimes we'd stop for pizza.

With the murals that have been painted, and the clean up that is happening, generally there is a feeling that Montross really is becoming something. The Art of Coffee came in a few years ago and is a real plus. Certainly I find it the perfect place to meet real estate clients who arrive from Northern Virginia. We can have a cup of coffee in a fun location and orient our day. Angelos has evolved and offers a great range of food including really good pizza. Bridget's Bouquets is still there with the staff working seemingly unending hours to deal with the huge demands of special holidays and other occasions. Yesterday's is up the street and has a good local following.

So really what is happening is that there are more and more businesses coming in (not a big rush...nothing happens in a big rush here) which includes the fact that Diane Jackson has moved from Lerty and has her great little shop right there in town. She offers not only original paintings and beautifully done giclees of local scenes (predominantly of the old working boats) but also she can frame work for you. It's nice and convenient. This has become a town that you can walk around and look at things....hmmm, a destination. Oh, there is the antique section at the front of Carrot Cottage right there on the corner....

Okay, ramble, ramble, so get to the point, Kathryn. I was really surprised by the level of professionalism and dedication I experienced when I met Brianna and Cindi. There is a level of commitment to the Museum, to Art and to the public that made me excited for them. This made me want to tell the world that they should support endeavors that are reaching out to make the town a better place. The Inn at Montross donates hors d'ouevres at the art openings which are on the 2nd Wednesday of the month. Then, they are open that Wednesday night....even though regularly they are open Thursday through Saturday for dinner and Sunday for brunch. I went there for dinner after the opening and found the food to be really good, the wine was great and the atmosphere is serene and classy. Not only that, a member of our former yoga group was our waitress and added a lot of personality and just plain fun to the night.

So vote with your feet. Find places where people have made commitments to their business and to the public and if you like and enjoy them, then support them. This is not an easy place to make a living that relies to a fair degree on the seasonal traffic. This is a tough place to work in the winter without all those extra people coming and going. I am making a commitment to the Inn at Montross to go to the 2nd Wednesday art openings and then to dinner. I'm going to let people know about bistro night (see a sample at the end of this blog) which is Thursday night and what a reasonable and good menu is offered. I'm going to ask people to vote with their feet. It doesn't just have to be the Inn obviously. It is that you should be aware of how demanding having an eatery or specialty place is on the Northern Neck. That if you like it, please help it to stay here. Frequent it. Support it. Appreciate that it is there for you and if you don't participate it may be gone.

The various locations that I have had photos on display have told me a thing or two about demographics....perhaps. The photos are on display all the time at the Rappahannock Art League in Kilmarnock. That location has far and away been the best location for traffic and for sales. When my friend Connie Canby had her gallery in Colonial Beach called WideRiver, she did a very good job selling the work. But Gloucester has had the work for over a year and very little has happened. Not to say that Kay isn't trying very hard to make Goucester Art on Main into a real destination and hub for the arts, it is just it hasn't gotten rolling totally, at least not as a place to sell. Urbanna Harbor Gallery, well Barbara and Cloyde are terrific, but do the photos sell...not really. What this tells me is a bit about the population. We always think the grass is greener...we on the Northern Neck have been regaled with stories of the Middle Peninsula and surely both Urbanna and Gloucester are significant towns in their own way, but I can't say that they are any stronger than the Kilmarnock area (and perhaps not)...based on my little anecdotal information.

If you'd like to see the photos (which are predominantly misty scenes of the water around my Naylors Beach home) they will be up at the Museum in Montross (Westmoreland County Museum) through the 4th of October. The Museum is open 10-4 Tuesday through Saturday and has some very interesting displays about the history of the area...so is worth a visit even without the extra art. Having you stop by and give this area a bit of a boost won't hurt. Montross Fall Festival will be on the 4th of October and I intend to spend a couple of hours in the afternoon at the Museum.

You just never know what corner you'll turn and find something of interest here on the Northern Neck. There are those who say there is nothing here. There are others who find that there is too much to do. It can really have to do with your approach.

For the heck of it, I have included the information about the Bistro night that took place last Thursday at the Inn at Montross. This should give you an idea of the options there.....keep it in mind!! (Also they have a good wine list which can be very important.)

Let’s Bistro!

This Thursday, September 11, the Chef Station is House-made Country Fried Steak, Gravy, Butter whipped Mashed Potatoes, Southern Style Green Beans and a slice of Sweet Cornbread for only $10.50!

Add on our Fresh Vegetable Pasta Station cooked to order by your direction. Choose from an array of fresh vegetable ingredients –chopped Tomato, Green Pepper, chopped Onion, sliced Olives, Roasted Red Pepper, Mushrooms – to create your own masterpiece. Then decide on which House-made sauce to adorn your masterpiece: Alfredo, Marinara or Pesto – & then topped with fresh grated Parmesan Cheese ($7.50).

Include the “BYO” Salad, a mix of fresh Greens topped with any of our 12 fresh ingredients – Olives, shaved Red Onion, shredded Carrot, diced Tomato, Cucumbers, Mushroom, crumbled Bacon, mixed Mozzarella, Cheddar cheese & so much more. Finish off your BYO Salad with a choice of our Salad Dressings ($4.50).

The Summertime Dessert Station special includes any of the Inn’s desserts for your pleasure ($5.00).

Our entire dinner menu is always available, along with the Bistro Menu, every Thursday night in lieu of the Bistro Menu. See the Dinner Menu online.

 

 

Sunday Brunch – TripAdvisor calls it “Epic”

The Chef Stations feature freshly made Omelets with your choice of 12 items including vegetables, crab, Black Forest ham, bacon, steak, avocado’s & more, plus a Weekly Carving Station, Spiced Peel-and-Eat Shrimp, Fresh Vegetable, Shrimp & Cheese Grits, Apple Smoked Bacon, Mild Pork Sausage, Pasta du Jour, Breakfast Skillet Potatoes, Fresh Cut Fruit along with Garlic Cheddar Biscuits & soft Whipped Butter plus House-made Jams. For those with a sweet-tooth we have Helle’s House-made Apple Danish Pastry along with a Belgian Waffle Bar with Chocolate Chips, Pecans, Almonds, Cranberries, Peanut Butter Chips & more. Always only $15.99.

Enjoy Sunday’s Mimosa & Mojito Bar delights with real fruit flavors of Strawberry, Mango/Orange, classic & Pomegranate / Blueberry.

 
 
View Comments | Add Comment Saturday, September 13, 2014  7:57:12 AM
Waterfront sales by price points 0 Comments Posted

This time I'm not going to get overly carried away. The below charts will show the sales over the last three years (including this year, 2014) for waterfront residential properties in the five counties (NNeck plus Essex) for January 1 through September 10. They will be broken out in $500,000 increments. What it shows is that things aren't changing radically for residential waterfront property sales. It has stabilized (after the really difficult years of 2009, 2010 and 2011). 

WF Residential sales 1/1-9/10
Up to $500,000 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 92 101 96 313
$ sold (millions) 27.7 30.6 29.9 107.8
Median sales price 307,500 320,000 313,750 349,000
Median days on market 166.5 306 238 171

Approximately 3 times as much inventory that is active as has sold thus far this year. Reduced median days on market.

WF Residential sales 1/1-9/10
500,000-$1,000,000 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 30 38 30 191
$ sold (millions) 17.9 25.1 19.9 139.5
Median sales price 554,500 630,000 648,500 695,000
Median days on market 174 194 284 168

A bit more than 6 times the amount of inventory that is active as has sold this year. Increased median days on market.

WF Residential sales 1/1-9/10
$1,000,000 plus 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 5 5 6 46
$ sold (millions) 5.6 9.8 9.8 72.9
Median sales price 1.05 1.5 1.25 1.4
Median days on market 222 348 296 179

About 7 and a half times as much active inventory as has sold so far this year. Reduced median days on market.

 

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, September 10, 2014  8:16:34 AM
Updates on the market 0 Comments Posted

 Here we are and it's time to look at where we stand in the market today. We're all in a pretty knowledgable position given that we keep looking at numbers at least a couple of times a month. This is a little bit of a stand back and see where things fit. I know that when I looked at the Residential numbers that were exclusively for waterfront and then juxtaposed them with all the non-waterfront (waterview, water access and what we call "non-waterfront" which really means that the property comes with no special access to the water...not in a subdivision with amenities....and in my typical wandering away from the point...depending on the Realtor they may put a listing in as "non waterfront" that does have amenities and then they may put something in as "water access" not because it has specific amenities, but because it is right down the street from a public boat ramp.....so essentially either ask or double check, because this can be a little confusing even for Realtors taking a look at listings)....I thought, well I sort of knew that, but now I really know. With the exception of 2014 where the differential has really increased, the number of sold waterfront listings is fairly similar to the all other residential listings sales numbers. You'll see. 

Sales 1/1-9/7 for respective years in the 5 counties, all Northern Neck and Essex

Waterfront residential  2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 127 142 130 548
$ sold (millions) 51.2 62.8 58.8 317.9
Median sales price 359,500 375,000 367,500 469,000
Median days on market 172 263 250 166

Just as we'd expect...2014 isn't bad for waterfront residential sales, but it lags behind last year. Median sales price is down too. Median days on market is a lower number, but still pretty high. 

Sales 1/1-9/7 for respective years in the 5 counties, all Northern Neck and Essex

All non-waterfront residential*  2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 147 164 185 465
$ sold (millions) 22.0 23.8 26.1 95.3
Median sales price 131,900 127,500 133,000 175,000
Median days on market 149 164 178 151

*waterview, water access and "non-waterfront"

Numbers of sales have increased considerably in this segment and dollars are up too. Higher median sales price and higher median days on market. But the days on market number is much better than the waterfront numbers.

I'd like to compare these markets a bit so  to make it easier I'm showing the waterfront 2012, 2013 and 2014 just below and to the right of that the numbers sold in the non waterfront category.....may that will make it more clear how the sales have been coming in for each segment over the last three year period up until September 7th of each  year.

# sold 2012/2013/2014 wf             # sold 2012/2013/2014 non-wf

          127   142     130                            147    164   185

So as you can see there were 20 more sold non waterfront in 2012, then 22 more in 2013 and now 55 more in 2014. The non-waterfront market is expanding as the waterfront is contracting slightly. Then again the dollars are 50% or fewer for the non-waterfront segment in each of these years. Tells you where most of the purchasing dollars are going.

Sales 1/1-9/7 for respective years in the 5 counties, all Northern Neck and Essex

Waterfront land  2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 36 33 46 382
$ sold (millions) 4.5 5.3 9.1 94.9
Median sales price 115,000 150,000 187,000 175,000
Median days on market 236 414 226 309.5

We already knew from last week that waterfrotn land is selling. The numbers are up in 2014 but the dollars are really up. Also 2014's median days on market is significantly down from 2013....these sales are moving quicker. Still, the actives have over 300 days for the median days on market...that's not great. This is very good report though for those who are interested in selling waterfront land. There has been a lot on the market, but there's also been quite an inventory of those who have been waiting out whatever one would want to call the last few years of our real estate market for land.

Sales 1/1-9/7 for respective years in the 5 counties, all Northern Neck and Essex

Non-waterfront land* 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 58 54 56 554
$ sold (millions) 2.9 2.6 3.5 40.0
Median sales price 30,000 25,000 26,750 39,250
Median days on market 109 229 156 392

* Any property that isn't waterfront.

This market is holding its own. Not any great improvement, not any great failing. Yes, fewer median days on market and yes the median sales price is up a squeak.  But the median days on market for the actives is relatively scary coming close to the 400 day marker. Just a bit more perspective on where we are at the moment.

If I can assist you with a particular real estate need, please get in touch. Thank you.

--Kathryn

Kathryn Murray, principal broker, 804-450-4442 cell

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, September 07, 2014  8:32:28 AM
Land priced $200,000 plus 0 Comments Posted

Some land segments are coming back and this is one.

Lately I've been noticing quite a few new listings coming on that are land listings and are priced at over $200,000. (The vast majority, at least 90% if not more, are waterfront.) It seemed not to make much sense given how much land listings have been struggling to sell and although I'd noted that as a whole the land market is doing better than it has since it fell off a cliff in 2008, that certainly didn't mean we were significantly improving. For if so, then this might be the best market news yet. Looking at this part of the market (land $200,000 plus) told me, hmmmm, we may even be getting healthy. 

This chart is for all land in the five counties, Essex, Richmond, Lancaster, Northumber and Westmoreland. Timeframe is January 1 through September 1 for the respective years.

Land $200,000 plus 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 18 18 9 16 30 172
$ sold (millions) 5.3 6.2 2.5 4.1 7.9 81.5
Median sales price 250,000 275,000 235,000 220,500 235,000 295,000
Median days on market 225 222 133 451 137 272

I have this information pulled up with all the listings just waiting for some sort of question to pop into my mind, and then I wonder, how long has the longest enduring listing been on in this category...and the answer is in excess of 3300 days. Then I check to see when it was put on, which was 2005 and then when the most recent price change, 2007. So some people aren't in a rush. But looking at the median days on market in the 2014 sales (137), it looks as if there were a bunch of people who took their losses in 2013 when the median days on market was 451. Then again, the median days on market for the actives is approaching 300 so we still have a bunch of listings with considerable age on the MLS.

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, September 01, 2014  5:51:16 PM
Numbers and pondering... 0 Comments Posted

Good afternoon,

Well I've been trying to get on to this site for hours. It has perhaps been at least 6 hours that it has been down. And this isn't the only one with that limitation. What I have to believe is that our vendor who hosts all of these sites either had a problem or was doing some upkeep. I've never experienced such an extensive down time before and emailed them to ask why. Not that what I'm going to tell you here is earth shattering, but still, I like to be a bit connected even on a weekend when most of us are truly focussed elsewhere.

The solds data through the end of August will adjust a bit when some additional Realtors put in their solds in the next week or two. We are really required to do that within a couple of days, but that doesn't always happen. For that reason keep in mind that 2014 may be adjusted up a bit fairly soon. I'll make sure to check by the 15th of September.

Anyway, what today's review shows is that we are ahead in number of sales but behind in dollars when compared with 2013. Follows all the trend  we've been seeing, so no real surprise. Here are those numbers:

All residential, 4 counties 1/1 through 8/31 2012 2013 2014 Active
# sold 269 300 305 1020
$ sold (millions) 72.7 84.6 82.9 414.6
Median sales price 208,700 208,500 197,000 315,000
Median days on market 164 210 200 158

There's a bit of a disconnect if you look at the m median sales price for 2014 and then that of the actives....hmmm, $197,000 to $315,000.

Pretty weekend but a bit rough for some of the water activity. We've not had whitecaps here, but close. Enjoyed going and listening to The Sierra Band down at the Naylors Beach campground. Funny, there weren't so many of the campers down there, but I could tell as I walked home that the sound drifted beautifully back to the campground sites and so people could sit around their individual campfires or grills and have their cookouts and the breeze would come up and bring a bit of cooler air and the sound of a rockin' band would drift over and be loud and then a bit quieter. Really