Find Virginia Waterfront property on the Northern Neck
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Contact Information
Kathryn Murray, associate broker
Tiffany Realty LLC
130 Rappa Point Road
Warsaw, VA 22572
Cell: 804-450-4442
Fax: 877-295-0940
Waterfront land

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 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 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.

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