Well, it’s July, life is good and summer is in full swing. The waves are calling, folks are traveling (maybe not as far as normal with the price of gas!) and I’m back from a “blogging break” with a new site look and some new features coming down the pike for the site.
Every time I turn on the television, there’s bad news about the economy, real estate and the foreclosure crisis. There is truth amongst all the scare mongering, but it’s not all doom and gloom. Houses are still selling. If you’re looking to sell your home and buy a new home, it’s a good time. If you’re a first-time buyer with decent credit and income, it’s a great time to buy! So what are you waiting for?
There’s an article in today’s Roanoke Times quoting me as a source. I received a call yesterday from a reporter at The Roanoke Times looking for real estate data on home sales in the Roanoke Valley.
We have a large amount of inventory currently for sale as compared to previous years but, as I mentioned in the article, I have already noticed a significant upswing in sales and buyer inquiries since the middle of February. Things are beginning to look up!
It’s a great market to buy a home for you and your family.
Last week Virginia Governor Tim Kaine signed a new bill into law that will require Northern Virginia real estate developers to preserve a specified percentage of original trees on the land they intend to develop. The bill is intended to help with air quality improvement with additional benefits being preservation of wildlife habitat and storm water runoff filtering.
The law may not have much bite though in a much-needed area of Virginia. According to this story in the Washington Post, “The bill takes effect July 1, but local jurisdictions can choose whether to follow it.”
Treeless neighborhoods having a lasting impact according to Virginia McGuire who lives in Northern Virginia-
“I keep getting upset with my kids when they try to climb a tree,” said McGuire, who is also chair of Leesburg’s Environmental Advisory Commission. She’s worried about the trees being hurt. “You can’t spare any.”
“This was a farm, and there weren’t a lot of trees here, but there were trees here,” she said. “And there’s just nothing left.”
Another sign with a leaf motif announced the development’s name: Oaklawn.
The Roanoke Times recently published an article giving a cursory look over new home construction in Salem.
The national housing market has been described as slow, gloomy and in crisis. But in Salem, things are booming.
Now that makes the new construction market sound just peachy. The problem with making as assertion like that is it’s not true. Yes, builders are continuing to frantically build new neighborhoods all over the Roanoke and Salem markets, but that doesn’t indicate a healthy market. These builders are already committed to these new developments and financially enmeshed with them and it’s prudent for them to continue but where will the buyers come from?
“There’s a misconception that we’re in a doom-and-gloom market,” Hendrickson said.”
I hope they’re misquoting this guy because it seems to me to be a very ‘head-in-the-sand’ statement to suggest the market hasn’t turned for the worse in the past few months.
The real estate kiosk at Valley View Mall, brought to you by iRealEstate, LLC is finally here. It took the better part of two days to get this interactive real estate center up and running. If you’re an agent and are interested in advertising, call (540) 397-0014. If you’re a homeowner and want your house advertised at the mall, visit the kiosk and talk to the agent on duty!
Here are some photos from the install!
More kiosks coming soon to-
Soon you’ll be able to buy and sell your home at a mall near you!
iRealEstate, LLC will be bringing an interactive real estate kiosk at Valley View Mall in August. Valley View Mall has nearly 1 million shoppers per month! Imagine having your home advertised for sale by your agent in front of even a fraction of those shoppers!
This real estate kiosk is new to the area and features 48 back-lit ads of local homes for sale. It also will have advertising for local businesses and two interactive touch screen monitors featuring slide shows for all homes and businesses advertised on the kiosk. There will even be participating real estate agents available to answer your real estate questions!
The iRealEstate kiosk will be located in the food court directly across from the new Barnes & Noble Bookseller on the main level. Visit the Valley View real estate kiosk to list your home with one of our agents and have your home for sale advertised at the mall!
If you’re a real estate agent and are interested in being a participating advertiser, contact their sales manager at (540) 397-0014.
There was a good article published in the Great Homes section of the New York Times on 6/22/2007 about Smith Mountain Lake and New Englanders who choose SML as a retirement destination.
The article, titled- In Virginia, a Blue Ridge Retreat That’s ‘a Little Undiscovered’ emphasizes the affordability of Smith Mountain Lake for people used to high prices in large metro areas like New York and New Jersey.
“One day I was at work, and one of my buddies said he bought a place on a lake down here and would I come visit him on a vacation,” Mr. Rada, a retired supervisor for a natural gas company, said of his first trip to Smith Mountain Lake, in 1992. “It wasn’t a year before I bought a house here, too. Who in Jersey could have a house overlooking a lake with a dock for a couple-hundred-thousand dollars?”
I think that’s the primary appeal for the Roanoke Valley and Smith Mountain Lake for retirees from our northern neighbors. A home on the water at Smith Mountain Lake is relatively cheap when compared to comparable accommodations up there.
Mr. Rada has since sold that first house — at a 200 percent profit, he said — and now owns a three-bedroom, three-bath town house he bought for $320,000 two years ago in the Mariners Landing development at Smith Mountain Lake. It has a sunset view of the lake from the back covered porch and a sunrise view, only disturbed by the first hole of the Mariners Landing golf course, from the front covered porch.
“It’s all too relaxing here,” he said. “I meet people all the time who come here for a second home or retirement from New Jersey.”
The article goes on to compare life at Smith Mountain Lake to the retiree rat race in Florida and other areas.
Smith Mountain Lake is a great place to live whether you’re a retiree or not. Are you relocating to Smith Mountain Lake? Contact me for help in finding your Smith Mountain Lake home.
tba (The Thomas Becher Agency), a Roanoke public relations, advertising and marketing company, has moved to historic Warehouse Row in Downtown Roanoke.
“The move allows us to be more centrally located to service our clients,” said Thomas Becher, president of tba. “Our new home also will give us a fresh new start and will facilitate even more creativity.”
Warehouse Row is a historic three-story office building converted from an existing warehouse with classic hardwood floors, wood supports and brick walls. It is an excellent place for any business looking for a classic, stylized office with great amenities and shared conference room facilities.
The Inman News Blog is reporting talks in California of creating a state-wide MLS to supplement (maybe replace?) local MLSs.
The idea makes sense and something I was just talking with Rob Lusk about today. A regional or state MLS would be better for the public and better for agents. As it stands now if I want to sell a house in Floyd County, I could list it in either the New River Valley or Roanoke Valley MLS (or both). I think the real estate multiple listing service is headed down the road of change. Between the class action lawsuits and new websites like Trulia and Homethinking it is bound to happen, and for the good I think.
The sales data for May 2007 is out for the Roanoke MLS.
Real estate agents sold 492 residential properties in an increase of 1.3% over May. However, that is a decrease of twenty-nine percent over 2006 sales from the same month.
The graph below shows the Roanoke MLS sales data from January 2006 through May 2007:
About two months ago I received a call from Deanna Stephens of The Roanoker magazine wanting to interview me for an upcoming real estate story. She had found my real estate blog while searching for real estate information on the Roanoke Valley. This was a very well thought out and researched article with lots of good information. If you don’t have the June 2007 issue you need to go out and get it. I was quoted three times and this real estate blog (with web address) was mentioned in the story. Thanks to Deanna and The Roanoker!
A few select quotes and my response and comments-
My quote about suburban land development-
“There’s a high demand for land – it’s at a premium”, he says. “This is an area [Bonsack and parts of Southwest County] previously unconsidered because of the terrain. Fifteen years ago it would have been undesirable.”
Bill Hart of J.M. Turner Homes had a different but not unharmonious take on it-
“As population increases, property closest to the city is in high demand,” he says, adding that geology and terrain have never been a deterrent. “People start to spread out as they look for cheaper land. It’s just a matter of supply and demand.”
While I agree with Bill on supply and demand, which is very close to what I was asserting with the idea that the best land is taken first, I have to disagree that geology and terrain have never been a deterrent. If geology and terrain were not a deterrent then that horrible hill (among many other places in the Valley) just across from the Tanglewood Mall exit on US-220 would have been developed long ago because of it’s great location. However, the terrain long delayed its development and even now there’s not much going on there due to the very steep terrain.
[Marty] Martin cites the older neighborhoods in South Roanoke and Southwest as often the target of this demographic [Babyboomers]. “People who buy in [these neighborhoods] are not first time buyers, they’re more established”, he says.
And of course, the last word-
As time unfolds to continue the story of Roanoke Valley’s housing market, residents will observe increased suburban growth that will keep choices diverse and widespread. Renovations within [Roanoke] will also keep its housing competitive.
“Look at the upturn in downtown Roanoke,” Martin says. “The Candy Factory on Salem Avenue is being converted to condos and there’s the Campbell Garage Lofts. I wouldn’t consider that major growth, but it’s certainly worth mentioning.”
There’s a lot of other stuff in this article on Roanoke real estate I’ll blog more on soon. Richard Wells had a great block on taxes in tax assessments in Roanoke, Salem and Roanoke County I’ll talk on next.
I received this email from Senator Brandon Bell earlier today-
Since this is an issue that affects nearly everyone, I want to share news with you regarding the Appalachian Power rate increase.
Today, the State Corporation Commission announced a significant reduction in APCo’s rate increase request. APCo had requested a 25.4% increase, which we consumers have been paying since October of 2006. Today’s ruling will allow APCo to increase rates by only 3%.
The new lower rates must take effect within 30 days and refunds, with interest, will be made within 90 days.
Over the past few months, hundreds of my constituents shared their concern about this rate increase with me. Hearing these concerns, I contacted the SCC and encouraged them to consider a lower rate increase. I am very pleased with this ruling.
This is indeed good news for all of us paying exorbitant fees for electricity. Chalk one up for the little people!