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Rappahannock Market Update

It's been awhile since we've taken a look at the stats for individual markets. So we'll start with the smallest market today, Rappahannock, and then do Culpeper, Fauquier and Prince William over the next week.

The October, 2011 report for Rappahannock County shows mostly discouraging news. The total number of Active Listings is, in my mind, the most discouraging number with a total of 108 properties currently looking for buyers. Of the 6 properties sold last month, one third of them were on the market for over a year. The dollar volume of sales is down 58% year over year. The average sold price is down 44% year over year. Average days on market for the county is now 221, up 118% from where we were in October of 2010. The average list price and average sold price are both down over 40%. There's not much in the way of bright spots there.

The sole bit of good news I can offer is that, as usual in Rappahannock, the volumes are so tiny that it's almost impossible to draw many conclusions from a single month's data. Even year over year, volumes are just too small to compare two months and come to any relevant conclusions.

What I can tell you is that if you look at longer term trends, meaning several years worth of data, you see that average monthly sales are up from the depths of the recession. Now that only means that 6-8 houses sell in a given month rather than 3-4. But for those 3 or 4 homeowners, it makes a difference. Days on market remains high, but not as high as it's been. And, where once we were looking at around 3 years of inventory, at the current pace of sales it's more like 18 months.

There is no way to look at the data and suggest prices are better or firmer, although I suspect they're relatively stable.

If you're selling your home in Rappahannock County, make sure it's in excellent condition. If it's not, be prepared to discount it steeply and still wait a long time for the right buyer.

 

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Rappahannock Land

Since I've had several recent inquiries from both buyers and sellers about land in Rappahannock County, it seemed like a good time take a closer look at that market.

I've mentioned before that land sales are different than home sales. The prices in that market are typically less elastic. Fewer sellers of land "have" to sell.

There have been 9 land parcels sold this year in Rappahannock County. The smallest was 1.23 acres. The largest was 117.92. This does not cover family transfers of land, of which there are a considerable number in Rappahannock County.

The average price per acre is about $11,000. That tells you almost nothing, though since these nine parcels are so different. A 2 acre buildable parcel sold for about $50,000/acre. The 117 acre parcel sold for just under $10,000/acre, a steal in Rappahannock County. The two 25 acre lots, the minimum acreage required for building in Rappahannock County (unless grandfathered in) sold for $10,500 and $13,000.

Days on market ranged from 7 for a 34 acre lot in Woodville to 344 days for a 25 acre lot on North Poes in Flint Hill.

Land sales are down considerably from 2008 when 16 parcels sold. The average price per acre is down about $600. But, again, because there is such a small sampling and so much variety, the price per acre here is not particularly useful.

What I can say is that small parcels continue to sell at a premium. Lots w/septic permits, good access, good views and water all sell for more.

And, the good news is, perhaps because of the slightly lower prices, we've seen some land parcels go under contract relatively quickly.

If you've got questions about your particular parcel of land, or about land you hope to buy, just let me know!

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Amissville Auction

There was an auction in Amissville last week. The property that was sold was 16 Lantern Lane, an equestrian facility and bed & breakfast. It features a 4 bedroom, 4.5 bath home on 10 acres. The home was built in 2005.

The property features an 11 stall center aisle barn as well as some fencing for horses.

The home was originally listed for sale in February of 2008 for $949,900. The price was reportedly reduced to $795K at some point. It never sold and was taken off the market in August of that same year.

The auction produced a sale price of $550K. If you look at comparable properties in Rappahannock County (minus foreclosure) they're listed for about $600K to about $1 million. (Granted, the $1 million home has no interior photos.)

Given what I see out there, someone got a good deal last week. That's not always true at an auction. Auctions depend on adrenaline kicking in and people bidding more than they intended.

Since prices in Rappahannock County are less elastic than elsewhere in the region it'll be interesting to see if there's any impact on pricing for these similar properties.

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Rappahannock Price Conundrum

It can be difficult to figure out what the market is doing in Rappahannock. With 2-3 sales a month, most months, it's difficult to discern trends. And, given the enormous price ranges found in properties in the county, any snapshot is sure to lead to incorrect conclusions.

But I've had a couple of conversations this week with property owners in Rappahannock County that had me wondering about pricing overall. In several instances property owners said they knew their properties were overpriced but they had no intention of lowering the price. They said they weren't "desperate" and could wait out any temporary market downturn.

And, of course, they're no doubt correct. While most homes are both a home and an asset for most families. There are a lot of property owners in Rappahannock for whom the property is more heavily weighted towards asset. It's easier to wait this out if you don't have to sell your property here in order to move on somewhere else.

And, the dollar value of sales stayed relatively consistent this year. A total of almost $16 million sold in 2007. In 2008 that total was almost $14.5 million. What was down significantly were the number of transactions. There were 42 in 2007. It looks like we'll finish with about 30 total sales in 2008.

Meanwhile, inventory has risen pretty dramatically. There were 67 properties on the market at the end of 2007. Today there are about 98, an increase of about 30%. We hit a high at the end of October with 103 properties for sale.

Rappahannock took longer to feel the effects of this downturn. And, in a normal economy with a normal real estate slump, there may not have been much of an impact at all here. But the economic fiasco we find ourselves in nationally has not spared the residents of Rappahannock. There have been foreclosures here as well, with more likely to come. And there's an increasingly long list of people who really do want to sell their properties but can't (at least at their current price).

So, how long does the stalemate last? How long are sellers willing or able to wait for the market to recover. In the region overall I believe it could be 5-10 years before we see property values anywhere near what we saw, say, in 2005. Even if you're not "desperate" how long do you want to hold on?

2009 promises to be an interesting year in Rappahannock real estate! What do you think lies ahead?

 

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Rappahannock March Numbers

Today I'm going to talk about March's numbers for Rappahannock county.

First of all, a note to those of you who may be new to this blog or to Rappahannock County's real estate market. It is a much, much different market than the surrounding counties. The volumes are very small and so, in some ways, these numbers are less enlightening.

That said, inventory remains static in the county with 71 homes currently for sale. As with surrounding counties, inventory is up from a year ago, although not by a huge percentage. In March of 2007 there were 66 homes listed for sale. There were 11 new listings added this month as opposed to 13 in February.

The big new is that 3 sales closed in March. There have been several months in a row now where that number has been 1. So, percentage-wise, a huge increase! I wouldn't read it as a trend just yet, however! But it is good to note that there were also 2 new contracts written. Those numbers still don't look as good as last year's. In March of 2007 there were 5 closed sales and 3 new contracts written.

Prices continue to drop, even in Rappahannock County. The average sales price a year ago was $460,000. The average sales price now is $411,667. That's a 10% drop in one year. It's lower than the surrounding counties, but still not good news to sellers. A reminder to take average sales prices with a dose of salt for Rappahannock. With volumes so low and prices all over the map, this is a statistic that is often fatally flawed. But, year over year, right now, it looks reasonably accurate.

While new construction is a very small percentage of Rappahannock County real estate, it is noticeable that the new homes inventory has dropped over 50% over the last year. There were 10 a year ago and there are only 4 now.

In Rappahannock County,  much of the action is in land sales. There were three of those last month. In general, smaller parcels seem to be moving a little better recently.

The Rappahannock County real estate market remains steady, slow and not significantly different than a year ago. If you're a buyer looking in Rappahannock County things have rarely looked this good!

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Rappahannock County Growth

There's an article on the Times Community Newspaper's web site regarding Rappahannock County and growth, or rather, the lack thereof.

It's an interesting piece and it makes a good place to jump off to a discussion about why the real estate market is so different in Rappahannock County.

While this county has also seen a slowing in the market, the effect is more muted here. Since there was never quite the "boom" you saw in surrounding counties, there's not likely to be the same level of downturn here either.

As this article points out, while Culpeper was the fastest growing county in the region with Madison and Fauquier not far behind, statistics suggest that the population growth in Rappahannock County is actually negative. While John McCarthy points to a small increase in population, what I've seen suggests that most of those additional people are weekenders and not full time residents. I don't believe there are any numbers available on the percentage of the population that are full time residents vs weekenders, but I suspect that the trend is for more part-timers.

All of which contributes to a very different real estate market. Average days on market can often be longer in Rappahannock County. But you see less variation over all. The prices are a little less "squishy" than in surrounding areas. There's less elasticity of demand, in part, because people who are selling second homes rarely feel the same pressure for a quick sale that someone does who's selling their primary dwelling. Most people don't have to sell in a hurry so they can get to the next house, job, etc.

Meanwhile, the debate about growth does continue in Rappahannock County. But John McCarthy is right in that no one is looking to turn this into the next Culpeper in terms of growth!

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Rappahannock October Statistics

RAPPAHANNOCK COUNTY MARKET STATISTICS

OCTOBER, 2007
MONTH
ACTIVE
NEW LISTINGS
NEW CONTRACTS
SOLD
02/06
42
10
3
4
03/06
49
16
7
3
04/06
58
17
6
5
05/06
68
21
5
7
06/06
68
16
7
2
07/06
70
12
2
5
08/06
74
19
3
3
09/06
78
19
8
4
10/06
84
25
5
5
11/06
81
8
6
7
12/06
75
6
5
6
01/07
64
10
5
5
02/07
64
13
5
3
03/07
66
10
3
5
04/07
81
22
3
3
05/07
80
10
2
2
06/07
79
16
7
4
07/07
83
14
0
3
08/07
87
12
4
2
09/07
84
13
3
4
10/07
75
9
7
3

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Rappahannock County

Rappahannock County, Virginia

Rappahannock County is a special place as any of the 7,000 some residents here will tell you!It is unique in Virginia in that it is the only county that has no traffic light and no supermarket!And that suits most of the residents here just fine!

Some of the communities in the county are Washington (the county seat), Amissville, Sperryville and Flint Hill. The Rappahannock River flows along the northeast boundary of the county and separates it from bordering Fauquier County. To the southwest is Madison County and to the southeast is Culpeper County.


Just one of the many beautiful country roads.




Rappahannock
is at the foot of the Shenandoah and the rolling foothills are breathtakingly beautiful at almost any time of year.Tourism and agriculture are the main industries here.You will find plenty of farms and opportunities to buy your food directly from the source.Rappahannock County has several award winning wineries here. There are scores of Bed & Breakfast establishments and some world-renowned restaurants. The Rappahannock County public schools are fully accredited, elementary and high school.
If you are thinking about relocating to this county, you should know you'd probably encounter plenty of deer, black bear and wild turkey.While neighbors can be a little further away than in the city, there is also more socializing. Neighbors depend on each other more when the nearest store can be quite a drive, especially after a major snowstorm! But Fauquier Hospital and Culpeper Regional Hospital are both within convenient distances from Rappahannock residents.

The county is likely to stay rural given the current zoning rules that say you cannot build on less than 25 acres. If you are looking for a lifestyle far from the hustle and bustle of the city, this may be the perfect place for you!


For more information visit http://www.rappahannock.com


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Amissville

Amissville, Virginia


Some time around 1763, Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron divided the land now known as Amissville to Joseph Bayse and Joseph Amiss. In the early 1800s, descendants of both families wanted the town named in their own honor. So an election was held and the Amiss family won by a one vote margin, hence, the name Amissville.

Amissville is located in
Rappahannock County with outlying areas falling in Culpeper County and a tiny piece in Fauquier County.There is definitely the charm of small town living here, but the conveniences in Warrenton, Virginia are just 15 minutes away.



Amissville is a community of beautiful farms and good people.In the summer, residents can gather at Hackleys General Store for some blue grass music and every June the Amissville fire station hosts the annual carnival.Grey Ghost Vineyards is located right on Route 211 and is putting Virginia on the international wine map by producing acclaimed wines from immaculate vineyards.
In about 1763, Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron divided the land now known as Amissville to Joseph Bayse and Joseph Amiss. In the early 1800´s, decendents of both families wanted the town named in their own honor.
So an election was held and the Amiss family won by a one vote margin, hence, the name Amissville.
Most of the area is service by the Rappahannock school system, but again some outlying areas fall into the Culpeper public school district.

For more information see http://www.amissville.com

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A World Apart

Rappahannock County is a very different real estate market. It's different from the surrounding counties in a multitude of ways. It's more rural. There's no stop light in the county. There's no supermarket in the county and no fast food joints. There are more people than sheep in the county!

Those are part of what contribute to its uniqueness. But from a real estate perspective, the zoning restrictions contribute significantly to the difference. The minimum lot size to build (unless grandfathered in) is 25 acres. You won't see any mammoth subdivisions in Rappahannock County.

Because of all these factors the real estate market is different here. This county is battered less by the extreme ups and downs of the market. Demand is lower overall but there tend to be fewer peaks and valleys.

However, even Rappahannock County has noticed this market slowdown. There are 84 active listings in the county. Before the slow down that was generally in the mid-30s.

The average sales price is very unenlightening. With only three properties sold in an average month the numbers can swing wildly based on how many multi-million dollar properties sold. So we won't even bother with those numbers!

The average number of days a property stays on the market has jumped in the last year from 84 days to 196 days. Even in Rappahannock County, things are selling more slowly.

It appears there's no place to hide from this tough sellers market. But there's always good news out there and we'll talk about that tomorrow!

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