CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (NEWSPLEX) -- The Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors reports home sales were up 12 percent in the last quarter, with a total of 959 closed sales - the highest since 2007.
"Traditionally, Charlottesville has been a popular destination for people to live and work," said Grier Murphy, who has been a local realtor for ten years. "Charlottesville right now is all about walkability. At least if you have a city buyer, people want to be walkable to Downtown or other amenities."
CAAR's President Anita Dunbar said first-time homebuyers have also made their way back into the market, which is a trend she said is being seen across the country.
"For a while, first-time homebuyers and new buyers were a little nervous after we had the bust a few years back and now they're feeling a lot more confident about the economy," said Dunbar. "Interest rates are low."
Dunbar said the current market is one favorable to both sellers and buyers alike.
"Sellers are pricing their homes at market value and purchasers are able to get a home at a price that's affordable and less than what they'd be paying for rent," she said.
Murphy said that spells good news for first-time buyers who must choose between rent payments and mortgage payments.
"The rental market is really robust right now," said Murphy. "So rent and mortgage in certain price points, certainly not in a higher price point are kind of in line. So for a first time homebuyer, there's very much the question does it make sense for me to rent a home or does it make sense for me to buy a house."
Dunbar said strong home sale numbers are also a good indication for the community as well.
"When sales are up in the area, it's good for everyone because consumers are out not only purchasing homes, they're purchasing furniture," she said. "Also, they're less transit, so once they own a home, they're more settled in here."