Charlottesville home prices aren't following national trends
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Real estate prices have started to go down across the country, but according to experts, Charlottesville home prices aren't.
"My perspective as a realtor working in the Charlottesville area, I have not seen a drop in prices," said Peter McFarren, a realtor with Montague, Miller, and Company.
Real estate in Charlottesville is going against the norm.
"The prices in our area are stable. They aren't going to decrease," said S. Lisa Herndon, president of the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors.
Things are leveling off nationwide, but what does that mean for the Charlottesville area?
"Prices did increase last year, but I think prices have stayed where they were the last few months," said McFarren.
CBS News reports that home prices have fallen for the seventh straight month nationally. In January, prices fell 0.2 percent from the previous month. Though that may not seem significant, it has taken away from the 3.8 percent price increase the country has seen from a year ago.
But that's not what potential home buyers in Charlottesville are seeing.
"It's very, very hard to find anything in the $250 to the $300 or $350,000 range," said McFarren.
However, he says houses that cost $800,000 to a million dollars are more available. The reason prices are high:
"There's just not enough on the market. And that is a big, big issue," said McFarren.
Herndon says it’s a dilemma not unique to Charlottesville.
"Supply issues are throughout the state of Virginia. That's an issue we are all battling with," she said.
But buyers are still in the market despite several challenges.
“There still, I think, a great demand for housing, but there's not enough out there on the market," McFarren said. "Interest rates are still high and it's harder for people to be able to get them financed."
McFarren says a reason prices aren't rising as fast as they were is because of increasing interest rates.
The summer months are a time when activity in real estate markets picks up, but current interest rates are hovering around 6.5 percent. That's compared to about four percent a year ago and three percent in 2020.
"Having higher inflation means buyers have less buying power," said Herndon. "Can you imagine anticipating one payment now because interest rates have now increased, I no longer can afford that monthly payment."
That, she says, is taking many buyers out of the market, especially in the Charlottesville area, but there are upsides to higher interest rates.
"Buyers now have the ability, can have the ability to negotiate more," Herndon said.
And it's still a good time for a seller to put their home on the market.
"It’s an absolutely great time to put your house on the market. Prices are remaining strong," said Herndon.
Although sellers could be getting a higher price on their homes, Herndon says they are also staying on the market longer, but McFarren says there are long-term advantages if buyers can find something.
"Home buying is a great step for people to get financial, to have a place to call home, they build equity. A lot of equity that has been built in this area is because people bought a home at $300,000 and now it's worth $500,000,” he said.
As for what to expect in the future, based on the Charlottesville market trends, Herndon says these prices are here to stay.