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For the First Time in Weeks, Rates Move Lower

On the heels of last week's decision by the Fed to keep rates unchanged, mortgage rates dropped slightly this week, after four straight weeks of increases.

“The Federal Reserve’s decision last week to maintain the current level of the Federal funds rate combined with the reduction in their forecast for growth triggered a 3-basis point drop in the 10-year Treasury yield,” says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “As a consequence, the 30-year mortgage rate declined 2 basis points to 3.71 percent. However, comments this week by several members of the Fed, including the presidents of the Richmond, San Francisco, and Atlanta banks, indicated that a June rate hike is still on the table.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending March 24:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.71 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 3.73 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.69 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.96 percent, with an average 0.4 point, falling from last week’s 2.99 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 2.97 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.89 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 2.93 percent average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.92 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Posted by Yates Nobles on March 25th, 2016 6:30 PM

CAAR Publishes 2015 Year-End Market Report

Charlottesville Area Year-End 2015 Highlights:

  • Home sales in Greater Charlottesville have now increased for four consecutive years as the 3,282 homes sold in 2015 marked the highest level since 2006.
  • Pricing remained steady with a median sales price of $270,000 for the year, unchanged from 2014 and 10.2% higher than the 2011 bottom of $245,000.
  • Inventory is 16.5% lower than this time last year, the lowest level since year-end 2005.
  • Half the homes sold in 2015 were on the market 46 days or less, a six-day improvement from the median DOM of 2014 and the lowest level since 2006.
Yearly Home Sales Index
Posted by Yates Nobles on February 5th, 2016 10:47 AM



4 Home Improvements You Can Make This Year

You cut coupons to save at the grocery store, maybe put money away in a jar for a special purchase, but are you doing anything to save on your home expenses? This infographic has a few tips you can use to make your home more efficient and keep money from falling through the cracks.


Inspired to make things greener? Find out more information on the Department of Housing and Urban Development‘s home improvement page. For information on financing, visit SunTrustAvant and Wells Fargo

Upgrade Your Lights

Make the switch to LED bulbs

Unlike appliances and other energy-efficient products, LED bulbs that are Energy-Star rated are rated for quality as well as efficiency

LED bulbs feature many benefits like:

  • Less heat emission
  • No toxic materials
  • More eco-friendly


  • $4 – $10 per bulb depending on bulb type and application
  • Annual energy cost – $1 based on 2 hrs/day of usage and an electricity rate of 11 cents per kilowatt-hour
  • Bulb Life – 25,000 hrs (in most cases)


  • 75-80% over traditional bulbs
  •  72% over halogen bulbs
  •  5+% over CFLs

ROI – 100% in 24.9 months

Level of difficulty – Easy

Install Reflective Roofing

Reflective roofing can help you lower your energy costs by reflecting light and heat away from your home

Reflective roofing feature many benefits like:

  • Reducing your heating and air conditioning costs
  • Maintaining consistent indoor temperature
  • Decreasing heat damage on your roof


  • $0.75 – $1.50 ft2 for low or flat roof coatings
  • $0.05 – $0.10/ft2 for cool-roof upgrade on new
  • $1.50 – $0.10/ft2 for single-ply membranes
  • $0.10 – $0.20/ft2 for a built-up roof with a cool coating


  • An average of $0.50 on heating and cooling costs over traditional roofing materials

ROI – 75%

Level of difficulty – Difficult.

You will need to hire professional roofers

Upgrade Your HVAC

Cleaning your HVAC system at least once a year will keep it operating smoothly

You can also make upgrades to your HVAC system:

  • Upgrade your HVAC fan to move air more efficiently through your house
  • Upgrade your furnace, and/or hot water boiler to a more efficient model
  • Upgrade to a heat, pump, will will move air from the outside indoors
  • Upgrade to a biomass stove, which can burn wood, plant material, and agricultural waste


  • Consumer Cost for regular maintenance – $237-$428


  • Savings – Up to 80% depending on the severity of the problem

ROI – 75%

Level of difficulty – Medium

Buy New Windows and Doors

New windows and doors can dramatically reduce the amount of heat loss or gain you experience in the winter and summer


  • Replacement windows should be thermal insulated windows
  • Use replacement windows with a silicon-based, or foam-based window seals
  • Reinforcements in the window frames will help reduce buckling and sagging over time
  • Only buy replacement windows with insulated frames, as these will provide the best performance and energy efficiency


  • Buy solid core doors or doors with significant foam insulation
  • If buying wood doors, opt for hardwood cores
  • If buying steel or fiberglass doors, a thermal break is required


  • Consumer Cost for standard double pane windows – $300 per window
  • Triple-pane high efficiency windows – $1,000-$2,000 per window
  • Per Door Installed – $500 – $1,400

Savings –

Up to 40% on energy costs, depending on window efficiency and installation method

ROI – 85% for windows

98% for doors  (depending on quality and construction)

Level of difficulty – Medium to Difficult




Posted by Yates Nobles on November 6th, 2015 3:30 PM

How Do Homeowners Accumulate Wealth?

Lawrence Yun for Forbes

The differences between buying and renting are massive.  According to the Federal Reserve, a typical homeowner’s net worth was $195,400, while that of renter’s was $5,400.  The data reflects 2013 and the next survey of household finances, which is conducted every three years, will be out in 2016.  Based on what has happened since 2013 and projecting a conservative assumption of what could happen next year to home prices if we see only 3% price growth, the wealth gap between homeowners and renters will widen even further. The Fed is likely to show a figure of $225,000 to $230,000 in median net worth for homeowners in 2016 and around $5,000 for renters. That is, a typical homeowner will be ahead of a typical renter by a multiple of 45 on a lifetime financial achievement scale.

Though there will always be discussion about whether to buy or rent, or whether the stock market offers a bigger return than real estate, the reality is that homeowners steadily build wealth.  The simplest math shouldn’t be overlooked. A vast majority of homebuyers take out a 30-year fixed rate mortgage to make a home purchase. After 30 years, there is no mortgage payment (nor rent payment). So the home price growth over that time period would be the equity that the homebuyer would have accumulated. For example, the median home price of a single-family dwelling in the U.S. thirty years ago in 1985 was $75,500. This year, it will be at least $220,000. That figure of $220,000 is the housing component of the person’s wealth. Even had home prices not risen, the person would still have $75,500 in wealth today – on top of not paying any further monthly mortgage after 30 years.

This simple example does not play out nearly as neatly in the real world, since people do not stay in one residence over the 30 year period. Almost all homeowners trade up, change neighborhoods, or move to a better school district at some point. However, they are able to make those residential relocations due to the housing equity accumulated, even over a shorter period, and can immediately apply that equity to the next home as a downpayment. Therefore the conditions of steadily building housing wealth still hold.

We also know that not everyone can or should be homeowners. The memories of easily accessible subprime mortgages and subsequent harsh foreclosure pains are still fresh, and remind us of the devastating impact on the families involved, local communities, and to the broad economy. In addition most young adults have not developed the financial standing or have found a stable, desirable career and, therefore, choose not be homeowners until later.  The homeownership rate among households under the age of 35 is 35% currently and rarely rises above 40% historically. For those under the age of 25, the current ownership rate is 23% and rarely rises above 25%. But the time will eventually come when people want to convert to ownership. By the time people are in their prime-earning years of 45-to-55, nearly three-fourths do eventually become homeowners. By retirement, nearly 80% are homeowners.

Read the rest of the article at Forbes > 

Lawrence Yun, PhD., Chief Economist and Senior Vice President

Lawrence Yun is Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research at NAR. He directs research activity for the association and regularly provides commentary on real estate market trends for its 1 million REALTOR® members.

Posted by Yates Nobles on October 24th, 2015 4:54 PM

by CateyHill

Smart Money -MarketWatch

Forget Williamsburg. These four retiree havens offer the same history and charm for far les

Virginia is home of the "half backs" -- retirees from the north who tried out Florida, decided it wasn't for them, and then came halfway back up the coast.

With its lush landscapes, including the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains in the west and lovely coastline to the east, experts say it's easy to see why. And while Florida and other states to the south's hot and humid summers can be tough on the over-65 set, Virginia offers a comparatively milder climate all year round. Combine that with the state's plethora of recreational activities and urban amenities, and advisers say you have a retiree's paradise. "Virginia has a good climate, lots of colleges, beautiful natural scenery, and you can golf nine or 10 months of the year here," says Robert G. Topping, a financial adviser at Covenant Wealth Advisors in Williamsburg.

Virginia has its financial perks, too. The median home here goes for just $238,000, while state and local income taxes are below those the national average. Sales tax is about 5%, compared to 6.8% on average across the country. And while cost-of-living in the state in 8% above the national average, according to Sperling's Best Places, it's far less pricey than many states to the north. Retirees who are looking to continue working may also be in luck, as unemployment statewide is only about 6%.

As with any state, there are drawbacks. Millions of tourists descend on the state each year -- Virginia Beach has more than 5 million annually, while Colonial Williamsburg gets 1.7 million -- making some areas less than ideal for retirees seeking quiet golden years. On top of that, some of the most popular retirement spots are some of the state's least affordable. In Williamsburg, for instance, the median home price is $418,000 and the cost of living is 40.1% higher than the national average, according to Sperling's Best Places.

But that doesn't mean retirees can't find a beautiful beach community or mountain town without breaking the bank. With the help of financial advisers and natives of the Old Dominion State, identified four spots that have all the charm and natural beauty of historic Williamsburg, but at a fraction of the cost.

Roanoke: For the outdoorsman

Nestled in the southwest corner of the state amid the Blue Ridge Mountains, Roanoke offers some of Virginia's most beautiful landscapes, including breath-taking mountain views and wandering miles of rivers and creeks. The proximity to the mountains make Roanoke a hiker's haven, says Joyce E. Williams, a retired school administrator who lives in town. The Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club maintains more than 100 miles of trails in the area and there are also more than 20 miles of riverfront hiking and biking paths right in town. An hour's drive away is Smith Mountain Lake, which has 500 miles of shoreline and is popular among boaters. All this outdoor beauty comes at a significantly cheaper price than many mountain towns like Boulder, Colo., or Lake Tahoe: Retires will pay just $127,000 for the median home and the total cost of living is nearly 13% lower than average.

By the numbers

  • Population: 92,532
  • Median home cost: $127,700
  • Cost of living: 12.9% lower than average
  • Unemployment: 8.5%
  • Source: Sperling's Best Places

Cultural activities in Roanoke are a step above some other outdoorsy spots in the state, too, says Williams. In addition to the symphony, ballet and opera, Roanoke is home to the new Taubman Museum or Art -- designed by L.A. architect Randall Stout, who once studied under Frank Gehry. Exhibits in photography, painting and sculpture have attracted more than 300,000 visitors since the museum opened in late 2008.

But while Roanoke does have its share of museums and stores, some residents complain the shopping could be better (they hit up Richmond, about 2 ½ hours away, to get to more large department stores and other big-city shopping options). And the airport has direct flights to just nine cities.

Still, Roanoke offers retirees many opportunities to get involved in the community, Williams says. There a great number of neighborhood associations and retirement communities in the area that can help retirees easily integrate, she says. Volunteers can sign up with the well-regarded League of Older Americans, which helps disadvantaged seniors in the area or become a docent at the city's many museums.

Winchester: For the easygoing history buff

To understand the allure of Winchester, one must step back centuries. It was here that the Pennsylvania Quakers came to settle in 1732; here that George Washington had his first job, first military post, and first elected office; here that six Civil War battles were fought (the city was so important to both sides during the war that it changed hands more than 70 times during the conflict). And it is here that the history-loving retiree should consider settling, residents say.

By the numbers

  • Population: 26,265
  • Median home cost: $228,800
  • Cost of living: 14.8% higher than average
  • Unemployment: 6.8%
  • Source: Sperling's Best Places

One can easily get lost in retro-thought in the 45-block historic district, which is paved with old red-brick roads and dotted with landmark buildings from the 1800s. Many are drawn to the Old Court House Civil War Museum, built in 1840 that now features 3,000 artifacts and an exhibit of soldier-written graffiti. There is also the George Washington Office Museum, an 18th century building that's devoted to the first president's early years, and the Patsy Cline Historic House, the former residence of the legend country singer. "Lots of retirees volunteer to be docents at the many museums here," says Renee Bayliss, the visitor and community relations specialist for Winchester-Frederick County. 


Though retirees enjoy all of these historic offerings, some say the slower pace and affordable lifestyle are just as important. The town has dozens of restaurants and shops and even a few art galleries, but residents describe the surrounding area as rustic. "It's a small town with a rural countryside surrounding it," says Bayliff. And it's not only tiny, but it's pretty homogeneous -- nearly three in four residents are white, according to

Charlottesville: For the academic-minded history buff

It's no accident we've put two towns known for their past on this list -- history is Virginia's lifeblood. But living in Charlottesville is quite different from living in Winchester, largely because it's home to the top-rated University of Virginia, which gives the town a livelier, younger feel.

By the numbers

  • Population: 40,762
  • Median home cost: $242,100
  • Cost of living: 7.7% higher than average
  • Unemployment: 6%
  • Source: Sperling's Best Places

This is a place where many retirees proudly keep up with their studies. UVA offers the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute with courses ranging from "21st Century Retirement: Strategies for Women" to "Mediation: Why It Works." There is also plenty of art and culture, says Brigitte Bélanger-Warner, the director of sales & marketing at the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau, including annual opera and book festivals as well as a lively, eclectic music scene. Independent bookstores and coffee shops line the student-filled pedestrian mall downtown. And Charlottesville sits in an award-winning wine region, a fact Thomas Jefferson, who brought the first vines to the area, would surely be proud of, says Bélanger-Warner.

Charlottesville's historic claims to fame are Thomas Jefferson's Monticello estate and Ash Lawn-Highland, the home of James Monroe. The Rotunda, UVA's centerpiece, is a brick-and-white-columned building designed by Jefferson that is now a United Nations World Heritage site.

For the outdoors lover, the Shenandoah National Park is a popular spot for hikers (although the Skyline Drive -- which takes visitors through the park -- gets crowded in the summer and fall), as is the Appalachian Trail, which runs through the area. The artsy, youthful energy here mixes with history and the outdoors in a way that produces a unique retirement, Belanger-Warner adds. Charlottesville also has a major airport and two major hospitals.

Virginia Beach: For veterans who surf

Virginia Beach is a popular spot for active retirees, especially former members of the military, says Marc Davis, a spokesman for the city. (The area is home to five military bases and is next door to Norfolk's large naval base.) "We have one of the highest concentrations of military retirees in the country," he says.

By the numbers

  • Population: 431,155
  • Median home cost: $253,100
  • Cost of living: 14.6% higher than average
  • Unemployment: 6%
  • Source: Sperling's Best Places

Many retirees flock to the city's 35 miles of wide, white sandy shoreline and other natural wonders such as the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, with its thousands of acres of marsh and dunes. Hikers can walk through the trails along the waters in First Landing State Park, the most visited park in the state. And athletic retirees will find they're not alone. The area hosts the nation's longest running surf competition and Men's Health magazine ranked Virginia Beach as one of the fittest cities in America.

There is plenty to do beyond the beach. The heart of the city's entertainment is Town Center, a 17-city block area with shopping, restaurants, music venues and the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts. When the grandkids come to visit, take them to the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center or the observation area in POW/MIA Flame of Hope Memorial Park, where they can watch fighter pilots do aerial acrobatics. But despite all these offerings, and its bustling Town Center, most of the city has a suburban feel, says Davis. "You can have a quiet retirement here but still have lots to do."

This beach-meets-city lifestyle brings one big downside: crowds, especially in the summer on weekends. Each year, roughly 5.5 million visitors spend the night in the area, says Davis. But retirees say they simply escape to the quieter suburbs to avoid the crowds. Escape is made easier by the fact that Virginia Beach has a large airport nearby.

Posted by Yates Nobles on October 24th, 2015 4:53 PM
Many of you know and love the downtown pedestrian mall and UVA and are as pleased as I to see the rapid upgrading of midtown Cville.  Yes, Midtown.  The West Main St area between the pedestrian mall and UVA hospital and The University.  Perfectly situated just above the historical Fifeville area, where authentic late 1800 - early 1900 homes have been and are being renovated.

It's not to late to find your home in this area before prices escalate further.  I would like to invite you to my Open House tomorrow, Sunday, September 6 from 1-4 pm  -
at 311 5th St SW.   
This is a remarkable listing.  For the price of a condo or a townhouse you can live in urban chic where you can walk from West Main to the Corner/UVA or downtown.  Charlottesville's European-style Main St Market is just around the corner!

This 1676 square foot home has a simple, elegant design with 3-tier dental work below its metal roof.  Inside there are 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, 10'ceilings, exposed brick walls, handsome old southern pine floors, and tall windows.  The living space is open from the front street side to the rear deck side.  From the deck you view a deep, peaceful fenced backyard with its majestic tall trees - both retreats from a busy day.  Or you could just enjoy this bastion in town all day and work or play at home.  Then with a short walk go for coffee or lunch.

Charlottesville estimates the date of this building as 1907, but there are several indications that the home is older.  At one time it was known as Bell's Store, and neighbors remember when it was a meeting place for the Masonic Lodge.

You can take your first tour of this home among featured listing on this website - MLS # 537162.  I hope to see you at Open House, or give me a call and I will take you on a personal tour.
Posted in:General
Posted by Yates Nobles on September 5th, 2015 9:35 PM

Building New Brings Longer Waits

The average completion time of a single-family home is about seven months, according to the 2014 Survey of Construction from the Census Bureau. That includes around 25 days from authorization to start and then another six months to finish the construction.

 Read more: Average Wait Time for New Home: 6 Months

The average build time of single-family homes built for sale and built for rent has grown by one month longer in the latest data from 2014, compared to a prior 2012 analysis.

Homes constructed for sale took the shortest time to complete at six months, while homes built by owners averaged the longest time at 11.5 months. Homes built for rent averaged between nine and 10 months to completion.

However, timelines for new-home construction fluctuate greatly depending on location. The Middle Atlantic region had the longest building times at 9.5 months, followed by New England at nine months, and Pacific and East North Central regions at eight months. On the other hand, the shortest construction times were found in the Mountain region of the U.S. at six months. That region also had the shortest amount of days from building permit to when construction started at an average of 15 days.

Source: "How Long Does It Take to Build a Single-Family Home?" National Association of Home Builders Eye on Housing (Aug. 17, 2015)

Posted by Yates Nobles on August 18th, 2015 2:51 PM

Home Prices Rise in Nearly All Metro Areas in Second Quarter

Media Contact: Adam DeSanctis / 202-383-1178 / Email

WASHINGTON (August 11, 2015) — A promising climb in home sales throughout the country amidst insufficient supply caused home prices to steadily rise in most metro areas during the second quarter, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors®.

The median existing single-family home price increased in 93 percent of measured markets1, with 163 out of 176 metropolitan statistical areas2 (MSAs) showing gains based on closings in the second quarter compared with the second quarter of 2014. Thirteen areas (7 percent) recorded lower median prices from a year earlier.

The number of rising markets in the second quarter increased compared to the first quarter, when price gains were recorded in 85 percent of metro areas. Thirty-four metro areas in the second quarter (19 percent) experienced double-digit increases, a decline from the 51 metro areas in the first quarter. Nineteen metro areas (11 percent) experienced double-digit increases in the second quarter of 2014.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the housing market has shifted into a higher gear in recent months. "Steady rent increases, the slow rise in mortgage rates and stronger local job markets fueled demand throughout most of the country this spring," he said. "While this led to a boost in sales paces not seen since before the downturn, overall supply failed to keep up and pushed prices higher in a majority of metro areas."

Adds Yun, "With home prices and rents continuing to rise and wages showing only modest growth, declining affordability remains a hurdle for renters considering homeownership — especially in higher-priced markets."

The national median existing single-family home price in the second quarter was $229,400, up 8.2 percent from the second quarter of 2014 ($212,000). The median price during the first quarter of this year increased 7.1 percent from a year earlier.

The five most expensive housing markets in the second quarter were the San Jose, Calif., metro area, where the median existing single-family price was $980,000; San Francisco, $841,600; Anaheim-Santa Ana, Calif., $685,700; Honolulu, $698,600; and San Diego, $547,800.

The five lowest-cost metro areas in the second quarter were Cumberland, Md., where the median single-family home price was $82,400; Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio, $85,000; Rockford, Ill., $94,700; Decatur, Ill., $96,000; and Elmira, N.Y., $98,300.

Total existing-home sales3, including single family and condo, increased 6.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.30 million in the second quarter from 4.97 million in the first quarter, and are 8.5 percent higher than the 4.89 million pace during the second quarter of 2014.

"The ongoing rise in home values in recent years has greatly benefited homeowners by increasing their household wealth," says Yun. "In the meantime, inequality is growing in America because the downward trend in the homeownership rate means these equity gains are going to fewer households."

At the end of the second quarter, there were 2.30 million existing homes available for sale4, slightly above the 2.29 million homes for sale at the end of the second quarter in 2014. The average supply during the second quarter was 5.1 months — down from 5.5 months a year ago.

Metro area condominium and cooperative prices — covering changes in 61 metro areas — showed the national median existing-condo price was $217,400 in the second quarter, up 3.1 percent from the second quarter of 2014 ($210,800). Fifty metro areas (82 percent) showed gains in their median condo price from a year ago; 11 areas had declines.

Rising home prices weighed on affordability in the second quarter compared to the second quarter of last year despite an uptick in the national family median income ($66,637)5. To purchase a single-family home at the national median price, a buyer making a 5 percent downpayment would need an income of $49,195, a 10 percent downpayment would require an income of $46,605, and $41,427 would be needed for a 20 percent downpayment.

NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark., says Realtors® are reporting strong competition and limited days on market for available homes — especially at the entry-level price range. "Buyers should work with their Realtor® to deploy a negotiation strategy that helps their offer stand out," he said. "If a bidding war occurs, it's important for the buyer to stay patient and only counteroffer up to what he or she can comfortably afford. It's better to walk away and wait for the right home instead of being in a situation where one has purchased a home above their means."

Regional Breakdown

Total existing-home sales in the Northeast increased 10.3 percent in the second quarter and are 8.6 percent above the second quarter of 2014. The median existing single-family home price in the Northeast was $269,300 in the second quarter, up 5.2 percent from a year ago.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales jumped 13.4 percent in the second quarter and are 12.7 percent higher than a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the Midwest increased 8.7 percent to $182,000 in the second quarter from the same quarter a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South fell rose 1.1 percent in the second quarter and are 6.3 percent above the second quarter of 2014. The median existing single-family home price in the South was $202,900 in the second quarter, 8.7 percent above a year earlier.

In the West, existing-home sales climbed 8.1 percent in the second quarter and are 8.1 percent above a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the West increased 9.6 percent to $325,200 in the second quarter from the second quarter of 2014.

The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

NOTE: NAR releases quarterly median single-family price data for approximately 170 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). In some cases the MSA prices may not coincide with data released by state and local Realtor® associations. Any discrepancy may be due to differences in geographic coverage, product mix, and timing. In the event of discrepancies, Realtors® are advised that for business purposes, local data from their association may be more relevant.

Data tables for MSA home prices (single family and condo) are posted at If insufficient data is reported for a MSA in particular quarter, it is listed as N/A..

5Income figures are rounded to the nearest hundred, based on NAR modeling of Census data. Qualifying income requirements are determined using several scenarios on downpayment percentages and assume 25 percent of gross income devoted to mortgage principal and interest at a mortgage interest rate of 4.0%
Posted by Yates Nobles on August 16th, 2015 4:19 PM
Charlottesville is committed to, and has become, not only walkable, but bicycle friendly.  The number of sidewalks and bike lanes continues to increase.  Home values in Charlottesville tend to be higher than those in Albemarle County, reflecting the value homebuyers put on not having to commute to work, schools and for entertainment. 

At present I have a listing that gives a blend between that country feel of privacy and total convenience for walking to UVA, to Barracks Rd shopping, and for the intrepid walker -- even to the downtown pedestrian mall.  Or go quickly everywhere in-town via an easy bike or car ride.   

I present this listing in my blog with bittersweet nostalgia, for this is my own home, from which I will downsize with great regret at leaving this cherished neighborhood.  Please take a look in case this is the right home for you and yours.  I have listed 1895 Westview below the tax assessment at $1,185,000.  The house provides income from a separate garage apartment, thus making it an even greater value:

1895 Westview Rd - Cville 22903

This classic Charlottesville home is located at the end of Westview, down a private lane.  The property consists of .93 acres that backs up to Meadow Creek, between Rugby Rd and Barracks Rd.  The main house has 2991 sq ft, including a total of 5 BR and 4 baths.  The ground floor has 3 BR and 2 BA, including a master suite, updated kitchen, LR, DR and enormous deck; the entire upstairs is a second master suite. At the terrace level - with separate entrance and patio  - there is a large LR/family room, office & bedroom, full kitchen and bath.  Over the 3-car garage there is a one-BR apt which provides rental income.  And not to forget: a lovely, shaded fenced area for the dogs/ children to play.  You can see the full listing and additional photos from my home page.  MLS # 531413
With thanks to CBS/Money Watch, here is a reprint of their recent article on the increasing value of in-town, walkable property:

What homebuyers want now: Walkable neighborhoods

Everyone knows the three main rules when it comes to real estate: location, location, location. But analysts say that old adage needs a new word for the selling points that make homes valuable to consumers: "walkability." That's for living in walkable areas.

According to City Observatory, a Portland, Oregon-based website that analyzes urban regions and policy issues, growing demand for housing in walkable neighborhoods has ignited the resurgence of cities across the U.S.

"One of the best sources of evidence of the value of walkability is home values," the site said in a recent commentary, "and some new evidence confirms that walkability adds to home values, and also shows that walkable homes have held and increased their value more even in turbulent real estate markets."

Several factors are behind this shift for demand to urban areas. America's decades-long love affair with cars, and especially with commuting from suburban to urban centers, has cooled off. And analysts suggest that younger workers want to save the time and money their parents previously spent on automobiles by living in areas where they have ready access to shopping, entertainment and public transportation.

This trend has been underway for some time now. A 2013 Community Preference Survey by the National Association of Realtors found that 57 percent of respondents would prefer houses with smaller yards and shorter commutes to work, while 55 percent said they'd go with the house/smaller yard equation if it meant and "an easy walk to schools, stores and restaurants."

The overall economy is another consideration. The Brookings Institution reports that as of last year, only 60 percent of the world's metropolitan areas had recovered to their prerecession levels of employment and per-capita GDP. And that economic uncertainty is making city life more attractive to many workers who also have to deal with a very competitive job market.

"In today's environment, the association between job growth and smart growth is coming more and more into focus," reporter Brad Broberg wrote on the National Association of Realtors website.

"Where you find the features of smart growth -- walkability, access to transit, a mix of uses, compact development -- you often find job growth," he continued. "The opposite is also true. How communities respond to the choices and opportunities created by this dynamic can make a big difference in their ability to compete in a new and challenging economy."

Posted in:General
Posted by Yates Nobles on July 23rd, 2015 4:05 PM

Report: 90% of Properties Now Have Equity

As home prices rise, more home owners are regaining equity. During the first quarter of this year, about 254,000 properties regained equity, according to CoreLogic’s latest equity report. That now brings the total number of residential properties with a mortgage that have equity to about 44.9 million – or 90 percent – by the end of the first quarter.

5 States With Highest Negative Equity

Five states alone accounted for 31 percent of negative equity in the U.S., according to the report. Those states with the highest percentage of properties with a mortgage in the negative equity position in the first quarter are:

  1. Nevada: 23.1%
  2. Florida: 21.2%
  3. Illinois: 16.8%
  4. Arizona: 16.8%
  5. Rhode Island: 15.7%

Source: CoreLogic

“About 90 percent of home owners now have housing equity and, as a result, have experienced an increase in wealth, which can spur additional consumption and investment expenditures,” says Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “The remaining 10 percent of owners with negative equity will find their home value rising while they continue to pay down principal on their amortizing mortgage loan.” 

The still elevated number of home owners who have negative equity remains a concern, however. The number of negative equity households stood at 5.1 million, or 10.2 percent of all properties with a mortgage in the first quarter of this year, according to CoreLogic’s report. That represents a slight drop from 5.4 million homes, or 10.8 percent, that had negative equity in the fourth quarter of 2014.

“Many home owners are emerging from the negative equity trap, which bodes well for a continued recovery in the housing market,” says Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “With the economy improving and home owners building equity, albeit slowly, the potential exists for an increase in housing stock available for sale, which would ease the current imbalance in supply and demand. There are still about 5 million home owners who are underwater and we estimate that a further 5 percent appreciation in home values across the U.S. would reduce the number of owners with negative equity by about one million.”

The following states had the highest percentage of properties in the positive equity territory by the end of the first quarter:

  • Texas: 97.7%
  • Hawaii: 96.9%
  • Alaska: 96.8%
  • Montana: 96.8%
  • North Dakota: 96.2%

In general, the majority of positive equity properties are centered at the high end of the housing market, according to the report. For example, 94 percent of homes valued at greater than $200,000 have equity, compared with 85 percent of homes valued at less than $200,000.

Source: CoreLogic

Posted by Yates Nobles on June 20th, 2015 6:50 PM
Thanks to Nancy Shonka Padberg and the website:  for this news. ( I have updated the tax rates and commented on a local hospital.)

Charlottesville, home to the University of Virginia, is a college town with a growing appeal to retirees fleeing the congested, high-priced suburbs of northern Virginia and the Northeast. Baby boomers from Washington, Philadelphia, New York and other big cities seem delighted to find this central Virginia combination of livability, affordability and sophistication.

The four-season climate in Charlottesville is inviting to many retirees. In one survey of weather professionals, the American Association of State Climatologists, Charlottesville rated behind only Asheville, NC, as having the “most desirable climate in the Eastern United States.”

Nearby are mountains to climb, slopes to explore, golf courses to conquer and lakes to fish. A good number retirees who relocate to Charlottesville say the presence of the University of Virginia was what first attracted them to the area. Retirees say the cultural activities, bookstores, sports and youthful sense of intellectual curiosity that accompany campus life are, for them, the most important aspects of a university town. For example, Charlottesville has more than twenty-two bookstores, and the University of Virginia has 14 libraries with more than 4.5 million volumes. UVa has an active drama department, and there are several community theater groups in the area.

The Medical Center has been rated one of the top 100 hospitals in the United States by BOA-Sachs, a health-care information research firm, and the Health Network, a health-oriented cable television network. It has specialty treatment centers for heart disease, cancer, digestive and neurological disorders and other health problems. Also in Charlottesville is Martha Jefferson Hospital, a well-regarded, 200-bed private hospital.

Having moved to a college town, many retirees find they develop a new interest in college sports, especially less-well-known sports. Football and men’s basketball are the big-time sports at UVA, and the Cavaliers ? or Wahoos or ‘Hoos, ? have had nationally ranked teams.

Retirees who want to stay active find a lot to do at the Senior Center, a nonprofit community organization open to anyone age 50 or over. The Senior Center, in its own modern building, has more than 90 groups and activities such as investment clubs, lecture series, arts and crafts groups, fitness classes and computer classes, according to executive director Peter Thompson. A travel program through the center offers day trips to Washington, DC, for $30 per guest: as well as other travel opportunities.

You will also find homes of presidents James Madison and James Monroe, both open to visitors. Several museums in the area focus the history of Virginia, and the Civil battlefields of Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg are within easy driving distance.

Charlottesville is not for those seeking a consistently warm climate, however. The area gets an average of about two feet of snow a year, and snow skiing is a winter sport at ‘Wintergreen and other ski areas in the mountains just to the west of Charlottesville. Summers can be warm, with temperatures hitting the 90s Humidity, while much higher than in dry ‘Western states, is lower in the Shenandoah Valley area than in roost of the rest of the East Coast except parts of New England. The growing season extends to 200 days or more, making it an ideal climate for gardening.

Although Charlottesville itself is in Virginia’s Piedmont Plateau at an elevation of just 480 feet, it is within shouting distance of some of the East’s most beautiful mountain scenery in the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains.

Those relocating to Charlottesville have a variety of options for housing, from moderately priced downtown condos catering to retirees to gated golf communities to horse farms, going for a million dollars and up.

One drawback, or advantage, depending on your point of view, about Albemarle County is that a significant part of the land is tied up in large family owned farms and estates, some of several thousand acres. This keeps the area looking rural in the Jeffersonian gentleman farmer tradition, but it means that land is expensive. In Charlottesville, buildable lots can cost $110,000 to $160,000 or more. The Jefferson Highway area, for example, has been called the area’s Millionaire’s Row. This is fox hunt country, and working horse farms and estates line the road.

But the Charlottesville area has many middle-class communities as well. For example, Forest Lakes is a planned community of townhomes and single-family homes north of town, with prices starting at around $200.000. Land and housing generally are cheaper in surrounding counties including Fluvanna to the southeast and Greene to the north. Parts of both counties are less than a half-hour commute from Charlottesville.

  • Population: About 39,500 in Charottesville and 88,400 in Albemarle County.
  • Cost of Living: Above average.
  • Rain: 47 inches
  • Snow: 24 inches
  • January High: 44 - January Low: 26
  • July High: 86 - July Low: 65

    Sales Tax

5% (4% state and 14 local) Sales tax exemptions: Prescription and non-prescription medicine, some medical equipment utilities and most services. Reduced sales tax rate on groceries.

Income Tax

For married couples filing jointly and single filers, the rate is graduated from 2% of taxable income up to $3,000 to 5.75% on amounts over $17,000.

Income Exemptions

Social Security benefits are exempt. There is a $12,000 deduction per person for residents 65 or older. However, the deduction is reduced dollar for dollar if the adjusted federal gross income exceeds $50,000 for single filers and $75,000 for married couples. There is no deduction for singles with incomes above $62,000 and couples with incomes above $87,000.

Estate Tax

On estates over $2 million, Virginia imposes a “pick-up tax” portion of the federal tax. The Virginia estate tax has been repealed for deaths after July 1, 2007.

Property Tax

Albemarle County property taxes are $.819 per $1,000 of assessed value. Charlottesville residents pay $.95 per $1,000 of assessed value. Homes are assessed at I00% (often less recently) of market value. Estimated tax on a $328,000 home in  Charlottesville, would be about $3,401 per year.  Personal property taxes are assessed on automobiles - other vehicles; the rate is $4.20 per $100 of valuation (4.2%).

Homestead Exemption

Low-income persons 65 and older may qualify reductions in property tax rates.


The metropolitan area is to more than 200 churches and synagogues representing most religions denominations, including Buddy Greek Orthodox and Mennonite.


Retirees can take courses at the University of Virginia or at Pied Virginia Community College. Virginias Citizen Scholar Program allows residents age 60 and older who have lived in Virginia at least one year to audit credit courses or enroll in noncredit courses a space available basis, at no charge. Participants may attend any of Virginal gel institutions of higher learning, including Piedmont Virginia Community Code/ and the University of Virginia through Division of Continuing Education. Credit classes also are free for those with incomes of $15,000 or less; for others, tuition for credit courses at UVA is $242 per credit hour, but may very by class.


The University of Virginia Medical Center, a 552-bed regional acute-care research and teaching hospital, has been rated among the top hospitals in the Country Martha Jefferson is a private 200-bed acute-care hospital that has won a national award for its design and is appreciated in the community for excellent patient care.

Posted by Yates Nobles on June 17th, 2015 1:37 PM
photo of fleurie restaurant
$ $ $ $
French | Charlottesville

A touch of French, a dash of farm fresh, and the creativity of a young energetic chef are what makes this place special. This is what Charlottesville has to offer right off the pedestrian path. Romantic and special and a staff that has the best descriptions of the food your will ever find.

Newmenu – 05/29/2015
photo of the ivy inn restaurant restaurant
The Ivy Inn Restaurant
$ $ $ $
Contemporary American | Charlottesville

Great food in an old homestead with a well thought out wine list. I will be back to this restaurant

OpenTable Diner – 05/19/2015
photo of restaurant pomme restaurant
Restaurant Pomme
$ $ $ $
French | Gordonsville

I believe I've been going to Pomme for about 8 years. It is a favorite and always a treat. The menu offerings always pose the problem of what to have -- everything looks so good. And the meals are consistently delicious. The service is wonderful and allows for a leisurely brunch, lunch, or dinner in a delightful but casual atmosphere.

Debra – 05/24/2015
photo of zocalo restaurant
$ $ $ $
Latin American | Charlottesville

We've been here 3 times and have enjoyed the gracious hospitality of the staff, and the consistent quality and imaginativeness of the food and cocktails. The inside can get a tad loud, but not annoyingly so; frankly it adds to the vibrancy of the bar area. For a more quiet experience, you can dine outside on the mall and people-watch too. Zocalo is a consistent outperformer, and I recommend it highly.

Virginian – 05/10/2015
photo of ten restaurant
$ $ $ $
Japanese | Charlottesville

Was in town for my son's graduation. Was able to get a reservation last minute. Sushi was excellent! Our waiter was very good. Would definitely go back.

Diningduo86 – 05/16/2015
photo of fossett's restaurant
$ $ $ $
American | Charlottesville

The service at Fossett's makes you feel so welcoming. They make sure not to rush you. We came here for graduation weekend and they made sure to cater to us. Their recommendation on wine fit perfectly with our seafood. At first we were unsure since its a much nicer place and we are a young couple, but in the end they make you feel so welcome. Never did they treat us any differently due to our age or made us feel out of place.

Foodie – 05/15/2015
photo of downtown grille restaurant
Downtown Grille
$ $ $ $
Steakhouse | Charlottesville

Three of us celebrated a birthday, and the Downtowne Grille made our celebration one to remember for years. It was simply outstanding.

Phil – 05/11/2015
photo of public fish & oyster restaurant
Public Fish & Oyster
$ $ $ $
Seafood | Charlottesville

If you love oysters, this is the place. Delicious! Great service in an elegant but relaxed environment. We have already shared our experience with others. We will be back!!

Nana437 – 05/30/2015
photo of old mill room @ the boar's head restaurant
Old Mill Room @ The Boar's Head
$ $ $ $
Contemporary American | Charlottesville

The Boar's Head is a high-end restaurant in the "nice side" of Charlottesville, VA (where other quality restaurants can be found). The night we went was a special time -- my wife's birthday -- and they did not disappoint. The ambiance was nice; a 1800s theme, with beautiful flowers, etc. It was busy, but quiet. The food was outstanding (we had a group of six that had everything from meat to fish, and all entrees were terrific). The service was a bit "meh" -- seldom did the waitress ask how we were doing, whether we liked the food, or if we needed anything else. It wasn't a large oversight, because everything was fine, and, frankly, having a little less attention is sometimes better than having too much! The cost is certainly high-end (approx. $500 for the six of us, including two bottles of $40 wine), but overall worth the price. We would return!

Doug – 05/20/2015
photo of oakhart social restaurant
Oakhart Social
$ $ $ $
Contemporary American | Charlottesville
Posted by Yates Nobles on June 9th, 2015 4:13 PM
Can't believe I missed posting this earlier!  This comes from: 

Travelers Today       By    Will Walker

Updated: Jun 30, 2014 10:50 AM ED

There are a lot of great things that go into making a good college. There's the academic quality, the level of school spirit, the vibrancy of nightlife, and, of course, the aesthetic beauty of the campus. But one factor that often gets overlooked (but shouldn't) is the vibe given off by the local college town.

Indeed, especially for small or remote schools, having a good town to go into can make or break your college experience, affecting whether and how often you leave campus and meet people from the "real world." For that reason, we have listed, below, the 5 best college towns in the country, places that strike that perfect balance between fun, safety, and a chill, adolescent atmosphere.

Share This Story


5. Ann Arbor, Michigan

 Home of the University of Michigan, one of the largest and best colleges in the country, Ann Arbor certainly has a lot to live up to if it wants to meet the high expectations set by its resident school. Luckily, Ann Arbor's just a nice enough place to meet and exceed that bar. Indeed, the combo of small-town simplicity with large-town facilities allows Ann Arbor to do it all, making its student-residents feel happy and safe without also feeling bored.


4. Ithaca, New York

Home of Cornell University and Ithaca College, this small city is one of the most beautiful in the country. Built in the middle of grassy hills and valleys, Ithaca is famous for its waterfalls, with literally dozens within walking distance from town. The city also has some of the best boutique shops, wineries, and hipster restaurants in the country, making it the perfect place for most college students to hang out on a Thursday evening, or procrastinate on a Sunday afternoon.


3. Boulder, Colorado 

If you know anything about Boulder, it's that it's a fun place to be. From the weather (literally 80% sunny skies), to the shops (almost all locally-owned and full of character), to the very layout of the city (eminently bikeable), Boulder seems like it was designed by and for college students. And if that didn't sell you, did we mention it's located in the middle of one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world? In other words, no matter what you're looking for, Boulder is sure to have it in spades.


2. Burlington, Vermont 

Home to UVM and Ben & Jerry's, Burlington is the place to live if you're a hippy born two generations too late. Indeed, from their new artisanal food movement to the huge amount of live music funneling through the city (especially impressive given its size and relative isolation), Burlington has opportunities and resources that rival the hipster Meccas of Portland and Seattle. The only difference is, Burlington is also small enough to be manageable on a bike or by foot, making it just that more appealing to young, unemployed college students.


1. Charlottesville, Virginia

However, the number one spot is reserved for a more Southern town. Indeed, Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia, does the best job of any city on the list of combining traditional metropolitan interests with the interests of the students who frequent it. The result is a harmonious whole, balancing the resources of an urban area with the desires of the students who live there. From the historical aura of Monticello, to the entertainment provided in the famous (and recently redecorated) Paramount theater, Charlottesville has it all, a place any college student would be proud to call home. Which is why we at Traveler's Today have listed it as the best college town in America. 

Posted by Yates Nobles on April 11th, 2015 8:17 PM

Why Age 61 Is Important to Real Estate

By age 61, the majority of people feel free to choose where they most want to live, according to a new study by Merrill Lynch, "Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices."

"Throughout most of people's lives, where they live is determined by their responsibilities," according to the report. "Most careers demand that people live within a reasonable commuting distance from where they and/or their spouse work. However, as people enter their 50s and 60s, they begin to cross what this study reveals to be the 'Freedom Threshold.'" That’s the age when people say they can finally choose where they want to live, according to the survey of more than 3,600 retirees.

Read more: Baby Boomers to Face Serious Housing Crunch

Indeed, two-thirds of the retirees surveyed say they are now living in the best home of their lives.

Most retirees move at least once during retirement. But surprisingly, only half choose to downsize into a smaller home. Three in ten of retirees decide to upsize into a larger home.  The top reason to upsize: They want to have a home that's comfortable enough for family members to visit and stay with them, according to the survey.

"Retirees often find their homes become places for family to come together and reconnect, particularly during holidays or summer vacations," according to the report. Some choose to upsize so that family members can live with them too.

Retirees say the ideal place allows spending time with others their own age yet they also seek to be around those of diverse ages. Compared to younger people, older Americans are far more likely to want diversity in age and generation among their communities and neighbors. As such, just 7 percent of retirees surveyed have opted to move into age-restricted retirement communities.

Source: "Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices," Merrill Lynch

Posted by Yates Nobles on March 19th, 2015 3:06 PM

Mortgage Lenders Say Credit Is Easing

More lenders expect mortgage demand and profit margins to increase over the next three months, according to Fannie Mae's first quarter 2015 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey.

Opening the Credit Box

3% Down Payments May Be Game Changer

Smaller Down Payments Lure More Buyers

FHA Lowers Mortgage Costs

More lenders say the credit tightening is softening, according to the survey. Seventy-one percent of lenders surveyed about government-sponsored enterprise purchase loans say they expect purchase mortgage demand to rise over the next three months. That’s a notable increase from last year, when 59 percent of lenders were optimistic about an increase.

What’s more, 41 percent of lenders report they expect their profit margins to rise, compared to only 21 percent who were upbeat about their profits last year.

"These results are consistent with our view that an improving economy, strengthening employment, and increasing consumer confidence should support a modest housing expansion in 2015, after an uneven and disappointing year for housing activity in 2014," says Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist.

The message seems to be getting out to consumers too. Fannie Mae’s recent National Housing Survey, a poll of around 1,000 Americans, showed that 54 percent of consumers say that they believe getting a mortgage is now easy – a survey high.

Source: Fannie Mae

Posted by Yates Nobles on March 19th, 2015 2:59 PM
Overall property values rise in city, though most owners won’t see larger bills
by Brian Wheeler | Friday, January 30, 2015 at 8:49 p.m.
The overall value of taxable property in the city of Charlottesville has risen for the third year in a row.

The City Assessor’s Office released annual reassessment figures Friday that show the total value of taxable property in the city, including new construction, increased by 2.78 percent.

However when the calendar year 2015 reassessment notices are mailed Saturday, almost three-fourths of recipients will see that their property value stayed the same or declined in value. Twenty-seven percent of the city’s 13,134 taxable parcels increased in value.

Existing residential property increased by 1.78 percent while existing commercial property increased 2.33 percent. The value of new construction pushed the overall total higher.

This is the second year of increased values for residential properties, which had been on the decline during 2009 to 2013. Last year residential property values increased by 2.51 percent.

Commercial properties have climbed in value each year since 2012, helping to boost the value of the overall tax base for each of the past three years.

The real estate tax rate is 95 cents per $100 of assessed value, an amount expected to remain the same in the fiscal year 2016 city budget. The City Council was informed at a December budget work session that reassessments might increase by only 1.5 percent.

Virginia law requires cities to conduct annual reassessments.

Charlottesville’s commissioner of revenue, Todd Divers, is encouraging eligible residents who need financial assistance to apply for the city’s real estate tax relief program.

“We are taking applications through March 2 and then we will begin accepting rent relief applications until May 1,” Divers said. “It is easy to apply and just requires a resident to bring in financial documentation. People can call our office for more information.”

The tax relief program assists property owners age 65 and older with an annual income of $50,000 or less and a net worth of $125,000 or less excluding their home and up to 10 acres of land. Persons under age 65 who are permanently or totally disabled also might be eligible.

Information about other affordability programs is available by calling the commissioner of revenue’s office at 970-3160 or visiting

“Property owners who have not received a notice by Feb. 6 or who have questions are encouraged to call the assessor’s office,” city spokeswoman Miriam Dicker said in a news release. “Property owners wishing to discuss their assessments for 2015 must do so by March 2 to be eligible for a review for 2015.”
Posted by Yates Nobles on February 2nd, 2015 1:56 PM
Note from Yates:
The article below is a reprint thanks to Charlottesville Tomorrow.  For those of you who care about Charlottesville, please google Charlottesville Tomorrow and add your name to their email mailing list!

One thing I love about Charlottesville is how international it is.  I am happy to learn about the progress our refugee children are making, thanks to their ESOL teachers and both city and Albemarle Co schools.

Charlottesville, Albemarle schools embrace refugee students
by Michelle Delgado | Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at 12:21 p.m.

Just before the morning bell silences homeroom classes at Charlottesville High School, 31 different languages buzz in the air. In neighboring Albemarle County, a homeroom might burst with any of the 79 languages spoken in the public schools.

But these aren’t the voices of students learning French or Spanish for graduation credit. They are the voices of students for whom English is a second language, and for whom Charlottesville is a safe haven from the suffering they faced in their home countries.

“We’re so fortunate that Charlottesville is a welcoming community for refugees,” said Harriet Kuhr, executive director of the International Rescue Committee. “Refugees fleeing from persecution find this to be a safe and comfortable place to live and raise their families.”


Located in downtown Charlottesville, the International Rescue Committee has made the city one of 22 in the nation to receive refugees from countries as diverse as Bhutan, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Colombia.  As a result, both local school divisions have a significant refugee population supported by specialized English language programs.

The IRC works in 40 countries to resettle people who have been displaced by violence or disaster. Additionally, the IRC works to help refugees find mental health and medical support. Locally, this means working with refugees to place them in homes, jobs and schools.

In Albemarle, the IRC has placed newly arrived refugees in the University Heights apartment complex, which is just across the County line but with access to public transportation into Charlottesville.

“We have to place newly arrived refugees on the bus lines, so we don’t go too far into the County,” Kuhr said, adding that they want to diversify the housing opportunities.

Apartments along Angus Road, Hydraulic Road, and Commonwealth Drive have also seen a boost in refugee occupants. Kuhr said that residents in those areas have typically spent the past year or more in the United States.

While Kuhr and the IRC focus on welcoming the residents and connecting them to their new communities, the school division's take on the responsibility of educating the families’ children for the rest of their academic careers.
“From our point of view, we really focus on people when they first come,” Kuhr said. “For schools, they’re accumulating and keeping people for five or six years.”

Impact on the Schools

The IRC and the school systems work together to support students as they are immersed in American culture and the English language.

In the past 10 years, the number of refugee students in Charlottesville’s schools has grown to a total of about 200 students in the last school year.

“[Forty-seven] percent of our ESL population are refugees,” said Beverly Catlin, Charlottesville’s ESL program director.

“They come in with great enthusiasm and significant challenges depending on how much education they've received from their country of origin, how long they've been in a refugee camp and the trauma that they may have experienced,” Catlin added.

The refugee population in Albemarle schools is smaller, about 114 students, but still a significant group. County schools have enrolled 90 new students in the past two years. Refugee students make up about 13 percent of the county’s English language learners.

In both the City and the County, English language learners are simultaneously integrated into the student body and given support in smaller, ESL-only settings designed to help students acclimate to life in the United States.

“When students come in and speak no English at the high school level, typically about half their day will be in an ESL class with an ESL teacher and other ESL students focused specifically on learning English,” said Russell Carlock, Albemarle’s international and ESOL program coordinator.

“The other half of the day is going to be in electives,” Carlock added. “They have an opportunity to participate fully, and then also create those social relationships with the native English speakers that are important to feeling a part of the school.”

In both County and City schools, students move fluidly between specialized ESL classes and traditional classes such as homeroom, physical education, art and other electives.

“In general, the younger the child, the better they do,” Kuhr said. Students who have more time to progress through the English Language Proficiency (ELP) levels before high school graduation experience the full scope of the English language learner programs.

“The one issue that we always struggle with is what to do with older kids who come with a big educational deficit,” Kuhr said, citing cases of interrupted schooling that may place a student behind grade level.

However, Carlock said that age is not necessarily a definitive predictor of success, noting that as students progress with English, they start to spend more time in mainstream classes earning graduation credits.

“This happens at the high school and middle school level extremely quickly,” Carlock said. “Kids work extremely hard in order to meet the same graduation requirements that all other students in the state of Virginia are expected to meet, but then also learn a second language on top of that.”

Standardizing a non-traditional experience

All students enrolled in Virginia’s public schools are held to the Standards of Learning. This means that like traditional students, English language learners are also required to take the SOL exams.

While the SOLs cannot be given through an interpreter, English language learners may be able to take modified exams, such as a plain English version of the math SOL test.

“On a case by case basis, we determine the accommodations that are available,” said Catlin, citing English proficiency and time spent in the United States as possible reasons for accommodation.

Still, Catlin emphasized that accommodations were an exception rather than the rule.

In addition to state SOL tests, Virginia is one of 33 states that requires an annual English language learner’s assessment known as ACCESS for ELLs.

The exam divides K-12 students into five clusters based on grade level, testing their knowledge of social and academic English language. Test scores are used to place students into the five language proficiency levels.

Students are expected to advance one level for each year spent in American schools, which becomes challenging if a high school student is placed at a low level of proficiency.

In 2013, 47 percent of Charlottesville’s students placed into the beginner level (English Language Proficiency levels 1-2). Forty-four percent scored in the intermediate level (ELP levels 3-4), and only 9 percent registered as advanced (ELP level 5).

English language learners in Albemarle schools achieved similar results last year. Forty-four percent of students placed into the beginner level, 48 percent scored in the intermediate level and 8 percent were identified as advanced.

At the lowest proficiency levels, English is very basic, and depending on a student’s country of origin, he or she may also need to be taught the Latin alphabet.

“You can’t just put a textbook in their hands,” Catlin said.

The highest proficiency level indicates that a student is nearly at grade level and is expected to reach proficiency within the next year.


English language proficiency is not the only measure of success. Refugee students often need support to adjust to a new culture with unfamiliar foods and customs.

“It's not just about teaching the academics,” Catlin said. ”It’s about connecting with the family, the culture of the community and the IRC, and trying to create a network of support for the student.”

In the City, Catlin explained that ESL teachers work in classrooms where students speak different languages from each other and the teacher, but learning English gets everyone on the same page.

“The only common misconception is the sense that we have to be able to speak all of their languages in order to teach them,” Catlin said.

In the County, newcomer students may have spent part of this summer in programs designed to help them acclimate to life in the Charlottesville area.

“We have a pretty good program that gets them out in the community,” Carlock said. “They're not only learning English, but also learning about Albemarle County and Charlottesville and the history of the community.”

The IRC’s Kuhr also said that despite a high value placed on education, expectations of parental involvement may be higher in the American school system as compared to other countries.

“We orient the parents so that they have a continuing role and know what’s going on in the schools,” Kuhr said.

Life Stories

In Albemarle, Carlock has seen refugees overcome many obstacles to achieve fluency and acclimation.

“I was really struck with the stories of resiliency and determination of my students, who were often teenagers but who had experienced more of life than I had as a student fresh out of graduate school,” said Carlock, remembering his first years teaching English language learners a decade ago.

“Their stories have been extremely powerful and oftentimes heartbreaking,” Carlock added.

Despite the challenges refugee students face, Carlock characterizes them as highly motivated to learn, with families who place a high value on educational opportunities available in the United States.

“Some of our greatest success stories are in the ESOL programs,” Carlock said. “We have refugee students who have come from very difficult backgrounds and circumstances, sometimes with interrupted schooling, and have learned English extremely quickly and graduated and gone on to PVCC and then gone on to [the University of Virginia].”

On the whole, Kuhr praises both school systems’ efforts.

“The best part is when we see children who first came to this country as refugees graduate from high school, prepared to start their own lives as Americans,” Kuhr said.


Posted in:General
Posted by Yates Nobles on September 10th, 2014 12:09 PM
Solar power for homes is easier and more affordable than ever July through September 2014, thanks to Solarize Charlottesville, a grassroots, community-based outreach initiative sponsored by the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) in partnership with the City of Charlottesville, Albemarle Co, and the UVA Community Credit Union.

Solarize Charlottesville is a one-stop-shop for community members to learn more about solar power options for their homes and facilitate the installation and financing of their own project.  Through bulk purchasing and free solar site assessments, Solarize Charlottesville puts solar within reach.  Visit
Posted in:General
Posted by Yates Nobles on August 8th, 2014 3:59 PM
Listings Photo
"Les Charrettes"

Salviac, 46340

Beds: 8 Rooms: 0
Full Baths: 8 Sq. Ft.: 5810
Garage: 2 Built: 0

Dream home and guest house in France, beside Dordogne, offers income potential
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Yates Nobles, GRI, SRS, ABR, E-PRO, GREEN - Associate Broker, Montague, Miller & Co. - Downtown

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Posted in:General
Posted by Yates Nobles on August 4th, 2014 12:39 AM
Reprint from Daily Progress - 7/24/2014

Pursuing happiness?   Study says it's in Charlottesville by Bryan McKenzie

Don't worry.  Move to Charlotttesville and be happy.

A study by the US National Bureau of Economic Research on America's unhappy cities noted that the happiest place to seek bliss is right in the heart of Central Virginia.

The survey questioned people across the country about how happy and content they were and inquired how satisfied they were with their lives. 

Of course, it' easy to be happy living in a town that has been named the best town for food lovers by Wine Magazine, best college town in the country by Traveler's Today; most exciting place in Virginia by Movoto; one of the top five destinations in the country by Luxury Travel; one of the country's favorite mountain towns by Travel & Leisure; one of the happiest and healthiest by Business Inside; and the second most friendly small city, again by Movoto.

The most recent study, while rating Charlottesville tops in happiness, noted that individuals seemed more than willing to trade that happiness for a better income and lower cost of living.

"Our research indicates that people care about more than happiness alone, so other actors may encourage them to stay in a city despite their unhappinvess," said Joshua Gottlieb, the study's co-author and a professor at the University of British Columbia's Vancouver School of Economics.

"Differences in happiness and subjective well-being across space weakly support the view that the desires for happiness and life satisfaction do not uniquely drive human ambitions," the study states.  "if we choose only that which maximized our happiness then individuals would presumably move to happier places until the point where rising rents and congestion eliminate the joys of that locale."

The study offered an alternative view that "humans are quite understandably willing to sacrifice both happiness and life satisfaction if the price is right."

Indeed, the residents of unhappier metropolitan areas today do receive higher real wages - presumably as compensation for their misery," the study states.

Charlottesville topped such happy places as Rochesster, MN; Lafayette, IN; Naples, FL; Flagstaff, AZ; Corpus Christi, TX; and Provo, UT.

Richmond-Petersburg and Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News placed first and second for happiness in metropolitan areas with more than 1 million population.

Posted in:General
Posted by Yates Nobles on July 24th, 2014 11:11 AM

Top 5 College Towns in the Country

Travelers Today       By    Will Walker

Updated: Jun 30, 2014 10:50 AM EDT

Text Size: A A A9 Comments

Charlottesville, Virginia in the Winter
(Photo : Bob Mical on Flickr)

There are a lot of great things that go into making a good college. There's the academic quality, the level of school spirit, the vibrancy of nightlife, and, of course, the aesthetic beauty of the campus. But one factor that often gets overlooked (but shouldn't) is the vibe given off by the local college town.

Indeed, especially for small or remote schools, having a good town to go into can make or break your college experience, affecting whether and how often you leave campus and meet people from the "real world." For that reason, we have listed, below, the 5 best college towns in the country, places that strike that perfect balance between fun, safety, and a chill, adolescent atmosphere.


5. Ann Arbor, Michigan

 Home of the University of Michigan, one of the largest and best colleges in the country, Ann Arbor certainly has a lot to live up to if it wants to meet the high expectations set by its resident school. Luckily, Ann Arbor's just a nice enough place to meet and exceed that bar. Indeed, the combo of small-town simplicity with large-town facilities allows Ann Arbor to do it all, making its student-residents feel happy and safe without also feeling bored.

4. Ithaca, New York

Home of Cornell University and Ithaca College, this small city is one of the most beautiful in the country. Built in the middle of grassy hills and valleys, Ithaca is famous for its waterfalls, with literally dozens within walking distance from town. The city also has some of the best boutique shops, wineries, and hipster restaurants in the country, making it the perfect place for most college students to hang out on a Thursday evening, or procrastinate on a Sunday afternoon.


3. Boulder, Colorado 

If you know anything about Boulder, it's that it's a fun place to be. From the weather (literally 80% sunny skies), to the shops (almost all locally-owned and full of character), to the very layout of the city (eminently bikeable), Boulder seems like it was designed by and for college students. And if that didn't sell you, did we mention it's located in the middle of one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world? In other words, no matter what you're looking for, Boulder is sure to have it in spades.


2. Burlington, Vermont 

Home to UVM and Ben & Jerry's, Burlington is the place to live if you're a hippy born two generations too late. Indeed, from there new artisanal food movement to the huge amount of live music funneling through the city (especially impressive given its size and relative isolation), Burlington has opportunities and resources that rival the hipster Meccas of Portland and Seattle. The only difference is, Burlington is also small enough to be manageable on a bike or by foot, making it just that more appealing to young, unemployed college students.


1. Charlottesville, Virginia

However, the number one spot is reserved for a more Southern town. Indeed, Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia, does the best job of any city on the list of combining traditional metropolitan interests with the interests of the students who frequent it. The result is a harmonious whole, balancing the resources of an urban area with the desires of the students who live there. From the historical aura of Monticello, to the entertainment provided in the famous (and recently redecorated) Paramount theater, Charlottesville has it all, a place any college student would be proud to call home. Which is why we at Traveler's Today have listed it as the best college town in America. 

Posted in:General
Posted by Yates Nobles on July 10th, 2014 1:30 AM
Is it too late to list a home for sale in 2014 with a good chance of sale?

The commonplace assumption for listing a home for sale is to time listing with the advent of Spring.  Indeed spring is a favorable time for listing a home due to the beginning of better weather and to coordinate with buyers who are tied to the school year, wanting to resettle before fall.

There are downsides and upsides to any season.  In spring, because so many homes are listed in spring, the market becomes flooded with inventory and competition for buyers is higher.  The number of simultaneous open houses is also high which makes any specific open house advertising less noticeable.  Agents are their busiest during spring and may therefore be less available to give focused and sustained attention to each listing.

Listing a home later in the year has its  own drawbacks, but also several advantages.  The inventory of houses available for sale reduces by summer and fall, which gives more visibility to homes that are listed in this later time frame. 

Homes that have not sold on the spring market may give the perception of being less desirable because they have not sold quickly, e.g. the unsold listings are often perceived as having become "stale."  As days on the market increase, the likelihood that any offer received on this home will be a low offers increases, because buyers assume that these sellers are increasingly anxious to sell.  Homes listed later in the year enjoy the benefit of being "fresh" and appearing when there are less choices for sale.

Although there may be fewer buyers looking at homes during late summer and in the fall, buyers who begin their quest for a home later in the year, even in winter, are generally more decisive buyers.  They generally are not "tire kickers."  They most likely have made a firm decision to move, and are ready to move forward on finding a new home.  These buyers tend to be self-selected serious buyers.  It only takes one!

Now that the pace of  real estate sales has accelerated as a major factor in the recovery from the economic downturn, potential buyers who were holding back from purchasing are moving forward.  These potential buyers are realizing that home prices are rising and that interest rates have begun the inevitable upward climb from historic lows.  Best of all, banks are beginning to ease their tightened guidelines for lending, so qualifying for a loan is becoming easier than during the recession.  These factors are giving potential buyers the confidence they need to take the plunge.

During the economic downturn many people who would have liked to buy were unable to do so due to tightened mortgage requirements.  So they either continued to rent or lost their homes and were obliged to rent.  As a consequence of supply and demand, rental prices have increased significantly, to the point where those now renting are beginning to realize that if they can obtain a mortgage, the mortgage payments may well be less expensive than renting.    And as all homeowners and those potential buyers with good advice know, money invested into home ownership gives the additional benefits of accruing an asset and providing tax deductions.

So no, it is not too late to move ahead with listing your home.  And yes, there are increasing numbers of buyers coming into the marketplace going forward because we still have pent-up demand.

Please contact me if you would like to discuss this further or have me do a market analysis for your home to help with pricing and listing your home for sale.  434-996-0888  -
Posted in:General
Posted by Yates Nobles on July 6th, 2014 7:04 PM

Preparation for Moving


Here is a checklist of tasks to take care of prior to moving:


  1. Decide whom you will retain as an attorney or closing agent and retain them as soon as you have a ratified contract, or before if the negotiation will be complex. If the negotiation will be complicated, have your attorney look over the final offer before ratifying and submitting it. Be sure to know what the attorney or closing agent’s fee will be.
  2. Shop for and obtain an “insurance binder” for your new home and request that it be delivered to your attorney or closing agent prior to closing because you will be responsible for home insurance beginning the day of closing. You probably will need to prepay six months to a year of the premium, but this cost can be rolled into closing costs.
  3. Schedule a time and date for the settlement appointment at your attorney or closing agent’s office, and notify your Realtor of this. Try not to schedule closing for a Friday or for the last day of the month.
  4. In advance of closing, discuss with your attorney what specific charges will be part of your closing costs.
  5. If you are obtaining a mortgage, ask your lender what closing costs can be rolled into the mortgage, to reduce the amount of cash you will need available at closing.
  6. Keep checking in with your lender until you have a firm letter of loan commitment on or before the deadline in your contract which specifies a date and time you have agreed to for loan commitment and therefore, removal of the financing contingency.
  7. Schedule a mover well in advance
  8. Schedule a “Pod” to be delivered to your present home if appropriate.
  9. Consider scheduling a housekeeper to clean out your new house before/during the move and to return to your former home to clean for the new occupants.
  10. Buy boxes for the belongings you want to pack yourself. Plastic boxes with secure one-piece tops from WalMart or other stores work well. Label where each box will go in the new home; for bedrooms and bathrooms, number them “master bedroom, bedroom #2, bedroom #3, etc). These same boxes can be used to organize your garage/attic storage areas after the move. Be sure to have a cooler(s) on hand to transport your refrigerated and frozen food the day of the move.
  11. Obtain a postal forwarding kit and request in advance that all mail be forwarded to the new address
  12. Inform the following of your new address and the date when the move will occur:
    • Bank(s)
    • Credit cards
    • Medical providers: doctors, dentists, therapists
    • Medical insurance company
    • Employers
    • Cell phone provider
    • Professional advisors: Financial advisor, accountant
    • Family
    • Friends (a just-moved email is appreciated by friends)


  13. Schedule a transfer of all utilities for the day of closing: so that your move will go smoothly:
    • Electric company
    • City gas and sewer
    • Internet
    • TV service
    • Telephone company
    • If moving to the county, retain a garbage service
  14. Consider/schedule ahead a friend, family member or nanny to assist with

    your children or pets the day of the move.

  15. Plan ahead for time off to obtain a certified check or to wire the money in advance for the amount of money your attorney or closing agent instructs you as necessary to close. If you are wiring money to the attorney’s account, try to do so the day before so that it will be received prior to your appointment. You should receive from him/her a HUD statement a few days to the day before closing, delineating the costs. If you have not been instructed on the amount to bring to settlement by the day before closing, be sure to call and find out so that you will be prepared.
  16. Be aware that many things can go wrong to delay closing, even when you are in the attorney or closing agent’s office. The delay is usually not more than one day (a reason not to have closing on Friday), but can take longer. So have a Plan B for where you will stay in case of this unpleasant eventuality. Many attorneys/closing agents do not allow you to have the keys and occupy the house until the transaction is recorded.
  17. 17. Pack. If you have children, let them help pack their own belongings and reassure them that everything will be put in their new room. Let them reserve a favorite toy, stuffed animal or book to keep with them in the car.
  18. Consider transporting your own valuables, and things you will need immediately:
    • Silver
    • Jewelry
    • Artwork
    • Food/snacks for children and dog
    • Toys, books for children
  19. Be alert and attentive when the movers unload your belongings. Orient them to the house, including the names of rooms as they relate to your labeled boxes. Direct them to put each piece off furniture and box in the room where you want it. Observe carefully that everything is unloaded and that nothing is missing or damaged.
  20. Unpack/set up the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom necessities first.
  21. Take care of yourself and your family with dinner (a good time to try a restaurant or order in?), showers and an early bedtime. Most of the unpacking can wait until tomorrow!

Disclaimer:  Hopefully, this list is helpful and as comprehensive as possible, although I do disclaim all liability for any inaccuracies or omissions.  Please let me know if you have suggestions for changes or additions.  Yates Nobles

Posted in:General
Posted by Yates Nobles on June 13th, 2014 5:23 PM

Note from Yates

One primary factor for the lowered number of home sales in March in the greater Charlottesville area was the spring snows!  Because our long, hard winter continued well into April, the next quarterly report may also be impacted by the weather...

Existing-Home Sales Remain Soft in March

Media Contact: Walter Molony / 202-383-1177 / Email

WASHINGTON (April 22, 2014) – Existing-home sales were essentially flat in March, while the growth in home prices moderated, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Sales gains in the Northeast and Midwest were offset by declines in the West and South.

Total existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, slipped 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million in March from 4.60 million in February, and are 7.5 percent below the 4.96 million-unit pace in March 2013. Last month’s sales volume remained the slowest since July 2012, when it was 4.59 million.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said that current sales activity is underperforming by historical standards. “There really should be stronger levels of home sales given our population growth,” he said. “In contrast, price growth is rising faster than historical norms because of inventory shortages.”

Yun expects some improvement in the months ahead. “With ongoing job creation and some weather delayed shopping activity, home sales should pick up, especially if inventory continues to improve and mortgage interest rates rise only modestly.”

The median existing-home price2 for all housing types in March was $198,500, up 7.9 percent from March 2013. Distressed homes3 – foreclosures and short sales – accounted for 14 percent of March sales, down from 16 percent in February and 21 percent in March 2013. “With rising home equity, we expect distressed homes to decline to a single-digit market share later this year,” Yun said.

Ten percent of March sales were foreclosures, and 4 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 18 percent below market value in March, while short sales were discounted 12 percent.

Total housing inventory4 at the end of March rose 4.7 percent to 1.99 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.2-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 5.0 months in February. Unsold inventory is 3.1 percent above a year ago, when there was a 4.7-month supply.

The median time on market for all homes was 55 days in March, down from 62 days in February, and also 62 days on market in March 2013. Short sales were on the market for a median of 112 days in March, while foreclosures typically sold in 55 days and non-distressed homes took 53 days. Thirty-seven percent of homes sold in March were on the market for less than a month.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.34 percent in March from 4.30 percent in February; the rate was 3.57 percent in March 2013.

First-time buyers accounted for 30 percent of purchases in March, up from 28 percent in February; they were 30 percent in March 2013.

NAR President Steve Brown, co-owner of Irongate, Inc., Realtors® in Dayton, Ohio, said first-time buyers have been stuck in a rut. “There are indications that the stringent mortgage underwriting standards are beginning to ease a bit, particularly regarding credit score requirements, but they remain a headwind for entry-level and single-income home buyers,” he said.

“We also have tight inventory in the lower price ranges where many starter homes are found, but rising new-home construction means some owners will be trading up and more existing homes will be added to the inventory. Hopefully, this will create more opportunities for first-time buyers,” Brown said.

All-cash sales comprised 33 percent of transactions in March, compared with 35 percent in February and 30 percent in March 2013. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 17 percent of homes in March, down from 21 percent in February and 19 percent in March 2013. Seventy-one percent of investors paid cash in March.

Single-family home sales were unchanged at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.04 million in March, the same as February, but are 7.3 percent below the 4.36 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $198,200 in March, which is 7.4 percent above March 2013.

Existing condominium and co-op sales declined 1.8 percent to an annual rate of 550,000 units in March from 560,000 in February, and are 8.3 percent below the 600,000 level in March 2013. The median existing condo price was $200,800 in March, up 11.6 percent from a year ago.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 9.1 percent to an annual rate of 600,000 in March, but are 4.8 percent below March 2013. The median price in the Northeast was $244,700, up 3.2 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 4.0 percent in March to a pace of 1.04 million, but are 10.3 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $149,600, which is 5.9 percent above March 2013.

In the South, existing-home sales declined 3.0 percent to an annual level of 1.92 million in March, and also are 3.0 percent below March 2013. The median price in the South was $173,000, up 6.7 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West fell 3.7 percent to a pace of 1.03 million in March, and are 13.4 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $289,300, which is 12.6 percent higher than March 2013.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Posted in:General
Posted by Yates Nobles on April 30th, 2014 4:32 PM

Home Sales in 2013 Rise to Strongest Level in 7 Years

The housing market has been experiencing a “healthy recovery” over the past two years, with home sales last year rising to the highest level since 2006, according to the National Association of REALTORS®' latest housing report

“Existing-home sales have risen nearly 20 percent since 2011, with job growth, record low mortgage interest rates, and a large pent-up demand driving the market,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “We lost some momentum toward the end of 2013 from disappointing job growth and limited inventory, but we ended with a year that was close to normal given the size of our population.”

Existing-home sales rose 1 percent in December 2013 compared to November and reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.87 million.

Existing-home sales for all of 2013 reached 5.02 million sales, 9.1 percent higher than 2012, and the largest rise since 2006 when sales were at 6.48 million at the close of the housing boom, NAR reports.  

Home prices were also on the rise in 2013, up 11.5 percent over 2012, with a median existing-home price of $197,100 last year compared to $176,800 in 2012. It was the strongest gain in home prices in a year since 2005, when home prices rose 12.4 percent, NAR reports.

NAR President Steve Brown says that with job growth expected this year, home sales should hold despite rising home prices and higher mortgage rates.

“The only factors holding us back from a stronger recovery are the ongoing issues of restrictive mortgage credit and constrained inventory,” Brown says. “With strict new mortgage rules in place, we will be monitoring the lending environment to ensure that financially qualified buyers can access the credit they need to purchase a home.”

Housing Recovery Regional Snapshot

Here’s a look at how existing-home sales fared in December and for the year across the country:

  • Northeast: Existing-home sales fell 1.5 percent in December but remain 3.2 percent higher than December 2012. Median price: $239,300, up 3.6 percent from year ago levels
  • Midwest: Existing-home sales dropped 4.3 percent in December and are 0.9 percent below year ago levels. Median price: $150,700, 7 percent higher than December 2012.
  • South: Existing-home sales rose 3 percent in December and are 4.6 percent higher than December 2012. Median price: $173,200, up 8.9 percent from a year ago.
  • West: Existing-home sales increased 4.8 percent, but are 10.7 percent below a year ago. Median price: $285,000, up 16.0 percent from December 2012.

By REALTOR® Magazine Daily News

Posted in:General
Posted by Yates Nobles on January 24th, 2014 1:41 PM

Lower Mortgage Rates Give Buyers Some Relief

For the second consecutive week, fixed-rate mortgages moved lower, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey. 

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Jan. 23: 

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.39 percent, dropping from last week’s 4.41 percent average, with an average 0.7 point. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.42 percent. 
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.44 percent, dropping from last week’s 3.45 percent average, with an average 0.7 point. A year ago at this time, 15-year rates averaged 2.71 percent. 
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.15 percent, rising from last week’s 3.10 percent average, with an average 0.5 point. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.67 percent.
  • 1-year ARMs averaged 2.54 percent, dropping from last week’s 2.56 percent average, with an average 0.5 point. A year ago, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.57 percent. 

Source: Freddie Mac

Posted in:General
Posted by Yates Nobles on January 24th, 2014 1:39 PM

2013 Year-End Market Report by CAAR


Charlottesville Area Year-End 2013 Highlights:

  • ?  Yearly home sales in Greater Charlottesville were up 10% over 2012, marking the second straight year of double-digit gains.

  • ?  The median sales price in 2013 was the highest level since 2008 and was 6.1% higher than in 2012.

  • ?  The median sales price in Q4-2013 was up 4.6% over Q4-2012, the third consecutive quarter with year-over-

    year gains.

  • ?  Half of homes sold in 2013 were on the market 54 days or less, the lowest median Days on Market since

    2006. The median DOM in Q4-2013 was 15 days lower than Q4-2012.

  • ?  New listings were up 6.4% in Q4-2013 compared to the same period in 2012, marking the fifth consecutive

    quarter with an annual gain.

  • ?  Active inventory at year end is 5.6% higher than year-end 2012.

    Copyright© 2014 RealEstate Business Intelligence, LLC. Data provided by CAAR as of January 6, 2014. 2013 Home Sales

    There were 2,909 homes sold in the Greater Charlottesville area in 2013, which was up 10.1% (+266 sales) from 2012. This marked the second year in a row with significant gains in sales activity as the 2012 total was 14.9% higher than 2011. While the 601 sales in the 4th Quarter represented a 1% decline from Q4-2012, the prior two quarters had double-digit annual gains, +11.2% in Q2 and +25.9% in Q3.

For the year, Louisa (+35.6%), Nelson (+28.5%), Albemarle (+11.2%) and Fluvanna (+6.1%) had sales increases compared to 2012. Greene (-1.9%) showed a modest annual decrease while Charlottesville’s total was virtually identical to 2012 (-0.2%).

Copyright© 2014 RealEstate Business Intelligence, LLC. Data provided by CAAR as of January 6, 2014. Days on Market (DOM)

As housing demand grew and interest rates remained low, the average length of time properties were on market has improved compared to recent years. Half of homes sold in 2013 were on the market 54 days or less, 18 days fewer than median DOM in 2012. Average DOM was 121 days, 23 days lower than last year’s level.

Five of the six counties had lower median DOM than 2012, with Louisa (+5 days) being the exception. Charlottesville homes sold the fastest, with half the homes sold in one month (31 days) or less. Albemarle had the second lowest level at 38 days. Louisa had a median DOM of 69 days while Greene and Fluvanna both had an 81-day level. Homes were on the market longest in Nelson County with median DOM of 153 days, however this was 47 days shorter compared to 2012.

Copyright© 2014 RealEstate Business Intelligence, LLC. Data provided by CAAR as of January 6, 2014


While 2013 marked the second consecutive year with double-digit gains in home sales, a new pattern began to emerge in supply: gains in inventory. Eleven of 12 months in 2013 saw more new listings added than in 2012 (November was the only exception). By contrast, only four of 12 months in 2012 had more new listings than the previous year. While 2012 posted a year-over-year decline of 5.9% in new listings, 2013 listings were up 8.7%. Though the monthly absorption rate grew in 2013, this uptick in listing activity ultimately led to year-over-year gains in the inventory level, beginning in August 2013. There are 1,850 active listings at year end, 5.6% higher than this time last year when there were 1,752 active listings.

Copyright© 2014 RealEstate Business Intelligence, LLC. Data provided by CAAR as of January 6, 2014.

Home Prices

First Quarter median sales price in Greater Charlottesville appeared bottomed out at the lowest quarterly level since 2004 ($227,500), improving market conditions through the rest of the year, ultimately resulted in a 6.1% annual gain for the year. The $265,000 median sales price in 2013 represented the highest level since 2008. With consistent gains over the last three quarters, homeowners in the region are experiencing a positive trend.

“Recording double-digit gains in sales activity and several consecutive quarters of growth shows a solid Central Virginia real estate industry,” says CAAR 2014 President John Ince.

Albemarle (+9.6%) had the largest annual gain in median sales price in 2013. Charlottesville (+6.8%) and Nelson (+5.1%) also saw increases in pricing. Louisa (-1.6%), Greene (-2.6%) and Fluvanna (-5.6%) saw slight decreases in median sales price.

Copyright© 2014 RealEstate Business Intelligence, LLC. Data provided by CAAR as of January 6, 2014.

Copyright© 2014 RealEstate Business Intelligence, LLC. Data provided by CAAR as of January 6, 2014.


Not surprisingly, the average percent of original list price sellers received at sale was higher in 2013 than 2012, with the average sales-to-original-list-price ratio up to 93.5% from 91.7%. This was the highest yearly level in Greater Charlottesville since 2007. Albemarle (94.9%) and Charlottesville (94.5%) led the region in this indicator. Nelson (88%) had the lowest level, though the county’s 88% mark was 4.1 points higher than its 83.9% level in 2012. Five of the six jurisdictions saw increases in the average sales-to-original-list price ratio, the only exception being Louisa, which was unchanged at 93.1%.

Copyright© 2014 RealEstate Business Intelligence, LLC. Data provided by CAAR as of January 6, 2014. Attached vs. Detached Homes

The median sales price for detached homes in Greater Charlottesville in 2013 was up 2.3% from 2012 to $285,000 while the median price for attached homes rose 12.5% to $213,750. The 690 attached homes sold in 2013 represented a 7.6% increase compared to 2012, while the 2,219 detached home sales represented an annual gain of 10.8%. Attached homes sold more quickly, with an average DOM of 112 days and a median DOM of 46. Detached homes sold in 124 days on average, with a median DOM of 58.

Year-End Housing Metrics [Greater Charlottesville Area]

Statistical comparisons are performed using "snapshots" to allow for data to be compared to each other in a consistent fashion. Similar timelines for the data are used to create the snapshots, allowing an accurate comparison to be made.

If you plan to sell a home in 2014, be sure to have a REALTOR® prepare a comparative market analysis (CMA) so that you can price it to sell. And, if you are looking to buy, a REALTOR® can help you understand the current market and evaluate your options.

This 2013 Year-End Market Report is produced by the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® using data from the CAAR MLS. For more information on this report or the real estate market, pick up a copy of the CAAR Real Estate Weekly, visit, or contact your REALTOR®.

Posted in:General
Posted by Yates Nobles on January 14th, 2014 11:30 PM
Listings Photo
Chateau de Bussiere, Loches, France


Beds: 12 Rooms: 24
Full Baths: 9 Sq. Ft.: 11000
Garage: 1 Built: 1234

This is a new listing that
I thought you might be
interested in. Visit this
listing online to see more
photos of the property,
Google? Earth satellite
images, and much more.

If you have any questions
about this property or
require more information,
please feel free to call.

Yates Nobles
Yates Nobles, GRI, SRS, ABR, E-PRO, GREEN - Associate Broker, Montague, Miller & Co. - Downtown

  Visit this listing here
Posted in:General
Posted by Yates Nobles on December 30th, 2013 3:17 PM

How to Organize Your Refrigerator

By: Courtney Craig

Published: October 30, 2012

Leftovers gobbling up space in your refrigerator? Here are some tips for keeping things organized, efficient, and tasty.

Front and center

Give prime fridge space to priority items, says professional organizer Kathi Burns, founder of Add Space to Your Life.

“If you want leftovers to be eaten, keep them front and center on the middle rack, at eye level,” says Burns. “That goes for healthy snacks, too. If you have leftovers, don’t cram them in the back.”

For large food items, slice and store in several containers, says professional organizer Abbey Claire Keusch. If your refrigerator has adjustable shelves, you can move them around for specific items. Have a plan for the food you keep.

Not everything needs chilling

Did you know that ketchup, vinegar, jam, and even mayonnaise and butter don’t need to be refrigerated? If you’re tight on fridge space, these items and more can go in the pantry instead.

And if you have backyard chickens, the eggs you get from them don’t need to be refrigerated, although store-bought eggs do (American regulations require eggs to be power-washed before selling, which strips eggshells of their protective coating, so store-bought eggs have to be refrigerated to stay fresh).

The only items that really need to go in the fridge are meats, dairy products, and certain vegetables (unless you’re going to eat them right away).

Items that should never go in the refrigerator include:

  • Tomatoes (they’ll get mushy faster if they’re cold).
  • Onions (they’ll soften, plus all your other food will smell like onions).
  • Honey (it’ll get too thick).
  • Potatoes (cold temperatures turn starches into sugars, giving your taters a sweet flavor when you cook them, and not in a good way).

Go against the flow

Today’s refrigerators are designed to be organized a certain way — condiments in the door, vegetables in the crisper, gallon of milk on the center rack. But it doesn’t have to be that way, Burns says.

“For busy families, I recommend a ‘lunch bin’ that you can pull out,” she says. “Keep the mayo, mustard, pickles, meat, and cheese in there, so you can just pull it out and make a sandwich. It’s easy for kids. You can create a bin for healthy snacks, too, or a breakfast bin with bagels and cream cheese.”

Pulling out one bin instead of many individual items is faster, too, so your refrigerator door doesn’t stay open as long. For smaller refrigerators that don’t have drawers, long, rectangular bins can be used for easy organizing.

“Same goes for the freezer — just use a Tupperware bin for frozen veggies, so you can pull out all the bags of veggies in one fell swoop,” Burns says. “It works really well.”

Hip to be square
Refrigerators are more efficient when they’re fuller, but that doesn’t mean you should cram as much stuff in there as possible. Square or rectangular containers are the way to go for leftovers — they’re easily stackable and fit into corners neatly.

“Stay away from round containers,” says Burns. “That’s just wasted space.”

Posted in:General
Posted by Yates Nobles on November 21st, 2013 11:37 PM

August 2013 Real Estate Market Statistics for

Greater Charlottesville

Total Sold Dollar Volume$77,670,393+7.72%-22.27%
Closed Sales253+18.78%-17.05%
Median Sold Price$254,000+7%-8.96%
Avg Sold Price$306,998-9.31%-6.29%
Avg Days on Market97 days-14.16%-19.83%
Avg Sold to Orig List Ratio93.4%+2.77%-0.96%
10 miles
10 miles
  1. >

Median Sold
Albemarle $319,92418.93%0.01%
Fluvanna $172,4750.72%-1.44%
Louisa $181,000-32.34%-4.74%
Charlottesville City $244,0007.37%-13.01%
Greene $181,100-25.76%-23.55%
Nelson $198,500-27.82%-35.45%
Posted in:General
Posted by Yates Nobles on September 21st, 2013 7:27 PM


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