Winter 2013-14 Comes to Wintergreen

HAPPY NEW YEAR
Contributed by Tim Merrick

http://www.wintergreenrealestate.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Picture1.jpg

  6th Hole of Shamokin Nine on the Stoney Creek Course New Year’s Day Afternoon

 

As we begin another year and I try to predict where the housing market at Wintergreen is headed in 2014, a look back reveals both stability and a few trends. The market has remained about the same in the past couple of years in regard to the scope and number of sales, particularly in regard to activity on the mountain. While not dramatic, the past couple of months have seen steady sales activity on the mountain and it is encouraging as we go into ski season. Currently here are close to 100 houses and 100 condos listed for sale on the mountain and 46 lots, about the same as the last fall newsletter. In Stoney Creek, there are 21 houses for sale (some pulled from the market until spring), 4 townhouses, and 71 lots. I am anticipating a better year than last years but in order for properties to sell today, properties must be priced accurately.  Unfortunately, perhaps due to competition, many area Realtors take listings at whatever prices they are told by the owners or set high expectations to obtain the listing without explaining the realities of the market. Therefore, there is overpriced inventory. Buyers today are looking for value and houses that are priced within the crosshairs of the price/value target in the market get offers and contracts. Many of the 25 to 30 year older houses on the mountain need work, are overpriced, and have languished. However, there is good news. This past year saw increased sales activity in Stoney Creek. More than twice as many houses sold in the valley in 2013 than in 2012. I think this is partially attributable to the quest for retirement. Many friends tell me that at social gatherings, retirement and where to retire has become a major topic of conversation. Perhaps this has led people to beautiful Rockfish Valley of Virginia and Stoney Creek and the communities in and around Charlottesville. Being close to a college town like Charlottesville with all it has to offer and with the great neighbors and tremendous amenities of Wintergreen combined with some of the best real estate values in the country makes this area hard to resist.

Here are the sales comparisons:

Year 2013

Year 2012

Mountain

Number of sales

Mountain

Number of Sales

Houses SOLD

($224K – $1,046K)

Pending sales

($239K –  $600K)

Condos SOLD

($62.5K – $450K)

Lots SOLD

($10.5K – $390K)

Townhouses SOLD

($195K- $362.5K)

47

 

2

 

65

 

14

 

6

Houses SOLD

($196K – $1.450K)

 

 

Condos SOLD

($62.5K -$ 490K)

Lots SOLD

($10K – $150K)

Townhouses SOLD

($194K -$270K)

51

 

 

 

65

 

16

 

3

 

 

 


 

Year 2013

Year 2012

Valley

 

Number of sales

Valley

Number of sales

Houses SOLD

($250K – $800K)

Lots SOLD

($25K – $137K)

Townhouses SOLD

($249.5K – $325K)

26

 

9

 

4

Houses SOLD

($295K – $673K)

Lots SOLD

($15K – $95K)

Townhouses SOLD

($264.5K)

 

 

 

 

11

 

13

 

1

The New Wintergreen Club Rules

We are off to a strong ski season (where most of the resort’s annual revenue is generated) and have just completed a great Christmas week. Skiing conditions are excellent and we have more slopes covered and open than in the past. The Justice Family’s investment in ski operations this past year allows the resorts to make far more snow when conditions allow. The other anticipated change is the implementation in this December of the new club structure at Wintergreen. You are probably aware, that unless an owner is a member of the new Wintergreen Club; they will not be allowed to use the Spa (unless they are signed up for specific Spa treatments), the mountain golf course, Devils Knob Grill, or the tennis facilities. Use of the mountain top resort facilities will be limited to members only and their families, their guests, and any paying resort guests staying through the front desk at the Mountain Inn. Guests of club members will also be allowed to use a member’s guess passes and will be granted access on a pay-as-you-go basis to the mountain top facilities. For those owners who cannot justify enough use of the club facilities enough to buy membership, but still have properties which they rent to the general public, their guests will not be allowed to use the member facilities on the upper mountain. However, should owners decide to join at any time,  there is a simple payment plan spread over three years for the $10,000 initiation fee, based on a fixed 5% interest rate. It could make sense if one has a robust private rental program through WREC, our company, or www.VRBO.com or one of the local property rental companies. Call me or drop me an email if I can explain more about the club membership program or send you information.

Updated Financial News.

The Fed’s in mid-December announced that it would begin tapering its economic stimulus efforts. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s decision to scale back on Bond and Treasury purchases by $10 billion signaled that he believes the economy has shown sufficient ability to play on its own, but they are watching the recovery closely.  The Fed’s ambivalence towards tapering dominated central banking discussions and created market volatility for most of 2013. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke noted that the tapering process will continue to be dependent on economic data, but most economists would agree that it is time to wean the economy off of this artificial stimulus. Rates could rise even further with Fed tapering but home loan rates still remain attractive compared to historical levels.  Janet Yellen, the Fed’s current vice chairman who will probably succeed Bernanke, voted in favor of the policy action, which was bolstered by promising figures in the labor and housing markets. This process will have an impact on home loan rates as we go into next year, but it has not dampened sales in Central Virginia markets.  If you have any questions about your personal situation or would like to inquire about housing and home loans, please don’t hesitate to contact me. We have excellent funding sources familiar with Wintergreen and rates are very attractive.

The Year in Housing
National housing gained traction in 2013 amid tepid job gains and rising stock values. Residential construction starts soared in November to a five-year high, explaining why builder optimism last month matched its highest level since 2005. Despite robust new construction, sales of previously-owned homes declined nationally for the third consecutive month in November to the lowest level this year. Purchases overall dropped 4.3 % to a 4.9 million annual rate, in a mid-December report from the National Association of Realtors. The report also showed that the median price of an existing home rose 9.4 % to $196,300 from $179,400 one year ago. We follow the trends of the national and regional markets, only several months behind. I think ski season will bring more buyers to the mountain this winter serious in finding a second home. This spring will see more activity in the valley. I believe we are going to have a strong 2014, surpassing what we have done in the past two years, regardless of little higher interest rates and larger inventory. As the economy improves this year, folks in the primary communities of Northern Virginia, D.C., Richmond, Tidewater, the Carolina Triangle, etc. will be looking for a 2nd home and also for a place for retirement.

Thanks for all of your support and friendship and please think of me if you have questions about real estate or have friends or family who might have an interest in real estate in Central Virginia. In addition to Wintergreen, I do a lot of research and sales for clients in Nelson Co., Charlottesville, and the surrounding counties.

Contributed by Tim Merrick

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.