ReStore N Station For Sale

I got an email yesterday from announcing that ReStore N Station, the new gas station that caused a Crozet community battle, is for sale. For $4 million, the land and two additional lots could be yours.

 Update: Rachel Ryan with the Newsplex has more information.

Jeff and Michelle Sprouse own the property and told CBS19 they are negotiating with the person operating the gas station and store to purchase it.

Update 2:  Rachel Ryan has an update to the story … read the whole thing.



NB. I’m a real estate agent. I’m writing this post from a “news” perspective, but thought it better to disclose than not.

Crozet’s Weekend Events – 12 September & Notes from Facebook

Music at Fardowners, Starr Hill, and Crozet Pourhouse, Pancake 5k at Chiles, Art at the Trax, the Boys and Girls Challenge, WAHS rowing flea market, and more this weekend in Crozet. (submit your own event here)

Crozet Library is awesome.

One student at Crozet Library, a branch of Jefferson-Madison (Va.) Regional Library, left a remarkable thank-you note with young adult librarian Allie Haddix about the library’s Exam Cram event for high school students: “Because of the services that you have provided, I will study hard and efficiently, get good grades, get into the best college, and change the world.”

A few things from the RealCrozetVA Facebook:

The new gas station on 250 opened this week.

Restore 'n Station

Great Valu got an outstanding review on Yelp.

Can you spare $5 or more to support the Boys and Girls Club? I’m riding this on Sunday and I’d appreciate any support you can offer.

It looked like bike to school day at Crozet Elementary, but it was just a school day.

The newest listings in Crozet (sorted by days on market) I’m trying something new with this … what do you think?

2014 Mid-Year Crozet Real Estate Market Update – Some Numbers

For those who don’t know, I’m a real estate agent. I live in Crozet. I study the market and make a living representing buyers and sellers in Crozet the Charlottesville area. If you’re interested in a broader look at the Charlottesville area real estate market, I wrote a report on my Charlottesville real estate blog.

Comparing the first half of this year with the first half of last year in Crozet’s real estate market …

– Contracts in Crozet are down 8%.

– Prices are up … about 8%

– Home sales (closings) are down 23%

New listings are down 10%

– New construction remains (and will for at least a decade, I’d wager) a major factor in the Crozet market.

– If you’re thinking about selling, price accordingly – and that might mean underpricing the competition if you’re in a competitive segment.

– If you’re thinking about buying, do your due diligence and buy well – this sounds like trite advice, but work your way through what life will be every day of the week at that house, not just on the one day you visit.

– Even though the data and analysis here are focused on Crozet, your micro market – Western Ridge, Old Trail (the town home market here is further segmented even), Parkside Village, Laurel Hills, etc … get competent representation.

  Crozet Real estate market update - 2nd Quarter 2014

2014 has proven to be an interesting year.

Two points as you read through this –

1 – new construction in the MLS is a challenging thing. There are different categories: Detached, Attached and Condos (which we don’t have in Crozet) and Proposed Detached, Attached and condos. It’s easy to put a “proposed” listing in and that number isn’t entirely representative of the market; “proposed” listings are one of the reasons I pull numbers by hand rather than relying on the top-level reports, some of which include “proposed” listings … and “proposed” listings weren’t added to the MLS as a category until a few years ago.

For example, when looking at the top-level numbers (including new construction) for single family homes, it appears that there are about 8 months of inventory, yet when you exclude single family, that number is closer to 6 – a healthy, balanced market. (PDFs of most of the data are here)

With that convoluted explanation …

2 – For the purposes of this story, “Crozet” = Crozet Elementary + Brownsville Elementary districts.

Fewer listings could be a good thing as that tends to keep competition healthier. Generally though, we’re still in a buyer’s market.

213 – the number of new listings this year in Crozet (excluding new construction proposed listings) versus 235 last year from 1 January to 30 June.(10% decline)

245 – the number of new listings (including new construction proposed listings) – versus 292 last year from 1 January to 30 June. (16% decline)

52 (24% of the new listings in Crozet) – just in Old Trail, (excluding new) – versus 50 last year from 1 January to 30 June.

72 (29% of the new listings) – just in Old Trail and including new constructionversus 80 last year from 1 January to 30 June.

148 – number of contracts written so far this year – versus 161 last year from 1 January to 30 June. (8% fewer this year)

44 (30% of the total contracts) – number of contracts in Old Trail versus 42 last year from 1 January to 30 June.

102 – Closed sales this year versus 133 last year from 1 January to 30 June- a 23% decline. (weather related, perhaps?)

27 (27%) – Closed sales in Old Trail versus 38 last year from 1 January to 30 June- a 29% decline.

Right now – 12 July around 2:30pm, there are 81 homes under contract in Crozet – 47 are marked as being new construction.

As I wrote in my monthly note:

If you’re looking to make a decision, analyze your micro market. For example, the $475K – $600K single family detached market in the Brownsville and Crozet Elementary districts: There are 64 such homes under contract in Albemarle County; 38 (59%) are new construction. In Crozet, there are 22 homes in that price range under contract; 18 (82%!) are new construction.

If you’re trying to sell a home in Crozet in that price point, your primary competition is new construction and you need to prepare and price with this in mind. In contrast, in Baker Butler and Hollymead Elementary school districts (29 North), there are 46 single family homes under contract and four in the $475K – $600K range and all are resales. Micro markets are far more relevant than county-state-national market data (or zestimates).


– If your house didn’t sell this year, you’re not alone; if you’re thinking about selling, price accordingly – this may be hard as nationwide, between 20-30% of homeowners are still underwater or near-underwater. (localized data for underwater homes is challenging to find)

– If you are buying this year, make sure you do your due diligence (and preferably hire a knowledgeable buyers’ agent).

– Why is the Crozet market slow? I’m not sure yet; I’ll let you know in 18 months. I know this isn’t the analysis you’re looking for but my initial thoughts are that there are still underwater sellers who aren’t yet able to sell, buyers who are able to buy but don’t yet have full confidence in employment or the market and are still mistrustful of the market and we don’t yet have a big enough employer in Crozet to supply the jobs we need. That said, a lot of people are buying and selling, so while the Crozet market isn’t as robust as the Charlottesville City market, our market remains fairly strong.


I’m always happy to answer them.

Continue reading “2014 Mid-Year Crozet Real Estate Market Update – Some Numbers”

Crozet Neighborhood Assessments – 2014

Note: If you find errors, please please please let me know.

Albemarle County real estate assessments are out … did yours go up? Go down? Questions about your assessment? Ask me … quickly (434-242-7140. I’m a real estate agent by the way). The deadline for challenging your assessment is this Friday, 28 February. The 2014 Real Estate Assessment Form can be downloaded at Albemarle County’s site.

I chose nine Crozet neighborhoods as a sample. I wanted to choose Laurel Hills but because some of those have been renovated over the years, I didn’t think they would provide the relative homogeneity that I was looking for. If it wasn’t so darn labor- and time-intensive I would have done more neighborhoods.

What do real estate assessments mean?

5 Reasons why real estate assessments matter: (more thoughts on the value of assessments)

1) The County bases their budget on property tax revenue.
?2) The assessed value is the value upon which property owners pay taxes. These values are a backward-looking assessment.
?3) Buyers look at assessed values as a measure of market value … but really, it’s a point in the equation, but are neither a definitive point nor a necessarily accurate one.
?4) Also – “Virginia, unlike some other states, by Statute requires localities to assess property at 100% of fair market value, based on an objective analysis of the property’s fair market value…”
?5) Sellers look at assessed values and wonder if buyers will think that the assessment means their home is worth X (it doesn’t).

From my professional capacity, I place little to no value in real estate assessments when seeking market value. When I see a property marketed as “below assessed value” or “new assessed value is $10k higher!” I think only that that means a property’s real estate tax bill will be higher or lower.

Thoughts on some of the Crozet neighborhoods’ assessed values:

Old Trail was all over the board – from 44% decrease to nearly 400% increase. I removed these outliers from the equations. Assessed values ranged from $175k to over a million dollars.

Parkside Village was up about 15%. Despite its being one of the best located neighborhoods in Crozet, some of the houses increased in assessed value by 20%. Reasonable?

Highlands is the only neighborhood that declined in assessed value. An aging housing stock is likely to blame.

Western Ridge (the second largest neighborhood behind Old Trail) – ranged from -4.17% to +13.44% – is essentially flat.

Note on my math – – I pulled the crazy outliers – -50% and +400% for example – and then averaged the delta column. I thought about doing a weighted average but went with this method. See the link above, please check my math and let me know what’s better and where I screwed up. 🙂 Continue reading “Crozet Neighborhood Assessments – 2014”

Where’s the New Housing Inventory in Crozet?

Disclosure: I’m a real estate agent. I occasionally write about the Crozet real estate market.

I’ve been looking at the data and am getting more and more curious … where are the new listings that I (and other professionals) thought would be coming on the market in Crozet? (There’s more insight in my subscription-only monthly note)

Some of the questions this data raises:

How will this affect new construction? (probably quite well – fewer good homes with which they’re competing may mean more sales and higher prices)

How might this affect buyers? More competition for good houses and less to choose from may 1) discourage buyers 2) keep potential buyers renting 3) drive up prices

How might this affect sellers? They might be able to push the asking price a little bit. Or, they might price it a bit under where they might be able to price it in order to better ensure a reasonably quick contract

How might this affect growth in Crozet? We have quite a few new homes yet to be built … will they continue at the same pace?

Is it too early to draw any kind of reasonable conclusions? Yes. Absolutely. For all the years I’ve been writing about and practicing real estate, I’ve said that I’ll let you know in 18 months what the market did today.

What if I have more questions about the Crozet real estate market? Ask me anytime. Here in the comments or email or call me anytime.

The short story is that there’s always more to the story than top-level data suggests. This post is just some brief insight into what’s happening in the Crozet real estate market. For broader insight, I wrote today about the Charlottesville/Central Virginia market.

Continue reading “Where’s the New Housing Inventory in Crozet?”

Brief Market Update for Crozet – December 2013

When do homes come on the market in Crozet- - Zoho Sheet.jpg

I looked at this data a couple months ago but was curious as to what was happening now in the market.

Keep in mind that these numbers are a bit skewed as so much of the Crozet real estate market is new construction:

– Of the 238 homes that have sold this year in the Charlottesville area MLS, 90 are marked as new construction* – nearly 40% of homes sold this year in Crozet are new construction! And that’s a lower percentage than last year, when 48% of the homes sold in Crozet from 1/1/12-12/1/12 were marked as new construction.

That said, in short:

– New resale listings are trending downward, month over month and year over year
– Contracts are trending slightly up
– Closings are moving downward, month over month and year over year

Fewer listings coming on the market with contracts remaining steady may indicate that now could be a good time to consider putting your home on the market …

Have questions? Ask me. (I’m a real estate agent) Continue reading “Brief Market Update for Crozet – December 2013”

Does Crozet Have All the Pieces for Walkability?

As Crozet continues to grow, it’s important to keep the end result in mind. What do we want Crozet to be in 10 years? In 20 years?

This story at CNBC is a great in-depth read that has quite a few parallels to Crozet as well as and lessons we can learn from.

“Walkability plays a big part in an area’s economic vibrancy,” said Scott Bricker, executive director of America Walks, a national nonprofit that fosters walkable communities. “The most valuable real estate around the world is in walkable places, places where people are living and working in closer proximity.”

Researchers have found that areas with high Walk Scores fare better environmentally (less use of cars), socially (better chances of connecting with someone face to face) and economically. A recent study published in Real Estate Economics found that in neighborhoods with greater walkability, the resale value of both residential and commercial properties is higher. And according to a 2009 report commissioned by CEOs for Cities, “a one-point increase in Walk Score was associated with an increase in value ranging from $700 to $3,000 depending on the market.”

“There’s a strong preference for being in a neighborhood where people can walk to shops, restaurants, parks,” said Joe Molinaro, managing director of community and public affairs at the National Association of Realtors, which found that two-thirds of respondents in its 2011 Consumer Preference Survey said that walkability was an important factor when deciding where to live. “We asked people for tradeoffs—comparing different things they might have to give up to get that—and more and more are willing to make a sacrifice to be in a walkable neighborhood.”

For example:

– Homes for sale in Old Trail have relatively low Walk Scores (for now) – there’s Trailside Coffee, ACAC gym, Anna’s Pizza, Dentist, Augusta Medical, park, playgrounds and more (and much more to come as the Village Center gets built out.
– Homes around Downtown Crozet have higher Walk Scores – Mudhouse and Greenhouse coffee shops, hardware, Fardowners pub, Great Valu, Crozet Park, YMCA gym and lots more.
– Homes around the third business center – 250 West – don’t have the same connectivity, despite the proximity to Harris Teeter and all of the businesses in Clover Lawn – Eye Care, restaurants, UVA Credit Union …

With the lumberyard having been purchased recently, the future of downtown Crozet has the potential to shape up in the next couple years. What will it look like?

Let’s not forget (or forget to volunteer!) the value of the growing Crozet Trails system and network; I feel that these will be integral to the future of connectivity in Crozet, in addition to sidewalks and bike lanes everywhere possible. Continue reading “Does Crozet Have All the Pieces for Walkability?”