Median home price drops 9.2 percent

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The housing market pendulum has swung, and sellers are no longer riding high. Sales and prices are down, inventory is up, and it’s the best time to buy a home in the last decade according to the first quarter market report from the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors (CAAR).

It was during the first quarter of 2007 that the market delivered sellers a comeuppance for what the report calls the “crazy boom years of 2004-2006.” The form of retribution? A drop in the overall median price for homes in the area (including Charlottesville and the counties of Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson) to $263,350. That’s a 9.2 percent decrease from the first quarter of 2006, a 4.2 percent decrease from the overall median price for last year and the first such quarterly drop in several years.

So, buyers, what do you get for this new “low” price? Based on the latest CAAR listings, it still all depends on where you’re looking. In Charlottesville, you could buy approximately 1,600 square feet of old world charm—that is, knob and tube wiring along with old plumbing—in Belmont. In Albemarle, you could swing a two-bedroom, two-bath circa 1989 “cottage” in Mill Creek, and in Greene County (where the first quarter median price actually increased 3.4 percent over the same period last year), you could get a whopping 2,200 square feet on almost an acre.

And don’t worry about having to rush a choice between Spudnuts convenience or a bocce ball-worthy backyard—last quarter marked the first time in several years the average days on market exceeded 100 days.

But don’t get too giddy about the downturn, house hunters: The CAAR report suggests the market bottomed out at the end of last year and is on the way up toward more sustainable growth.

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