By Celeste M. Smucker–
Want to attend events in Charlottesville but still see the stars at night? Maybe you love both privacy and a laid-back country lifestyle but fear you’d have to go too far off the beaten path to find them. The good news is, when you move to Fluvanna, you can have all of these features and still enjoy home prices more affordable than those for comparable properties closer in.
First time homebuyers can find what they want in Fluvanna as can growing families looking for more space and horse owners looking for acreage. Active retirees who want to be free of lawn maintenance may appreciate Southern Development Home’s Village Oaks and the Villages at Nahor, while buyers who love the water and like living in a gated community should also check out the many options available at Lake Monticello.
Agents are optimistic about the Fluvanna real estate market: “It’s definitely on the mend,” said Maggie Gunnels with the Lake Monticello office of Long & Foster. Inventories are low making this is a good time to be a seller, but buyers will also be happy when they see how much more their money can buy in close-in Fluvanna compared to locations nearer to town.
Fluvanna’s Real Estate Market
The recently released third quarter market report from CAAR (Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS®) shows home sales in Fluvanna County increased 2.4 percent compared to the same time last year. Even better, agents look forward to more closings based on a 32 percent increase in pending sales for the same time frame.
Gunnels described the current Fluvanna market as “very active” stating that 2017 is her best year out of the last ten. “Prices are up, especially in the lower price points,” she added citing sales of acreage as well as homes at Sycamore Square, a subdivision with homes that are less than 10 years old.
“Prices took a big hit,” Gunnels explained “but have come back.” She referenced the “colonial market,” two story homes often preferred by families, as having the best price recovery. However she has observed some significant price increases in entry level homes as well stating that some that might have sold for $130,000 last fall now have prices closer to $155,000, a big increase in just one year. The acreage market is also strong, she said.
First timers can still find homes in Fluvanna, but it’s getting more difficult. Gunnels described one of her listings, a one level home on acreage at $229,000, that she said would be appropriate for retirees and some first timers. Three to four years ago, however, this same property would have sold in the $180,000s. Nevertheless, it’s still a good time to buy, she said, adding that prices are not back to pre-recession levels.
“The Fluvanna market is definitely improving,” said Diane Miller, Associate Broker with Long & Foster at Lake Monticello. She explained that because it is further out the improvement lags behind that in Albemarle and Charlottesville, but is definitely happening. She added that building is going on at Lake Monticello, but even more so in the County. There were lots of developments underway that were put on hold after the market downturn, she continued, but many are now coming back to life.
Buyers Love Fluvanna
Part of the reason Fluvanna is popular is its proximity to Charlottesville. The lower prices are also attractive to first timers as well as young families and retirees, many of whom find Fluvanna when they learn about it from family members and friends already living there, Gunnels said.
“You get more bang for your buck than in Albemarle,” said Pam Dent with Gayle Harvey Real Estate, Inc. She finds that buyers like to enjoy a “country feel” but still want to be close to Interstate 64.
Gunnels agreed that Fluvanna buyers appreciate the peace and quiet and slower way of life associated with country living. They also like a location that works well for two career couples with jobs in both Richmond and Charlottesville, retirees who want to be near children located in either or both of these cities and shoppers who want to take advantage of great deals in both locations.
Something for Everyone
Home buyers love Fluvanna’s wide range of prices and home styles with something for all ages and income levels. Gunnels has clients who are first timers, young families and retirees and in the latter group, she frequently encounters buyers searching for their fourth home in the county.
While some retirees like the privacy of acreage, others prefer a development such as Southern Development Homes’ Villages at Nahor and Village Oaks both located in Fluvanna. Sales administrator, Andrea Akers explained that these 55+ communities offer easy living design with features such as stepless entries, wider doorways, outlets raised to 18 inches for easier access, rocker switches and open, functional floor plans.
The HOA (Home Owners Association) provides lawn care and optional power washing of the exteriors plus residents enjoy a pool, club house and bocce court, Akers said, all designed to promote easy living and a community feel.
If what you want is a home in the country that is still close to the many amenities of Charlottesville and Richmond, ask your agent about relocating to Fluvanna County. You may be surprised at the quality and selection of homes there as well as the amount of acreage and square footage your money can buy.
Celeste Smucker is a writer, blogger and author who lives near Charlottesville.