Local Housing Market Slows But Still Strong

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

September 27, 2006

The housing market is slowing down all over the country, but it may not be hitting Charlottesville as hard.

"The fact that we have low unemployment and it's great place to live and the quality of life is high, I think we'll be immune from it," said Realtor Paul Muhlberger.

"I think we're taking a little break, a breather, but this is not the end of the real estate market," said Bill May, owner of ERA Bill May Realty Company.

Take one house in downtown Belmont for example. It's been on the market for 5 days at almost $320,000. At this time Last year it may have already sold, but now while there is interest, sellers need to be a little more patient.

"Probably not as much as we would have last spring, but again there a lot of listings out there right now," said Muhlberger.

With new housing and condo construction the supply is going up, but in the Charlottesville area, Realtors say the demand won't drop too low.

"The University of Virginia is the backbone of our economy and until they close, I don't think we've got a problem," said May.

Some Realtors say the market is still very strong for those selling under $400,000 and especially for those looking to move-up.

"Let's pretend for a moment you have a $300,000 house and it went down 10 percent--that's $30,000, seems like a lot of money. You want to buy a $600,000 house. That went down 10 percent and that's $60,000. For the person moving up that's a $30,000 gain," explained May.

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