Majority of Realtors® say clients interested in sustainability

WASHINGTON (April 6, 2017) — Growing consumer interest and demand for greener, more sustainable properties is driving a dialogue between Realtors® and homebuyers and sellers. Over half of Realtors® find that consumers have interest in real estate sustainability issues and practices, according to the National Association of Realtors®’ recent REALTORS® and Sustainability report.

The report, stemming from NAR’s new Sustainability Program, surveyed Realtors® about sustainability issues facing consumers in the real estate market and ways Realtors® are setting their own goals to reduce energy usage.

“As consumers’ interest in sustainability grows, Realtors® understand the necessity of promoting sustainability in their real estate practice, such as marketing energy efficiency in property listings to homebuyers,” said NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties. “The goal of the NAR Sustainability Program is to provide leadership and strategies on topics of sustainability to benefit members, consumers and communities.”

To meet growing consumer interest, more Multiple Listing Services are incorporating data entry fields to identify a property’s green features; 43 percent of respondents report their MLS has green data fields, and only 19 percent do not. Realtors® see great value in promoting energy efficiency in listings with seven out of 10 feeling strongly about the benefits in promoting those features to clients.

The survey asked respondents about renewable energy and its impact on the real estate market. A majority of agents and brokers (80 percent) said that solar panels are available in their market; forty-two percent said solar panels increased the perceived property value.

Twenty-four percent of brokers said that tiny homes were available in their market, compared to 61 percent that reported tiny homes were not yet available. When asked about involvement with clients and green properties, 27 percent of agents and brokers were involved with 1 to 5 properties that had green features in the last 12 months. Seventy percent of members worked with no properties that had green features, leaving a great deal of room for future growth.

The home features that Realtors® said clients consider as very or somewhat important include a home’s efficient use of lighting (50 percent), a smart/connected home (40 percent), green community features such as bike lanes and green spaces (37 percent), landscaping for water conservation (32 percent), and renewable energy systems such as solar and geothermal (23 percent).

When it comes to the sustainable neighborhood features for which clients are looking, 60 percent of Realtors® listed parks and outdoor recreation, 37 percent listed access to local food and nine percent listed recycling.

The transportation and commuting features of a community that Realtors® listed as very or somewhat important to their clients included walkability (51 percent), public transportation (31 percent) and bike lanes/paths (39 percent).

NAR initiated the Sustainability Program as a platform for dialogue on sustainability for Realtors®, brokers, allied trade associations, and consumers. The program’s efforts focus on coordination and articulation of NAR’s existing sustainability resources, while also supporting a growing area of interest for consumers, helping members to assist home buyers and sellers.

To further position NAR as a leader in real estate sustainability topics with consumers, Realtors®, brokers and allied trade associations, the REALTOR® Sustainability Program surveyed Realtors® pertaining to sustainability issues facing consumers and the industry. NAR plans to use this report to better benchmark Realtor® understanding of sustainability.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing over 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Realtors survive tech advances that have hurt other professions

Price Lechleiter checks the make and model of the dishwasher to add to the listing description.

— Michelle Morrow | The Ledger

Technology has a way of devastating industries, and as early as 1997 a national journal predicted a dire future for the real estate profession.

Incredible advances in technology would put Realtors – along with travel agents – on the endangered species list.

Homebuyers and sellers would have all the sophisticated tools needed for do-it-yourself real estate, pushing Realtors into the background.

Like Neo in “The Matrix,” an interested buyer would be able to plug into their computer and tour a three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath ranch, complete with a glowing fire in the hearth and birds playing outside.

And, that article in the Journal of Real Estate Portfolio Management almost got it right. Technology has changed the real estate business, but it turns out no amount of house shopping online can replace the human touch.

‘A client for life’

Price Lechleiter, managing broker of Pilkerton Realtors in Nashville, says the Realtors who last in the profession are the ones who focus on developing relationships and taking care of their clients.

“When someone knows they can ask you a question and you will give them an answer they can trust, you have a client for life,” he adds. “The bond that’s built when you are dealing with an important investment is amazing.”

Lechleiter was around when agents were limited to using the multiple listing service bound in a thick, phone book-like tome.

“The MLS book contained pages and pages of terrible black and white photographs and brief descriptions,’’ Lechleiter explains. “It was divided by section of town to make it easier to look for properties in certain areas.

“Today, people can view listings on their phone, but in 1992, when I became a Realtor, the only access you had to a house before stepping through the front door was that book.”

Now, Realtors – and everyone else – has all kinds of access to the residential market. Technology by Matterpower now allows buyers to do three-dimensional flythroughs of a home on any mobile or desktop device – and support for Oculus Rift virtual reality helmets is coming.

Nashville’s healthy market

Buyers are taking advantage of the ability to house shop online. While they can’t click on a home and buy it like they can a Fitbit 2 on eBay, nine in 10 buyers rely on the internet as their primary source of research. What’s more, 51 percent of those buyers end up purchasing a house they found online. Both stats come courtesy of a joint study by the National Association of Realtors and Google.

Not only can buyers in Nashville find their future home while sitting at the Parthenon, they can also download apps developed by Zillow, and Trulia that will notify them when a house in their desired neighborhood and at their preferred price point goes on the market.

Instead of selling fewer homes, agents today are in the midst of the biggest upswing in sales since the height of the real estate boom in the early to mid-2000s, aided in part by historically low interest rates.

Greater Nashville Realtors data show nearly 39,000 properties exchanged hands in the city in 2016. This brings sales close to the point seen at the height of the real estate boom in the early to mid-2000s – just over 40,000 units in 2005 – despite a shrinking inventory.

This uptick comes at a time when people are using Realtors more than ever. The NAR reports that 88 percent of buyers in 2015 purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker – a share that has steadily increased from 69 percent in 2001. Meanwhile, for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) transactions fell to eight percent in the same year – the lowest since 1981.

Commissions are up

Realtor commissions have seen an uptick, as well. In a Washington Post article entitled, “The real estate industry has something the Internet can’t offer: the human element,” reporter Todd Frankel noted that the average commission for a median-priced U.S. home in 1997 was $16,600, adjusted for inflation. Today, that figure stands at $20,131.

Frankel took a stab at suggesting why commission rates have not fallen, pointing to the complex and sizable nature of a home sale, regulations that have slowed the pace of change and the work of the NAR to strengthen the role of agents through advertising and lobbying. But he concludes that experts do not know why Realtor commissions have survived the online blitzkrieg.

Frankel suggests another possible answer in the title of his article: While the internet and the latest technologies have their uses, they are a cold replacement for something only a Realtor can offer: the human touch.

Know your clients

Lechleiter also says he believes in the importance of developing a personal relationship with a client and spares no opportunity to do so. When showing houses to out-of-town buyers, he judiciously creates an environment in which he and the clients can get acquainted.

Knowing his buyers will be apprehensive about being in unfamiliar territory, Lechleiter invites them to meet him first at his office, where he shows them a large map of Nashville. He then gives them a small map that indicates the locations of the properties they’ll be viewing. This allows the clients to relax, focus on the task at hand and get to know their Realtor.

“The time spent with an out-of-town buyer in your car is like a round of golf. You can’t play golf with three strangers and not be friends by the time you reach the 18th hole,” Lechleiter says. “You build confidence and trust during that time.”

Nashville Realtor Christie Wilson agrees that trust is an essential component of the relationship between a client and a Realtor. Wilson is owner of The Wilson Group Real Estate Services, which is home to about 50 of the more than 4,000 Realtors who are competing for business in Music City.

Nashville has many qualified buyers but not a lot of product.

“Things move fast in our market, so buyers need someone they can trust on their side – and trust can come only from a face-to-face encounter. They need to see that you have their back, hear the empathy in your voice for what they’re going through and understand that you’re in control and will get them to the closing table,” Wilson explains.

“Sellers need to feel confident that you will secure the right deal on their behalf. Sitting down with them at their kitchen table and talking with them is part of that process,” Wilson adds.

This is even true of millennials, whom many Realtors wrongly assume prefer to use technology to get the job done, says Doug Edrington, a Chattanooga Realtor and tech guru at Berkshire Hathaway.

“Millennials are buying houses, and Realtors think they have to communicate with them through Facebook, Snapchat and text. But while that might be how a conversation starts, even the under-30s want to eventually talk with someone. They want to look their Realtor in the eye and see that they’re on the same page.”

While the development of a personal bond is not mandatory to helping a buyer find a house, Wilson says the better she knows her clients, the more equipped she is to find a home they will love.

Plus, the bond that is formed is often strong enough to forge a friendship. As Realtors and clients view homes, make offers and work their way through the inspection, appraisal and financing processes, they spend a lot of time together. This gives the closing table a bittersweet component.

“Buyers often express feeling sad after a house closes because they’ll no longer be talking with you every day,” Wilson says. “But that’s what I love about this business – becoming friends with many of your clients.”

Perhaps Lechleiter says it best when he compares the use of a Realtor to that of hiring an attorney or doctor.

“If I’m going to go to court, I’m going to ask a lawyer to represent me, and if I’m going to have surgery, I’m going to find a good doctor. When families are making what will typically be the most expensive purchase of their life, they need an expert who can guide them through the process and help them to feel comfortable with their investment.”

Tech done right

Although Realtors can breathe easy knowing they are still essential to the buying and selling of homes, they are not off the hook when it comes to using technology. As more agents become tech savvy, everyone will be forced to adapt or go the way of the travel agent. The trick will be utilizing the tools to build bridges to customers.

The NRA suggests the majority of agents have welcomed the new gadgets and ground-breaking apps.

Wilson has the solution for agents who need less FaceTime and more face time: networking.

“Networking is important. People who are new to the business think their friends are going to use them to buy and sell but often, your friend won’t want to use you as a Realtor; they’ll continue to think of you as a friend and use one of the other dozen or so Realtors they know. So, I’m always telling agents to get outside their friend group,” Wilson says.

She adds agents must be consistently seen and engaged in order for their networking to be effective.

“You can’t be a one-hit wonder at a Chamber of Commerce meeting because no one will remember you. Find something you enjoy and will continue to do, whether it’s being plugged in at the nonprofit level, your kids’ school, or your church,” she says.

The importance of networking is just one more example of how real estate is not about leveraging technology to make a sale but about the relationship that is formed after two people connect through the digital world and together begin one of the most courageous, emotional and gratifying adventures life has to offer.

7 Realtors, West Valley, Saint Al’s, ESI honored; St. Luke’s McCall gets big donation

Real Estate

Boise Regional Realtors has named its 2017 Circle of Excellence Award recipients:

Carey Farmer, 2017 Realtor of the Year, is an associate broker at Group One Sotheby’s International Realty.

A Realtor since 2004, she is the Boise Regional Realtors’ immediate past president and has been a national director for the National Association of Realtors.

Krista Deacon, 2017 Broker of the Year, is the designated broker at Silvercreek Realty Group, the largest real estate brokerage in Idaho.

After 14 years in the mortgage industry, Deacon earned her real estate license in 2006. She is the immediate past president of the BRR Foundation.

Lisa J. Cunningham, the 2017 Rookie Realtor of the Year, is an agent with Better Homes Gardens 43° North.

She closed nearly $7 million in total sales volume in her first year as a Realtor.

Steve Cox, the 2017 Affiliate of the Year, is a branch manager at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp., with 15 years of mortgage industry experience in the Boise region.

He is chair of the BRR Political Action Committee.

Bob Van Allen, the 2017 Code of Ethics Leadership Award recipient, is the designated broker at Coldwell Banker Tomlinson Group.

Van Allen, who earned his real estate license in 2003, is a member of Idaho Realtors Professional Standards Committee.

Pam Grove, 2017 recipient of the Darlene Manning Humanitarian Award, is an agent at Silvercreek Realty Group.

A Realtor since 2006, she volunteers in Paint the Town, Rake Up Boise and several other community activities.

Alexa Head, Realtor with Group One Sotheby’s International Realty, was chosen by Carey Farmer, BRR’s immediate past president, to receive the 2017 Unsung Hero Award.

The award honors someone who was invaluable to the immediate past president during that person’s term.


The new Twin Falls St. Luke’s Ambulatory Surgical Center and the new City Center Plaza in Boise were named as two of the most significant construction projects of 2016 by the Associated General Contractors of America.

As a result, the project’s contractor, Engineered Structures Inc. of Meridian, was one of two companies that receive the association’s Alliant Build America Award for the best new building valued under $10 million (for the surgical center) and the Merit Award for new building projects valued between $10 and $99 million (for the $67 million City Center Plaza).

Health care

West Valley Medical Center received the 2017 Patient Safety Excellence Award from Healthgrades.

Health care

Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center has been re-verified as a top-tier Level II Trauma Center by the Verification Review Committee of the American College of Surgeons.

Saint Alphonsus is the highest-level trauma center in the region encompassingsouthwest Idaho, eastern Oregon and northern Nevada.


The Dr. Ezekiel and Edna Wattis Dumke Foundation awarded a $500,000 lead grant to St. Luke’s McCall Foundation’s capital campaign for an expanded surgical-services department at the McCall hospital.

Trustees structured the grant so that $250,000 would be contributed when the foundation raises a matching $250,000.

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Realtors plant sea oats as part of ‘Action Day’

Nearly 50 real estate professionals gathered on Wrightsville Beach on Tuesday, April 4 to help plant sea oats, part of the Realtor Action Day that saw more than 500 industry professionals work on community projects.

The community works event, sponsored by Cape Fear Realtors, is one of the projects that helped the organization earn a national award for community outreach, said Chief Operating Officer Shane Johnson. It’s part of the organization’s shifting focus on community outreach that impacts neighborhood, Johnson said, tying together the sea oat planting with the organization’s advocacy efforts on beach renourishment.

“The sea oats stabilize the dunes and act as one of the best ways to guard against storm damage,” Johnson said. “The beaches are an economic engine for this part of the state. That’s why we as an association are leading the charge to make beach renourishment a top priority. It’s important to us as Realtors and as a community.”

The event was one of more than 20 around the region, including putting in community gardens at New Hanover Regional Medical Center and First Christian Church, and adding marsh grass in Carolina Beach.

“We hope people will come there, relax and get some fresh vegetables,” Johnson said of the community gardens.

Members of the Cape Fear Realtors plant sea oats on Wrightsville Beach on Tuesday, April 4. Photo courtesy of Goodbye Productions,Wilmington N.C.

On March 18, the National Association of Realtors awarded Cape Fear Realtors with the Community Outreach Award, one of only six out of 1,300 state and local Realtor associations to win the award. It was the only association in North Carolina to win the award.

The National Association of Realtors cited the hosting of the Mayor’s Roundtable on Housing Affordability and 2015 Water Summit were specifically mentioned during the award presentation ceremony.  Cape Fear Realtors said it leads the state in grant and advocacy dollars awarded in grants from the National Association of Realtors on a per member basis in the past three years.

“We are in the top six percent nationwide for awarded dollars,” CEO Jerry Panz said.

Cape Fear Realtors recently changed its name from Wilmington Area Realtors Association. Johnson said the change reflected the expanded MLS system and the organization’s goal to represent the larger region.

Panz also acknowledged Johnson for his work on leading the community outreach efforts.

“His grant-writing efforts, tireless promotion of Realtor Action Day, and leadership in strengthening CFR’s advocacy efforts were noted by NAR. It is a high honor and distinction,” Panz said of Johnson.


Santa Clara County REALTORS® Visit Vietnam for Real Estate Trade Mission

SAN JOSE, Calif., April 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — 33 local delegates spent two weeks traveling through Vietnam on an investment and real estate trade mission in early March. The group included Ron Gonzales, former Mayor of San Jose, and members from the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) and the Vietnamese National Association of Real Estate Professionals (VNARP). They met with Vietnamese government officials, local real estate developers, and investors with the goal of creating bilateral investment opportunities to strengthen the development of foreign real estate investors in Vietnam and the United States.

Evan Huynh, 2017 VNARP President, said that the meetings with Vietnamese government officials provided vast knowledge on Vietnam’s rapid growing infrastructures and its emerging markets. “We also had the opportunity to share our best practices from the United States to create a bridge and exist as a gateway for real estate investments in both countries,” he said.

The Trade Mission Delegation hosted conferences in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Danang. The Danang conference was hosted by the Vice-Chairman of the Da Nang People’s Committee, The Honorable Tran Van Mien. Presentations were made by real estate professionals and government officials from both countries. The Hanoi conference was attended by The Honorable Ted Osius, the United States Ambassador to Vietnam. Leadership from the Vietnam National Real Estate Association (VNREA), the country’s largest real estate trade association, collaborated in all three conferences. (Watch the VNREA video at:

This was the first year that such a trip took place. As a result of its success, SCCAOR and VNARP plan to make it an annual event. “Our first trade mission connected us with VNREA and some of the leading developers in Vietnam, including VinGroup, CEO Group and FLC Group,” said Huynh.

Vietnam has seen a boom in recent real estate development so far this decade. Bolstered by a thriving economy and the passing of recent laws that make it easier for foreigners and overseas Vietnamese to legally own, sell and transfer real properties, Vietnam is quickly becoming a hotspot for all types for real estate development.  

SCCAOR and VNARP were also joined on the trip by members of the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA), a trade organization that aims to promote sustainable homeownership opportunities in Asian American communities. AREAA’s President Elect for 2019, Tom Truong, said that the Vietnamese people went out of their way to welcome their delegation. “They were gracious and open with sharing their current and future real estate and economic goals,” said Truong. “This positive attitude combined with the tremendous talent from our delegation will lead to the success of building many bridges between Vietnam and the United States for future real estate growth and investments.”

On April 5th, in a follow up action to the trade mission, members from SCCAOR, VNARP, and AREAA welcomed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, His Excellency Ambassador Ho Xuan Son (Consulate General of Vietnam in San Francisco) to the SCCAOR Office in San Jose. The meeting highlighted some of accomplishments of the recent Vietnam Trade Mission, and explored opportunities for future collaboration with the Consul General.

Local Realtors achieve ‘Green Designation’ – Seacoast Online

PORTSMOUTH — Tami Mallett and Robert Viel with Bean Group have been awarded the National Association of Realtors’ Green Designation, the only green real estate professional designation recognized by NAR.

Mallett and Viel achieved this prestigious designation after completing topic-specific course work designed specifically for Realtors. The designation courses were created in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of industry experts from across the country; ensuring designees gain comprehensive knowledge of green homes and issues of resource-efficiency in relation to real estate and home owners.

More specifically, Mallett and Viel were trained in understanding what makes a property green, helping clients evaluate the cost/benefits of resource-efficient features and practices, distinguishing between industry rating and classification systems, listing and marketing green homes and buildings, discussing the financial grants and incentives available to homeowners, and understanding how buyer and seller preferences may be inspired by resource-efficiency.

“Living green is about making healthy choices that are also easy on your wallet,” said Marc Gould, vice president of NAR’s Green Designation. “NAR Green Designees have the necessary resources and relationships to effectively work with you to find your next home or assess your next green project.”

NAR’s Green Designation was developed in response to growing consumer awareness of the benefits of resource-efficient homes and buildings. The designation helps consumers understand the positive impact of home performance and identify Realtors who can help them realize their green real estate and lifestyle goals.

As NAR Green designees, Mallett and Viel have gained the knowledge and the tools necessary to become a trusted green resource for the Greater Seacoast of New Hampshire. 

For more information about Mallett, visit or e-mail For more information about Viel, visit or email

For more about NAR’s Green Designation, visit

NAR’s Sustainability Program Releases Inaugural Report

The following information is provided by the Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD).

In the fall of last year, at the request of its members, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) created a new program to oversee its efforts related to sustainability in real estate. Two key goals of the program are to begin a dialogue with NAR members around this important and accelerating issue, and to position REALTORS® as leaders of change for the benefit of brokers, allied trade professionals, and consumers.

The program is called NAR’s Sustainability Program and is headed up by Amanda Stinton, director of Sustainability and NAR’s Green Desigantion. Her nine years of experience with the association include six years managing NAR’s Green Designation program, NAR’s e-PRO® Certification program, and NAR Tech Edge live event programming (through which local associations partner with NAR to bring technology experts directly to their memberships).

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One of the first orders of business for this new program was to commission a research study from the NAR Research division to gather the membership’s thoughts and needs, to set a sort of baseline of understanding and to obtain data that can be used to set the direction and refine goals for future efforts. According to Amanda, “this is intended to be an annual benchmark survey, so I’m eager to see what sort of shifts occur in the future.”

The inaugural report, called REALTORS® and Sustainability 2017, yielded extremely useful information. Just a few of its key findings include:

• 43 percent of respondents report their MLS has green data fields;
• 61 percent of respondents are comfortable answering clients’ questions about home performance;
• 71 percent of respondents said that energy efficiency promotion in listings was very or somewhat valuable; and
• 60 percent of respondents find clients are at least somewhat interested in sustainability.

The full report can be accessed at NAR’s website and is free to all active members of the association.

What these numbers tell us is that sustainability topics have penetrated the minds of consumers and agents, MLSs, and listing conversations to an extent that they can no longer be considered part of a niche market. Sustainability in real estate is now clearly a mainstream movement. The issue is ubiquitous enough for the association to begin stepping up its efforts in education and in shaping the conversation. The creation of NAR’s Sustainability Program and this report is just the beginning of many efforts aimed at bringing additional awareness, knowledge and resources to the entire membership so they are well-equipped for the future.

For more education about green homes and sustainability, check out this month’s featured online course at the Center for REALTOR® Development, NAR’s Green Designation: Day 1 2 Online Bundle, which is on special for 25% off this entire month of April and is the educational requirement for NAR’s Green Designation.

For more information, please visit

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Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® Publishes 2017 First Quarter Home Sales

Charlottesville Area 2017 First Quarter Highlights:

  • Home sales climbed 3.5% (595) over Q1 2016 (575), led by an increase of 6.8% in attached home sales. 
  • Greater Charlottesville median sales price rose to $270,000 (8.0%) compared to this time last year ($250,000). 
  • The median days on the market in the 1st Quarter was 28, 32-days lower than in Q1 2016.
  • New listings improved 4.2% (1,712) compared to this time last year (1,643), while inventory of homes for sale marked a 15.8% decline.
  • Pending sales was 14.1% (1,060) higher compared to Q1 2016 (929), driven by a high demand in detached homes (16.5%).

National Outlook
Residential real estate for the first quarter of 2017 is off to a good start, despite uncertain circumstances when the year began. Aside from new national leadership in Washington, D.C., and the policy shifts that can occur during such transitions, there was also the matter of continuous low housing supply, steadily rising mortgage rates, and ever-increasing home prices. Nevertheless, sales have held their own in year-over-year comparisons and should improve during the busiest months of the real estate sales cycle.

Greater Charlottesville
Closed Sales increased 2.5 percent for Single-Family Detached homes and 6.8 percent for Single-Family Attached homes. Pending Sales increased 16.5 percent for Single-Family Detached homes and 6.6 percent for Single-Family Attached homes. Inventory decreased 16.2 percent for Single-Family Detached homes and 14.2 percent for Single-Family Attached homes.

“Our market reflects the same state and national trends; low inventory and rising home prices,” said CAAR President Anthony McGhee. “The median sales price for Albemarle and Greene jumped more than 25% compared to this time last year – a significant change. While the increase in home sales price is good for sellers, buyers are still challenged with substantial low inventory, especially in Fluvanna and Greene where they saw a decline of 36% or more homes for sale.”

“The ‘spring market’ for our area came early,” said CAAR President-Elect Arleen Yobs. “Agents are extremely busy trying to secure what few houses are available for the number of buyers entering the market. This is evident in this quarter’s statistics for median days on the market and pending sales. While all six counties saw a decrease of more than 20% in median days on the market, pending sales are up dramatically (50%) for Louisa and Fluvanna.”

Albemarle County

Closed Sales decreased 1.7 percent for Single-Family Detached homes but increased 5.4 percent for Single-Family Attached homes. Pending Sales increased 10.0 percent for Single-Family Detached homes and 1.9 percent for Single-Family Attached homes. Inventory decreased 3.0 percent for Single-Family Detached homes and 4.6 percent for Single-Family Attached homes.

City of Charlottesville

Closed Sales decreased 16.4 percent for Single-Family Detached homes and 3.8 percent for Single-Family Attached homes. Pending Sales decreased 5.0 percent for Single-Family Detached homes but increased 7.8 percent for Single-Family Attached homes. Inventory decreased 23.8 percent for Single-Family Detached homes and 23.7 percent for Single-Family Attached homes.

Fluvanna County

Closed Sales increased 39.1 percent for Single-Family Detached homes but decreased 50.0 percent for Single-Family Attached homes. Pending Sales increased 52.7 percent for Single-Family Detached homes and there was 1 Pending Sale for Single-Family Attached homes. Inventory decreased 34.7 percent for Single-Family Detached homes and 75.0 percent for Single-Family Attached homes.

Greene County

Closed Sales increased 2.3 percent for Single-Family Detached homes but there were no Single-Family Attached homes Closed Sales. Pending Sales increased 13.8 percent for Single-Family Detached homes but there were no Single-Family Attached homes Pending Sales. Inventory decreased 38.6 percent for Single-Family Detached homes and 100.0 percent for Single-Family Attached homes.

Louisa County
Closed Sales increased 3.9 percent for Single-Family Detached homes and there were 4 Closed Sales for Single-Family Attached homes. Pending Sales increased 44.1 percent for Single-Family Detached homes and 400.0 percent for Single-Family Attached homes. Inventory decreased 24.0 percent for Single-Family Detached homes and 25.0 percent for Single-Family Attached homes.

Nelson County

Closed Sales decreased 6.9 percent for Single-Family Detached homes but increased 16.7 percent for Single-Family Attached homes. Pending Sales increased 14.3 percent for Single-Family Detached homes and 20.0 percent for Single-Family Attached homes. Inventory decreased 4.4 percent for Single-Family Detached homes and 16.5 percent for Single-Family Attached homes.

About CAAR
The Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) represents more than 1,000 real estate professionals in Charlottesville and Albemarle and the surrounding areas of Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson counties. This 2017 First Quarter Market Report is produced by the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® using data from the CAAR MLS, pulled Wed., Apr. 5, 2017. For more information on this report or the real estate market, contact a REALTOR® today using MYCAAR.COM.



Vacation home sales plummet for 2nd straight year: NAR

Purchases of vacation homes plummeted for the second straight year in 2016, as price growth and financial uncertainty crimped demand, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported in its 2017 Investor and Vacation Home Buyer Survey.

Yet investment home sales rose over the same period, with investors using financing more often and renting out more of their properties on a short-term basis.

Both trends played out as purchases by owner-occupant buyers climbed to their highest level in a decade.

Vacation home sales in 2016 dropped by 21.6 percent from the previous year to 721,000, according to the survey. That followed a 2015 year-over-year drop of 18.5 percent, meaning vacation home sales have fallen by 36 percent in the last two years.

“In several markets in the South and West — the two most popular destinations for vacation buyers — home prices have soared in recent years because substantial buyer demand from strong job growth continues to outstrip the supply of homes for sale,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a statement.

“With fewer bargain-priced properties to choose from and a growing number of traditional buyers, finding a home for vacation purposes became more difficult and less affordable last year.”

Volatility in financial markets in late 2015 and early 2016 also hurt vacation-home sales “as some affluent households with money in stocks likely refrained from buying or delayed plans until after the election,” he added.

But those headwinds didn’t deter real estate investors or homebuyers who planned to live in the properties they purchased.

Investment-home sales increased 4.5 percent in 2016 from the previous year to 1.14 million. And owner-occupant purchases jumped by 12.5 percent to 4.21 million, their highest level since 2006.

“Sales to individual investors reached their highest level since 2012 (1.20 million) as investors took advantage of record low mortgage rates and recognized the sizable demand for renting in their market as renters struggle to become homeowners,” Yun said.

“The ability to generate rental income or remodel a home to put back on a market with tight inventory is giving investors increased confidence in their ability to see strong returns in their home purchase.”

Anemic housing supply drove up prices for vacation and investment homes in 2016 to levels not seen in roughly a decade.

Source: NAR

The median vacation home price clocked in at $200,000, up 4.2 percent from 2015 and the highest since 2006. The median investment-home sales price was $155,000, up 8 percent from 2015 and the highest since 2005.

More investors financed their property purchases in 2016, as high-tech lenders provided historically cheap credit to home flippers and rental investors.

This caused cash purchases by investors to slip to 35 percent from 39 percent in 2015 and 41 percent in 2014. Meanwhile, the share of vacation buyers who paid fully in cash fell to 28 percent from 38 percent in 2015.

Heeding the growing popularity of short-term rental platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway, a larger share of investors and vacation homebuyers tried to rent out their properties for less than 30 days in 2016.

Forty-four percent of investors (up from 42 percent in 2015) and 29 percent of vacation homebuyers (up from 24 percent in 2015) gave this a shot.

Even more investors are likely to experiment with renting out their properties on a short-term basis this year. Twenty-one percent of buyers and 15 percent of vacation buyers did not rent out their home on a short-term basis but plan to try to in 2017.

Vacation sales accounted for 12 percent of all transactions in 2016, which was the lowest share since 2012 (11 percent) and down from 16 percent in 2015. Investors’ share of home purchases remained flat at 19 percent.

Email Teke Wiggin.

Realtors looking for more houses to meet demand

Talk to real estate professionals about their No. 1 concern these days and they’ll come back quickly with a one word answer: Inventory.

They’re looking for more people who are willing to put their homes on the market in order to satisfy the demand of potential buyers.

It’s an issue of concern in the area, as well as statewide and nationally.

“We need more houses,” said Todd Hudson, president of the Seacoast Board of Realtors and co-founder of Red Post Realty in Portsmouth. “The inventory has to catch up with the demand.”

Lack of inventory has consequences on the housing market. Fewer homes in an especially desirable market such as the Seacoast means multiple, above-asking bids on properties that don’t stay on the market for very long, contributing to rising home prices. The term often applied to such conditions is a “seller’s market.”

“It’s a great time to sell,” said Nathan Dickey, president of the Strafford County Board of Realtors, broker and owner of Keller Williams Realty in Portsmouth. “I think what you’re going to see moving forward is some values being pushed up.”

The Seacoast board, in tracking 13 sample communities in the region, reported that in February inventory had declined by 22 percent from the year before.

One statistic tracked by real estate professionals as a barometer of inventory is how quickly homes sell – days on market.

In Strafford County, for example, the days on market in February for single-family homes was 89, compared to 111 days in February 2016.

In an analysis of sales trends in February, the New Hampshire Association of Realtors noted that “the low inventory situation and affordability crunch has been particularly hard on first-time buyers struggling to get into the market.”

Statewide, according to the association, new Listings were down 20.5 percent for single family homes and 21 percent for condo properties in February, which, traditionally, is not considered a good month of real estate sales.

The National Association of Realtors also took note of the low-inventory consequences.

It said “the market needs to see a growth in for sale inventory, otherwise the nation’s low homeownership rate will struggle to rise in 2017.”

National association statistics cited in a recent Bloomberg article showed that from December 2016 through February 2017, less than four months’ supply of existing houses were on the market, compared with a post-recession high of about 12 months’ worth in mid-2010. Such a lean supply over a similar time frame has never been recorded in about two decades of data, it said.

Realtors don’t believe the homeownership trend will struggle in this region.

“We’re in a very robust market,” Dickey said.

Portsmouth and Dover are pushing the market toward increasing property values and sales prices, according to Dickey.

Hudson pointed to communities such as Portsmouth, Exeter, Hampton and Newmarket where right-priced homes are getting three and four offers above asking price.

“Those areas are just cruising,” he said. “You can keep them on the market long enough right now.”

Areas of Strafford County – Dover, pockets of Rochester, Madbury, Barrington, and Durham – are seeing the kind of multiple, cash and over-asking price offers that had been more characteristic in Portsmouth through 2016.

One factor for the push up to communities along Route 16 is “the bridge is becoming less and less a factor,” Dickey said.

“The bridge” referenced by Dickey is the Little Bay Bridges, a long-time impediment to the morning and evening flow of traffic in the region. The bridges and Route 16 (Spaulding Turnpike) itself are being widened to accommodate the traffic in a $218 million project that is scheduled to be completed by late 2020 or early 2021.

Hudson also doesn’t believe the low inventory will be a deterrent as the spring real estate market begins to bloom.

With mortgage rates at a 20-year low, even despite the inching up of rates of late, Hudson said buyers are still active in the region.

“It’s a good time to be a buyer, it’s a great time to be a seller,” he said.