Less than eight weeks ago I was asked to contribute my thoughts on the farm and estate market in the Charlottesville area which I consider as the seven counties that surround Charlottesville; Albemarle, Orange, Madison, Greene, Nelson, Fluvanna and Louisa. My outlook was carefully pessimistic, bemoaning the lack of activity while advising buyers about the excellent inventory and great values among motivated sellers.
Apparently the sluggish market was at a tipping point as we have seen a flurry of activity in the last two months that I believe indicate a change in the direction of this exciting segment of our real estate market. Jump started by a round of significant price drops, several large farms have gone under contract recently in Albemarle as well as Greene, Madison and Orange counties. Many of these properties had been on the market for two or more years and were now generating excitement and offers. There were 25 sales of properties over $750,000 with more than 15 acres in the last six months and there are currently 18 similar properties under contract in our market area.
Several factors have come together in the last year to help with the farm and estate market. The robust stock market has improved net worth and confidence for affluent buyers. The booming residential market in Charlottesville has restored faith in real estate ownership in general as an appreciating asset and most sellers have come to terms with realistic pricing making investing in country property an understandable value proposition.
As the real estate market reacts to supply and demand, the farm and estate market typically lags behind, responding more slowly since immediacy is rarely part of the buyer profile. Recent activity is encouraging and seems to be indicating that the buyers are back in the picture. If inventory fails to keep up with this increased demand we could see prices begin to rise again for farms and estates and rural property in general.
My advice to sellers is to strike while the iron is hot.. while out of town buyers are in town enjoying our beautiful countryside and Spring weather. Now is the perfect time for a price reduction to stimulate activity among buyers ready to pull the trigger once again. Here are some of my current offerings with recent price reductions poised to take advantage of an improved market.
Misty Ridge 20 acre Keswick horse farm Reduced $100,000
Octonia Highlands Farm 82 acre farm in the South River Valley Reduced $100,000
Brills Shop Farm 191 acre grazing farm Reduced $100,000
Etlan Road, Spectacular Madison County Farm with views of Old Rag, Reduced $15,000