News

Recent news, business resources and press releases.

What do YOU think about signs?

We want to know how you feel about signs!   

Background Information on Signs

Spotsylvania County has changed the way it enforces its sign policy. The underlying zoning ordinance on signs is not changing.  It has always been illegal to place signs in the VDOT right-of-way, but the County has historically suspended enforcement of its sign rules from 12:00pm on Friday to 12:00pm on Monday.

The Board of Supervisors voted to eliminate the weekend grace period of sign enforcement.  The Board has received significant negative feedback on the proliferation of advertising signs throughout the County.  While the Board’s action does not target real estate in anyway, there is no legal mechanism for exempting signs by the words on the sign so our members who put up temporary directional signs for open houses will be impacted.

The County began enforcing the sign rules full time as of the last week of February.  Zoning officials and public works employees are authorized to pick up signs in violation of the rules and there is a process for retrieving those signs.  At this point, there is no fee associated with a violation.  Many of the surrounding jurisdictions have similar strict sign rules that prohibit directional signs on public land and in the VDOT right-of-way.

 

Take the survey linked below and be entered for a chance to win a $50 Target gift card!

Bowling Mixer Postponed

The FAAR Bowling Mixer scheduled for Monday, March 16 at Splitsville is POSTPONED. FAAR’s main priority is to keep our members safe and healthy. With that in mind, we are exercising an abundance of caution and postponing this event, and likely other events and classes, until public health officials deem the threat of coronavirus exposure to be significantly reduced.

What does this mean for you? No action is required on your part. You will be automatically registered for the rescheduled event. FAAR leadership and staff will continue to monitor this developing situation and schedule postponed events accordingly.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you and will keep you posted on further postponements of FAAR events and classes. Stay healthy, FAAR members!

February market hot, but what lies ahead?

February continued the local real estate market’s trend of increasing sales volume and median price coupled with decreasing days on market   FAAR Board Member Randy Walther states, “The market was active for February continuing a strong winter season. My office was busy with sellers listing early to take advantage of warm weather and sparse listings in the area. Buyers are seeing the benefit of historically low interest rates.”  But the excitement over a hot February is certainly tempered by fears of a coronavirus-fueled recession and what that could mean for real estate across the country. 

Sold dollar volume was up in February nearly 35%, jumping from approximately $106.4 million last February to more than $143.5 million this year.  The increase in volume was fueled by a more than 20% increase in units sold and a more than 15% increase in median sold price.  There were 429 properties sold this year compared to 357 last February with a median price of $316,000 in 2020 compared to $274,000 in February 2019. 

Days on market, the time it takes from when a listing enters the market until it receives a ratified contract and is removed from active status on the multiple listing service, fell 8% with houses averaging 56 days on the market in February 2020 compared to 61 days in February 2019.

Overall active listings were down nearly 18% this February compared to last year, but the month posted a more than 8% increase in new listings coming on the market.  Prospective buyers have 1,140 homes to choose from right now, with 783 new listings coming onto the market.  Commenting on the market for February, Walther observes, “It appears that there is no real buying and selling season anymore. When a property comes on the market there is always a surge of activity. If there was more to sell there would be more buyers.”

Virginia Realtors® Chief Economist Dr. Lisa Sturtevant advises that the economic fundamentals that support a healthy housing market remain strong in the Commonwealth and that the housing market is well-positioned to handle a short-term impact on the economy from coronavirus.  High-income households could see dampened demand as they tend to have more money tied up in the stock market and may be planning to use those now fluctuating resources on a new home purchase.  If concern about the virus continues, there could be a modest slowdown in traffic and homes sales in the weeks to come.  However, if that does happen, it is expected to be of short duration and the lost sales will likely be made up in future months

Call for Action: Association Healthcare Plans

Approximately 7,000 Virginia REALTORS® go without health insurance each year and many others struggle to pay the high costs for coverage.

The Virginia General Assembly has passed two Virginia REALTORS® supported bills that could allow REALTORS® to obtain more affordable health insurance. But our fight isn’t over yet. 

Both House Bill 795 and Senate Bill 235 passed the General Assembly with nearly unanimous bipartisan support. The passage of these bills will allow Virginia REALTORS® to request that the State Corporation Commission seek a waiver to current federal law and, if approved, to then work with insurance providers in an effort to develop a menu of affordable health insurance plans for you and your family.  

Please click below to ask Governor Northam to sign these bills.

NAR Offers Cyber Liability Insurance

On February 20th, NAR announced a partnership with CyberPolicy® to deliver a new cyber liability insurance program designed to meet the unique needs of real estate professionals. As NAR continues to combat the escalating threat of fraud in the real estate industry by offering educational and preventative resources to members, the partnership will help REALTOR®-owned brokerages efficiently compare, quote and purchase quality cyber insurance plans from a select group of carriers who understand the unique needs of real estate professionals and offer exclusive NAR member benefits.

Know someone planning to attend the University of Richmond? FABA has a scholarship for them!

The Fredericksburg Area Builders Association has a scholarship program for students from the area who are attending the University of Richmond.  It is open to ANY student in the qualifying region so if you know a high school senior planning to attend UR in the fall, send them the information below!

The Steigleder Family Scholarship Fund awards scholarships to one or more academically outstanding students who qualify for admission, and plan to attend (or who are already attending) the University of Richmond as a full-time undergraduate student. The scholarship amounts awarded in the past few years have ranged between $3,000 – $6,500 per student each year (renewable annually with re-application, provided that the recipient continues to be enrolled as an undergraduate at the University of Richmond and maintains satisfactory academic citizenship).

The application deadline is April 15, 2020. Students who are awarded scholarships will be notified no later than April 25, 2020.

The Steigleder Family Scholarship Fund was established in 1998 by a past president of the Fredericksburg Area Builders Association.  This scholarship is ONLY available to students from the Fredericksburg Area (Caroline County, City of Fredericksburg, King George County, Orange County, Spotsylvania County, and Stafford County) with preference given to residents of Caroline County, Virginia.

The University of Richmond will approve and confirm that all scholarship applicants meet the conditions of the scholarship criteria. Scholarship recipients must be enrolled full-time in a degree program at the University of Richmond. Additionally, recipients must be a resident of the Fredericksburg Area (Caroline County, City of Fredericksburg, King George County, Orange County, Spotsylvania County, Stafford County) with preference to a resident of Caroline County, VA. The scholarship will be applied to the recipient’s financial aid package at the time eligibility is confirmed. If the recipient is also receiving need-based financial aid, this scholarship will first be used to replace need-based loans and/or work study. Grant assistance will be reduced, if necessary, to keep the total of all aid within the student’s demonstrated financial need.

Spotsy Sign Enforcement Changes

Spotsylvania County is changing its sign enforcement policy.  The underlying zoning ordinance on signs is not changing.  It has always been illegal to place signs in the VDOT right-of-way, but the County has historically suspended enforcement of its sign rules from 12:00pm on Friday to 12:00pm on Monday.  The Board of Supervisors voted to eliminate the weekend grace period of sign enforcement.  The County has released guidance on the new enforcement policy which is linked below.  

Chatham Bridge, baseball stadium, new parks…there is a lot going on in the City!

There is a ton going on in the City of Fredericksburg as attendees as the most recent real estate roundtable learned.  There is lots of commercial and residential development with projects like Liberty Place and Telegraph Hill.  The baseball stadium is on track to open for the Fred Nats first game on April 23.  The Chatham Bridge is being closed for reconstruction and a huge marketing campaign is kicking off to get people ready for the detours.  Check out the presentation by the City on the Chatham Bridge and how it might impact you and your clients.

#MemberMonday Meet REALTOR® Danielle Kitzmiller

The Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS® Member Spotlight feature allows members of the community to get to know each other before working with each other in a transaction. Each member answers a series of questions to reveal more about themselves as people.  It is FAAR’s hope that learning about an individual may spark connections that blossom via email, phone conversations or in-person meetings at events and classes.

Name
Danielle Kitzmiller

Hometown
Swindon, United Kingdom

Current Location
Stafford

Title
REALTOR® with Holt for Homes

Number of Years in the Industry
3

Why do you love working in real estate?
This industry really ticks all the boxes for me. I am a bubbly easy going people person, who loves to share in the excitement of finding new homes for my clients. I realized a long time ago I was not cut out for the monotony of a 9-5 office job and so this career field works perfect. My husband and I often used to tour open houses for fun, so how great that now I get to do it as a job!

Favorite Work Story 
last year I was videoing a home for an out of state client, when stepped out the back door outside and very nearly stood on a snake, the choice words that came out of my mouth as I was trying to avoid swearing in my english accent were interesting. I decided to go ahead send the video to my client (since I had no intention of going back to redo!) of which they found extremely amusing. It worked out well though, as they posted all over social media how totally committed their realtor was, which was very appreciated! They didn’t buy that house though!!

What are you most proud of in your career?
I’m am most proud of being able to successfully balance being a full time REALTOR® with also running a mobile dog grooming business as well as being a mother to two young boys. It can mean very long hours at times, but I love it

Do you have a special cause or volunteer your time?
I am all about the military clients. I am a spouse of a retired air force member as well as being an air force brat, so I know all too well the stresses that go along with pcs’ing. I offer a rebate program to my military clients (as well as others) as a thank you for your service and for choosing me!

Fun Fact
Currently in the process of interviewing to be an agent on House Hunters!

January Posts Big Gains in Local Real Estate Market

January kicked 2020 off to a swift start in the local real estate market echoing sentiments heard from Realtors® across the region that the spring market is starting earlier and earlier in recent years.  Sold dollar volume was up 38% year-over-year, going from approximately $89 million in January of 2019 to over $122.7 million in January of 2020.  The increase was fueled by a nearly 31% jump in units sold with 385 properties changing hands this January compared to 295 last year.  Median sold price saw modest appreciation with a 5% year-over-year increase, going from $289,990 last year to $305,000 this January. 

“Over the past few years, our spring market has started earlier and earlier,” states FAAR Board Member Clay Murray.  “This year is no different with our sellers lining up listing appointments around the holidays and our buyers ready to explore listings starting on New Year’s Day.  We’re confident more homes will be coming to market as we experience this trend of an earlier spring market.” 

Days on market, the time it takes from when a listing enters the market until it receives a ratified contract and is removed from active status on the multiple listing service, fell 14% with houses averaging 56 days on the market in January 2019 compared to just 48 days in January of 2020. 

The available supply of homes was a big story in January, falling to a historic low of just 1.96 months of supply, with 1,149 active listings.  Months of supply calculates how long it would take for all the current homes on the market to sell, given the pace of sales in the market.  A balanced market will usually see a 4 to 6-month supply of homes, under 2 shows a very competitive market and a potential lack of options for buyers.  Ten years ago, the available supply of homes exceeded 5 months.  To take a trip even farther back down memory lane, in January of 2000, there were 200 homes sold with a median sales price of $141,939 and average days on market exceeding 70 days. 

Caroline, Spotsylvania, and Stafford saw significant jumps in real estate activity.  Caroline County led the pack with a more than 115% increase in volume of sales fueled by a 72% increase in homes sold.  Spotsylvania County saw a nearly 50% increase in both volume of sales and units sold.  Stafford Count rounded out the top three in the region with a nearly 30% increase in volume sold and a 23% increase in units sold. 

Continues Murray, “I’m not sure if we can pinpoint the cause of the earlier buyer activity to a new year, new home mentality or changes in the local school calendars, or simply less inclement weather, but it’s a definite trend we’re seeing and guiding clients through accordingly.” 

Press Releases

NAR Real Estate Forecast: Slower Growth, Price Gains to Continue

From the National Association of Realtors Real Estate Forecast Summit on December 11, 2019.... Slower Growth, Price Gains to Continue“Real estate is on firm ground with little chance of price declines,” says NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “However, in...

Cooler Weather Can’t Chill the November Real Estate Market

The real estate market posted a strong November with gains in total volume, median price, and units sold and a decrease in days on market.  Total sold dollar volume increased nearly 24%, going from approximately $120.3 million in November of 2018 to nearly...

Local Real Estate Market Remains Strong in October

The October real estate market posted a large increase in sold volume fueled by double digit rise in number of units sold.  Total sold dollar volume increased from $138 million in October of 2018 to $178.1 million in October of 2019, representing a 29%...

Median house price up $20K across Fred region

The local economy remained healthy throughout the 3rd quarter of 2019.  Unemployment remains very low along with interest rates with no indication of either situation changing in the near future.  Sales continued to grow throughout the FAAR footprint, with...

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