Blacksburg Real Estate News & Trends

Saying the Blacksburg townhome market is hot, would certainly be an understatement. As depicted, there are currently four times as many townhomes under contract than for sale on the market. The graphic above paints a strong picture of what we have seen this year in this segment of the market.

Although the total number of units sold this year has decreased from the same period last year by 5%, we have seen an increase in the average sales price and a dramatic decrease in the average days on market. We can attribute these changes to a couple of factors. First, as we are hearing across the nation, the number of homes being listed for sale has decreased for the third straight year. High demand and low supply is the perfect formula to sell your home fast and for the highest price. The average price in most neighborhoods has increased, but the 9% increase seen across the entire townhome market is mostly due to the number of townhomes sold over the $250,000 price point. Eighteen townhomes have sold in this price point versus eight townhomes last year during the same period. A decrease in the average days on market of 56% from last year is the most impressive statistic. Just four years ago you could barley give away a Pheasant Run townhome. The most recent one to come on the market in Pheasant Run Crossing was under contract in three days.  

We anticipate the same market conditions for 2018. Curious about the value of your home, contact us for your free market analysis!

Posted by James Nolen on November 17th, 2017 1:17 PM

Rarely does a day go by we do not see an inquiry from clients, customers, or Realtors asking about townhomes for sale in the Town of Blacksburg. It is clear demand exists in this segment of the market when you look at the typical student housing needs coupled with President Sand's goal of increasing Virginia Tech's student body by 5,000 over the next six to eight years. This is a great time to take advantage of a seller's market if you have been thinking about selling. Stay tuned for more data specific to this market coming soon!

Posted by James Nolen on November 3rd, 2017 1:59 PM

For many seniors, aging in place doesn’t mean staying in their long-term family home. For some, moving to a new house is the best way to make sure they are able to live healthy, independent lives in their later years. Here are some tips for seniors making a big move.


Stage one: packing & downsizing


Once you’ve made the decision to move to a new home, it’s never too early to begin the packing and downsizing process. Most seniors moving to a new home will be downsizing, and the simple math says that you won’t have enough room for everything you currently own in your new place. It isn’t just about math, however, as downsizing offers plenty of mental and physical benefits to seniors as well.


Downsizing is essentially decluttering your life. It’s getting rid of all the things you don’t need. It’s a streamlining process.


“Take time to clarify which possessions are really important to you, not just what you like or are used to having around. Sometimes it helps to ask yourself the question, “If I had only 5 minutes before disaster hit my home, what would I grab to preserve?” This process will help identify items you want to make sure to move with you,” suggests


As you pack, try starting with the outer reaches of your home - your attic, basement, closets, and guest rooms. There you’ll find more non-essential items to donate or throw away. Make decisions on which items move and which don’t as you proceed with packing. Making a “maybe” pile is often counterproductive. When you pack, make sure to diligently label boxes as “fragile” or “very important”. Pack a box full of your essential items like medications, clothing, bathroom supplies, and medical equipment and label it “open first”.


Stage two: The actual move


While you can likely handle most of the packing yourself (and you should, as it saves time and money in the long run), the actual move will most certainly require some help. If you have relatives with free time and a truck - great, you’re lucky. Don’t be hesitant to ask for their help. They love you and they owe you (you know all you’ve done for them!).


Many seniors will need to hire professional movers, however.


You’ll want to do research on various companies online, through phone calls, and through advice from friends and others in your community. Always get quotes from at least three companies, and use those quotes to leverage a good price. Be wary of taking the lowest bid, as that company may be cutting corners.


“Never hire a mover who gives you a quote based on cubic feet. Never, ever sign blank paperwork, or paperwork that hasn’t been fully explained,” says


Stage three: Settling in


Once all your stuff is moved into your new home, the hard part begins. Settling into a new home can be difficult for anyone, but for seniors is can cause feelings of depression, anxiety, confusion, and even affect your sleep. Some call these symptoms felt shortly after moving Relocation Stress Syndrome. It’s important to know that these feelings are normal, and you will get past them.


You final steps include meeting your new neighbors. They will be a big help if you need assistance in the future. You should begin to unpack strategically, starting with your most-used items.


Each stage of moving houses comes with its own set of struggles and stresses, but if you’re committed to aging in place it is often the right decision.

Written by Jim Vogel

Posted by James Nolen on June 8th, 2017 10:55 AM

We are seeing low inventory levels in the towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg. These graphs show the declining months supply of homes over the last three years. You may be asking yourself, "What do these figures mean?". Simply put, if no new listings came on the market, this is the number of months that the existing homes for sale would all be sold based on the current pace of home sales. If the trend continues, we could see these areas enter into even more of a seller's market. If you have been considering selling your home and would like to meet with a real estate professional, our team would be happy to discuss how we can help you meet your real estate goals!
Posted by James Nolen on January 23rd, 2017 12:09 PM

According to an exclusive survey of buyers by® 52% of all homes bought in 2017 will be purchased by first-time home buyers - and 61% of those homebuyers will be millennials (under the age of 35.).

This represents a marked shift from the robust 2016 housing market where 33% of those planning a home purchase were doing so for the first time.

“With so many first-time buyers in the market, competition will be even fiercer next year for affordable starter homes in the suburbs," said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for®. "Those looking to buy may want to consider a winter home purchase in order to avoid bidding wars and higher prices spurred by a potential increase in millennial buyers.”

Other notable charactertistics of 2017 homebuyers, according to the survery, include:

  • More respondents named coming up with a down payment (37%) at the top of their financial concerns compared to finding a home within their budget (30%).
  • The vast majority prefer single-family homes (39%) or townhomes (34%) with only 10% interested in condos and only 15% interested in multi-family homes.
  • The suburbs are still the preferred location of the majority (43%). But milennials say the cities are their second choice.

For more details, see:

Are you considering buying or selling a home in the Blacksburg area? With a vividly changing housing market predicted just around the corner, working with a dedicated local real estate professional will give you the critical edge you need to meet your real estate goals. Please contact The Nolen Group if we can be of assistance.


Posted by James Nolen on November 29th, 2016 12:25 AM

Third Qtr Res Sales in VAThird quarter performance indicates sustained strength in the Virginia residential real estate
market, according to the most recent Virginia Association of REALTORS Home Sales Report for the third quarter of 2016.

"“Virginia’s third quarter housing market performance illustrates opportunity for both buyers and sellers,” said 2016 VAR President Bill White. “It’s a great time to list, as demand is still high from buyers who weren’t satisfied with limited summer inventory and prices are buoyed by their motivation. For buyers, more options are coming onto the market while they can still take advantage of historically low interest rates.”

Highlights from the report include:

  • Both the total number of sales and the value of transactions rose from the same period last year, to 32,949 units and $10.821 billion, respectively. 
  • Year-to-date, the value of transactions has risen to $29.155 billion, up 6.9 percent from the first nine months of 2015.
  • Volume for the quarter - the sum of all transactions for July, August, and September of 2016 - was 5.8 percent higher than the same period last year, and 17.6 percent higher than the third quarter of 2014. 
  • Median price increased by 1.9 percent over last year’s third quarter, rising from $265,000 to $270,000.  
  • Year-over-year, third quarter home sales increased in all price bands except the lowest, where limited inventory restricts market activity. 
  • Sales increased in every region of the state except the Eastern Region, which accounts for less than 2 percent of all transactions.  
To download the full report, click here: Virginia Home Sales Report.2016 Q3.pdf

Posted by James Nolen on October 28th, 2016 6:16 PM
NationalSalesTrendsAugust home sales increased 5.8% over a year ago, reversing July’s decline of 8.8%. At the same time, the median price climbed 5.1% as steady monthly increases continued. August sales were up year-over-year in 41 of the 53 U.S. metro areas analyzed in the RE/MAX National Housing Report. Twelve metro areas posted double-digit increases, including major markets along the east coast from Washington, DC to Charlotte, NC. So far in 2016, seven of the eight months have seen year-over-year sales increases nationally.
The August Median Sales Price climbed 5.1% to $225,900 from $215,000 seen in August last year. From January through August, the average year-over-year Median Sales Price increase was 3.9%. Three Florida metro areas were among the seven posting double-digit increases. Only four markets, including two in the Northeast, saw price declines. Inventory remained tight in August, averaging a 3.4 months supply. While 6 months is considered a balanced market, 23 of the 53 markets surveyed by RE/MAX reported less than half of that. In fact, seven cities had less than 2 months of inventory, including four on the West Coast.
August’s nearly 6% sales increase over last year is providing a strong finish for the summer home selling and buying season. While July saw a decline, August built upon the trends in the spring and early summer. Coupled with moderating price increases, the sales growth we’re seeing represents a market that’s very sustainable," said Dave Liniger, RE/MAX CEO, Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder. 
Closed Transactions – Year-over-year change
In the 53 metro areas surveyed in August, the average number of home sales increased by 5.8% compared to one year ago, and was 2.8% higher than the previous month. To date in 2016, August was the seventh month with a year-over-year increase in sales. This month, 41 markets experienced an increase in sales with 12 markets seeing double-digit-increases in sales year-over-year. Those markets include Raleigh & Durham, N.C. +14.5%, Charlotte, N.C. +13.6%, Boise, ID +13.5%, Washington, D.C. +12.7% Richmond, VA +12.6%, Providence, RI +12.5% and Phoenix, AZ +12.3%.
Median Sales Price – Median of 53 metro median prices
In August, the median of all 53 metro Median Sales Prices was $225,900, up slightly at 0.4% from July 2016 and up 5.1% from August 2015. This 5.1% year-over-year rise is noticeably less than the 7.5% increases seen in August over the past two years. Additionally, of the 53 metro areas surveyed in August, only four had a year-over-year drop in Median Sales Price. The remaining 49 metros reported higher prices than one year ago, with seven rising by double-digit percentages, including Tampa, FL +15.5%, Orlando, FL +14.1%, Charlotte, N.C. +11.8%, Denver, CO +11.7%, Miami, FL +11.6%, Portland, OR +11.5% and Dallas/Fort Worth, TX +10.4%.
Days on Market – Average of 53 metro areas
The average Days on Market for homes sold in August was 54, up one day from the average in July 2016, and down five days from August 2015. August becomes the 41st consecutive month with a Days on Market average of 80 or less. The two markets with the lowest Days on Market are Denver and Omaha at 24. The highest Days on Market averages continue to be in Augusta, ME at 135, and Des Moines, IA at 93. Days on Market is the number of days between when a home is first listed in an MLS and a sales contract is signed.  

Months Supply of Inventory – Average of 53 metro areas
The number of homes for sale in August was down 4.2% from July, and down 16.6% from August 2015. Based on the rate of home sales in August, the Months Supply of Inventory was 3.4, which is similar to both last month and last year at 3.5 and 4.1 respectively. A 6.0 month supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. This month, 23 of the 53 metro areas had less than half of what is considered a balanced inventory supply. The markets with the lowest Months Supply of Inventory are Denver, CO 1.4, San Francisco, CA 1.4, Seattle, WA 1.5, and Boston, MA 1.6.
Posted by James Nolen on September 28th, 2016 12:27 PM

No More Cables - Is This Where Your Internet Service Will Come from in the Future? Google Fiber Tests Super-Fast Beaming Service....

* Originally published on, byHenry Grabar, staff writer for Slate’s Moneybox * 
Google Fiber

Tired of digging up front lawns and fighting over telephone poles, Google Fiber is expanding its plan to include the transmission of super-fast internet through the air.
So the model is changing. The next rounds of expansion—to cities including Chicago, Los Angeles, and Dallas—will be predicated on wireless transmission, the Wall Street Journal reports. Roll-outs in San Jose and Silicon Valley in California, and Portland, Oregon, have been suspended as the company adjusts its tactics.So far, Google Fiber has built out its municipal internet service in a half-dozen U.S. cities by laying cables in the ground or stringing them along utility poles. Depending on your package, it can be cheaper than buying internet from Comcast or Verizon, and it’s much, much faster than traditional service. Naturally, it’s not a money-maker for Alphabet, Google’s parent company, in part because of the high costs of expanding the network.
It’s all happened very fast: In February, Google applied for Federal Communications Commission permission to test experimental transmitters in Kansas City, Missouri. In April, Google Fiber got permission from the Kansas City Council to conduct a two-year trial of wireless internet beamed from antennae mounted on light poles and other structures, both indoors and out. Those transmissions will take place on a slice of spectrum in the 3.5-GHz band called the “Citizens Broadband Radio Service,” which the FCC opened up in 2015. In June, Google Fiber acquired Webpass, a wireless internet service provider that combines landline ethernet with beams of internet between rooftop transmitters. Two weeks ago, in a filing with the FCC first spotted byBusiness Insider, Google asked for approval to test wireless transmitters in two dozen cities.
The filing indicates Google Fiber plans initial deployment in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and San Jose, as well as in Boulder, Colorado; Kansas City, Kansas; Omaha; Raleigh; Provo, Utah; and Reston, Virginia. This isn’t a substitute for Fiber, at least for now—the filing is for a volunteer group of “trusted testers” and rules out any commercial operations. Still, it suggests a potentially revolutionary technology with a “radius of operations” that extends up to 24 miles from the transmitter. Google is also seeking permission to test in some of the nation’s largest cities, including Phoenix, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and Austin.
According to a timeline that Google presented to Kansas City leaders this spring, testing wasn’t supposed to begin until November 2017. But the latest filing—and the stalled projects in San Jose, Portland and elsewhere—suggests the company wants to figure out its approach to internet in the sky before it keeps digging in the ground.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.
Posted by James Nolen on September 1st, 2016 8:04 AM
While headlines abound about the amount of student debt burdening millennials and how the generation tends to be transient, the national numbers tell a different story. According to the 2016 National Association of Realtors® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study, millennials were the largest group of home buyers, constituting thirty-five percent of the buyers nationwide.

Surprised? Read on for more facts and figures about millennials and home buying:

  • The typical age of the millennial home-buyer was just 30 years-old.
  • Millennials made up sixty-five percent (65%) of first-time home-buyers.
  • Ninety-seven percent (97%) of home-buying millennials were able to finance their home purchase, with a median downpayment of seven percent (7%).
  • Forty-four percent (44%) of home-buying millennials reported student debt with a median amount of $25,000. Student debt was often cited as a reason for difficulty in saving for the downpayment.
  • However, millennial home-buyers did NOT have the MOST reported student debt. Generation X buyers reported a higher median amount of student debt ($28,000), than millennials' median $25,000.
  • Eight-nine percent (89%) of millennials used a real estate agent in the purchase of their home, and eighty-two percent (82%) said they would use their agent again and/or recommend their agent to others.
  • Millennial home-buyers are moving to the suburbs. Seventeen percent fewer millennials purchased homes in urban areas. The majority of all home-buyers purchase single-family homes in suburban areas.
  • Throughout all generations of home-buyers, the younger the buyer, the older the home they purchased.
Are you on the hunt for a home? Contact me to learn about the free tools I offer to home-buyers. I would welcome the opportunity to serve you!

Posted by James Nolen on June 21st, 2016 11:18 AM

A First-time Homebuyer Savings Plan allows any Virginian to set aside up to $50,000 toward the costs of closing on a new home. The earnings on those funds — interest and capital gainsare free from Virginia state taxes forever. 

FHSPs are a great way for future homeowners to start saving early for the costs of buying a home.

These accounts are simple and easy to set up. Not only can you open a new one, you can also designate almost any existing account as an FHSP. To create an FHSP, you simply include a form when you file your state taxes. (It will indicate that you should not be taxed on any earnings — e.g., interest or capital gains — because of the account’s FHSP status.)

After you use the money toward the closing costs on a fi st home (yours or someone else’ssee below), you send in a different form to the Department of Taxation showing that the funds were put toward an eligible cost.

Q: What kinds of accounts can be FHSPs?

A: Almost any account you have with a financial institution: mutual funds, CDs, brokerage (stocks, bonds, etc.), money markets, insurance, even a savings account. FHSPs can also include individual stocks.

Q: How much can I put in a FHSP account?

A: You can contribute up to a total of $50,000 in principal, and the account can grow in value up to $150,000. You can put that $50,000 in all at once, or you can contribute over the years. There is no limit on how long the account can exist.

Q: What can I use the money for?

A: A FHSP account can be used to pay for just about anything related to closing on a home — anything included on the settlement statement: closing costs, inspections, lender fees, etc. These are all considered eligible costs.

Q: What is considered a first-time home buyer?

A: A first-time buyer is: Someone who has never purchased a home before. That includes single-family homes, condos, coops, townhouses, or mobile homes. (It does not include land or commercial property.)

If you owned a home at some point but did not purchase one e.g., if you inheritedyou can still qualify.

Q: Can I use the money to pay for someone elses closing costs?

A: Yes. As long as the person you’re giving the money to (e.g., child, grandchild, niece, and even a close friend) is a first-time homebuyer.

Q: Can I use my FHSP funds if I’m buying a home with someone who is not a first-time buyer (e.g., a spouse who once bought a home)?

A: Yes, as long as you qualify as a first-time buyer.

Q: What if I move out of Virginia?

A: Eligible costs only apply to a first time home purchase in Virginia.

Q: What if I die?

A: The account would be handled like any other part of your estate, but the benefit of the account would not have to pay taxes on the assets in the account. This is sometimes referred to as a “stepped-up basis, which generally happens when a person dies and real estate transfers to his heirs.


There are lots of scenarios or “use cases” where a FHSP makes sense. Here are several simple scenarios:

Funding for a child

Phillip and Leigh put $10,000 into a mutual fund that they will use to help their son buy his first home. The money grows over the years. When their son is 26, he decides to buy a home. They sell the shares in the fund — now worth $18,500 — and give it to their son to help with his down payment.

Normally they would pay state tax on the $8,500 in earnings, but they file a FHSP form with their Virginia taxes and don’t have to pay a cent in state taxes.

Taxes on the interest

Alfonzo and Patricia take $1,000 they received as a wedding gift and open a money market account at their bank. They plan to use it towards the closing costs of their fi st home. Over the next several years they add money when they can, eventually using it towards their closing costs when they buy their fiRst home.

Each year, Alfonzo and Patricia file their Virginia taxes, they claimed FHSP status as part of their state tax returns, so they are exempt from state tax for all the earnings on that account so long as they use the funds for an eligible cost”.


Changing your mind

Emma decides to start putting money away for a first home when she graduates college. She opens a high-yield savings account with a few hundred dollars and adds to it when she can over the next 12 years. The account grows.

Each year, Emma files an FHSP form with the Department of Taxation so she doesn’t have to pay Virginia tax on the interest she’s earned.

Then Emma marries Sam, and Sam already owns a house. She won’t need the money after all. They decide to use it for a vacation instead.

Because Emma used the money for a “non-eligible” purpose — the vacation — Emma must now pay the back taxes on the 12 years of earnings on the account, as well as a five percent penalty on the amount of the earnings over that 12-year period.

Looking for more information about home-buying and the Blacksburg--Christiansburg area real estate market? Check out the "Buyers' Experience" and "Local Resources" sections of, call me at 540.553.5742 or email me at

Posted by James Nolen on May 31st, 2016 1:41 PM

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