Red-hot real estate market forcing Valley families to make hard decisions | Nvdaily | Ezine Daddy

DOE HILLS – The laughter and shouts of their three children drowned out the wind that carried snow across Highland County as Matthew and Jessica Via walked outside the old house in Doe Hill on Sunday.

“We needed the space,” said Matthew Via, 30.

“There’s no room at all where we are now,” said Jessica Via, 32.

The family rented a one-width trailer in Greenville and just bought the four-bedroom, 2-acre home in Doe Hill, Highland County for $100,000 after a 60-day search. The house will still need some work, such as B. Sewage system updates before the vias can move in.

For Matthew, the move means a one-hour drive to his job as a service advisor at Hershey Tire in Staunton. Jessica, a carer in Staunton, is considering finding a new job closer to home, but will likely stay and face a similar commute.

They had researched places nearby, including in the Augusta County communities where they grew up, but the prices were outside their budget.

“The prices are bizarre,” Jessica added.

A house on the same street in the Verona neighborhood where Matthew grew up cost $230,000, he said.

“This house was at least twice the size it was five years ago,” Matthew said.

Real estate prices in the Shenandoah Valley are rising rapidly, a trend seen across the country that is putting families like the Vias in situations where they have to make difficult decisions about how to keep a roof over their heads.

The supply of housing has become a key issue with skyrocketing real estate prices.

Across the Commonwealth, there was less than a month of housing in January — the first time the stats nationwide have fallen below that amount, according to Virginia Realtors data. A healthy housing market has around five to six months of supply, according to real estate agents.

In Virginia, the greatest growth in home sales was in outlying counties like Bath and Highland, where Vias bought their home, while prices and sales continued to rise in places like Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.

Harrisonburg is one of the three hottest housing markets in the state. In February, for the seventh straight month, homes in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County were on the market for an average of five days before being sold, according to data compiled by local real estate blog HarrisonburgHousingToday.com.

The Vias found their home with the help of Harrisonburg-based realtor Gordon Cowan, who also helped Joseph and Kendra Colman find a home outside of Harrisonburg as they wanted to leave town.

After a year of searching, the Colmans found a home in Churchville in their price range with ample room for them and their dogs.

“We got pretty much priced out of Rockingham County,” Kendra said.

“I can’t even imagine how people have kids these days,” she said.

The Colmans spoke about the pressure to change and the things that prompted them to move and how prices are changing the character of working neighborhoods in the area as parishioner prices fall.

“I’m concerned, how will it look for working families in five years?” said Josef.

They also noted how common it is now for buyers to compete with each other or investors and have to pay $15,000 over the asking price, sometimes with no inspections of the property.

“We looked at a house 16 hours after it was listed because if you don’t look at 24, you’re not looking,” Joseph said.

The rush for homes and booming prices aren’t just happening in towns along Interstate 81, according to Realtor Data and Cowan.

It also means people from wealthier areas with higher incomes are buying homes in the area, they said.

“The first house we looked at near Craigsville was 15 acres, and then someone just offered cash — $300,000 in cash,” Joseph said. “How many people are there in the Valley who have $300,000 in cash? none.”

“When I see outside forces coming in with foreign capital, do I worry about where the families will live?” said Josef.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, investors bought nearly one in five American homes sold during that period — a new record, according to real estate data company Redfin.

“It stinks of feudalism,” said Joseph Colman.

The Williams family of New Market are looking for a new place to live because the owner of the small house they live in is selling it.

Tony Williams, best known in the Valley as the administrator of the popular Rockingham County First Alert Facebook page, and his wife Tracy are on government support due to his back condition and bipolar disorder making it impossible to keep a steady job. With no prospects of buying a house, the hunt is on for a rental they can afford and to house their two children and dog.

“It’s awful,” Tracy said. “Day-to-day, that’s all I do – from waking up to going to bed I’m calling people [asking] “Is this available? What do we have to do to get in?’”

With their low income, they are unable to find housing that would be affordable for them and their two children, Deeanna, 12, and Owen, 18, who has autism.

“We’re looking for a two bedroom apartment and we let the kids have their own rooms and then we get a pull out couch and we sleep in the living room,” Tracy said. “It’s just to stay within our budget for what we can afford.”

They’ve searched as far as Staunton and Charlottesville but still no cubes — nothing in their price range with enough dog-friendly rooms. Even if they do find such a place, they lament the possibility of having to move farther away from their families and the community they have lived in for the past seven years.

The Williamses also began looking for apartments because they fear the next house they can rent will also be sold to an investor, so they’ll have to go through the same experience when trying to find another apartment.

Tony Williams posted on the Rockingham County First Alert page to ask his 47,000 followers if they knew of a home he and his wife could afford that would also allow dogs since they aren’t missing out on a family member want to find it a place to live. His post became a forum for discussion, with many bemoaning their own problems finding housing across the valley.

“We had no idea it was that bad,” Tony said.

Earlier this week they thought they had found a place to live but were then told their monthly income had to be three times the rent, he said.

“If our income had been $600 more, we would move [the apartment] in a week,” Tony Williams said in a Facebook message Thursday.

The Via family said that despite the commute distances and other potential downsides, it’s worth owning a home given the space and value of being in the country, even if it means they don’t like their families in a community who can raise those in whom they grew up. They plan to grow crops on their land and find ways to be as independent as possible.

“We just felt like we needed to step back and detach ourselves from the bigger issues out there,” said Matthew Via. “Let our children be children”

Joseph Colman, who bought his Harrisonburg home a decade ago for $137,000, expects it to sell for $250,000. He said he’s grateful for the chance to be a homeowner in the first place, and that it will allow him to move away from the city, which he believes has changed so much since he moved here.

His aversion to the possibility of keeping the house and renting it out at a high price was evident.

“I feel like doesn’t someone else deserve to live in a house?” said Colman from his quarterdeck. “Doesn’t that sound typically American?”

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