On to the next Crozet neighborhood: Western Ridge.
With homes built by Craig Builders, Gibson Homes, Van der Linde, Wade, and a variety of other local builders, Western Ridge still stands as one of Crozet’s most popular neighborhoods. Western Ridge features a community pool, fitness center, tennis courts, trails, a community lake, and mountain views from just about every corner.
Homes in this Crozet neighborhood are divided into three distinct sections: the main section of Western Ridge, Stonegate at Western Ridge, and West End at Western Ridge. The main section of Western Ridge is mostly built-out – however, there are a few new homes for sale by Van der Linde Homes. Stonegate at Western Ridge features low-maintenance homes built by Craig Builders. The newest phase, West End at Western Ridge features brand new homes also built by Craig Builders. New homes are currently for sale and under construction here. This will be the final phase of Western Ridge. An adjacent parcel, part of the Foothill Crossing neighborhood, will be nearby. However, residents of Foothill Crossing will not be able to use Western Ridge amenities.
Let’s take a look at Western Ridge real estate and a recent history of Western Ridge home sales. Since Western Ridge has the community pool and other great neighborhood amenities, home sales and re-sales have been strong over the last 5 years. (Other Crozet neighborhoods with community pools include Old Trail and Foxchase)
However, in the same breath, it is important to note than prices are slightly higher than other competing Crozet neighborhoods like Grayrock and Waylands Grant because of those amenities. And that premium has seemingly started to creep higher over the past few years. Check out the chart below:
As you can see, average price per square foot was slightly higher in 2004 (2.45%). But in 2008, the average price per square foot in Western Ridge was over 11% higher than Grayrock. Part of that has to do with the fact that new home sales stopped in Grayrock in 2007 (new homes are historically more per square foot than re-sales). However, Grayrock had considerably more new home sales than Western Ridge in 2005-2007 (66 to 9!) and price per square foot in Western Ridge was still at a premium.
Now back to Western Ridge home sales.
Overall, sales have stayed relatively steady since 2004. While sales have backed off since the peak years, the last 3 years saw the number of re-sales steady at 9-8-9 (2006-2008). In addition, 2008 saw a pop in new home sales due to the start of the community’s final phase, West End at Western Ridge.
It’s also interesting to note that the price per square foot in Western Ridge has stayed steady with that of other Albemarle County homes. Check out this trend graph:
Western Ridge home prices never really got much out of whack from the average sales prices in Albemarle County. While Albemarle County saw a slight increase in price per square foot from 2007 to 2008, Western Ridge stayed even with the previous year.
But check out this trend relating to the size of the houses that have sold in Western Ridge. (Note that this is not just a microtrend in Western Ridge, but a macrotrend in the overall market. Here is a breakdown of the average size of the homes sold in Western Ridge over the past 5 years:
It’s pretty amazing to note that the home sizes have increased by almost 25% between 2004 – 2008.
But it doesn’t stop there. Of the 7 homes currently sold or under contract in 2009, the average square footage is 3565. Wow. Big houses.
As of April 20th, there are 14 homes currently for sale with an average price per square foot of $164 and an average Days on Market of 176. When you consider, that homes sold in 2009 had an average $/sf of $148 and 2008 was $155, I’d expect some of those list prices to drop as spring turns to summer.
Overall, Western Ridge homes seem to be holding up fairly well in this market and continues to be a popular Albemarle County real estate option. However, the neighborhood’s inventory of homes for sale is quite high right now (14). I don’t think that there is enough demand for all of the current inventory to be absorbed in 2009. Because of the strong competition, I’d expect a few sellers will drop their prices enough to stand out from the rest…and thus, we’ll probably see prices fall a bit more.