What’s been on my mind lately?

I always joke that I am a bad combination of OCD and ADD.  A lot goes through my mind, especially as I drive around Lexington.

Here are some things that have popped in my mind lately:

1.  Masterson Station is no longer the “Affordable” side of town.  I don’t know if you have noticed, but a lot of the new homes in Masterson and the various new neighborhoods that have their own name but in 15 years will be called Masterson are not cheap.  I am seeing more and more houses for over $300k.

2.  The giant dice looking metal things by Local’s are really cool.  I enjoy seeing the murals, art and other well designed structures around town.

3. There are more and more small condo/townhouse projects all over town.  I still think they are a little risky.  Lexington has always been mostly a single family home type of town.  Condos or townhouses were always a niche market with most of them being geared towards first time buyers or empty nesters.  I’ll wait to see how well they sell in a soft market and if they appreciate before I give them a Thumb’s Up.  I guess the issue is nobody plans on staying in one forever.  You’re going to need the next generation to want to live in them too for there to be a future market.  Also, way to many of the 10-15 year old condos downtown are rentals now.

4.  I’m turning into a curmudgeon Gen Xer I guess because I miss the old days when you dropped some quarters in a meter to park downtown.  Now you have to enter your license plate number, hit a bunch of buttons on a keypad and then drop in your quarters.  What was wrong with the old way??

 

Masterson Station: A legit part of Lexington

I’ve got a long history with Masterson Station.

Long before I was The LEXpert, I was a one man lawn care operation.  I had a few customers out there in the mid 90s.  Masterson Station ended one house past Gateway Park.  My wife and I would go see the new model homes by builders such as PSC and Barlow Homes.  We would marvel at the trendy finishes like green counter tops and pickled cabinets that were sort of a pinkish white.

Back then, Masterson Station seemed so far out that you felt like you were half way to Frankfort.  I remember thinking “Who would want to live this far out of town?”  I said the same thing about Hartland back in the mid 80s.  I had always lived inside New Circle back then, so I was one of those people who thought the “Real” Lexington was just inside New Circle Road and anything outside the circle didn’t count.

Since then, Masterson Station has grown and grown and keeps growing.  It is Lexington’s largest neighborhood and has had non stop construction for about 25 years.

At lot has changed.  To begin with,  nobody calls it Masterson Station any more.  It’s just Masterson now.   I’ve changed a lot too.  Instead of pulling a trailer full of lawn equipment, I am working inside the houses now and own a house in the neighborhood.  I just got an accepted offer on the 41st house I have sold in this area.

It used to be that you picked Masterson because you could get the same house for cheaper than anywhere else in town.  It was a good value.  As it grew and people didn’t view it as some random neighborhood hung out of the west end of Fayette County, the price difference became less and less.  Today the same 1300 square foot home in Masterson sells for maybe $10k less than an identical house in one of the top neighborhoods on the south end of town.

As it grew, a new elementary school was built in the neighborhood.  Then Citation Road was built, which was really great.  The new road helped with traffic flow and all the sudden, made sense of the way the neighborhood developed over the past couple of decades.

I have always said that all the whole Masterson area  needs is some commercial development and it would become a part of town people pick because they like it, not just because its a good value.  I drove through the area last night and the gas station/convenience store on Leestown Road is now open.  Meijer owns a big corner on Citation.  I am starting to see more development along Citation too.

Congrats Masterson.  You’re all grown up and we’re glad you’re a legit part of Lexington.

What neighborhood is the winner in this market?

Masterson.  Formally know by it’s full name, Masterson Station.  While the whole neighborhood has seen values really go up, I think the true winners are the single story homes in the 1000-1350 square foot range.

Many many years ago, half of Masterson was in foreclosure.  That happened to a lot of the newer neighborhoods where the first owners bought at the top of the previous hot market with sketchy no money down loans.

I remember I would often spend ALL day with first time buyers just in Masterson when the market collapsed.  I would schedule 8-10 houses, all just blocks apart.  It would get confusing after a few.  I would find myself saying stuff like “This is the Roxbury plan by Schneider Homes.  It is the same floor plan as the 2nd, 3rd and 6th house we saw earlier, only this one has blue vinyl in the kitchen instead of tan, and it has a deck instead of a patio…..oh, and this one has a fenced back yard too.”  Then my client would say something like “I thought the 2nd and 6th house were the two story houses?”  Then I was like “No, it was the 4th house that was the two story.  It was a Ball Home plan.  The Fairfax is the name I think…..yes, that is it.  The Fairfax is the one I told you about that sometimes has an open loft instead of the 3rd bedroom, and realtors often call that a 3rd bedroom because they know nobody will come see it if they said it was REALLY a 2 bedroom house.”  Then my client would ask “What was the 5th house?  I don’t even remember it!”  I’d reply “The 5th house was the only occupied house we saw today.  The water was on and we both used the restroom.”  Client be like “Oh, I remember now. How do you keep all this straight?”  And I’d be like “It is taking every bit of concentration I have.”

Back then, $125k was like $155k is today.

Then the market improved.  I was amazed these houses were selling around $130k.

Then it got better.  I started seeing a lot of $140k houses a year ago.

Now a decent one is $150k, some are even higher!

That is a huge turn around from half the neighborhood being vacant houses that took 6 months to sell.

 

What The LEXpert has been thinking about

Here are some things that have been on The LEXpert’s mind lately:

 

  •  I am seeing more and more interest in the houses around Liberty Road and Henry Clay Blvd.  About 25 years ago I saw that once Kenwick got expensive, interest would move to the Courtney/Clayton area.  And once those prices shot up, it would keep going further down Henry Clay Blvd.  What I didn’t see back then was that Delaware would become a hip spot for businesses and restaurants.  Back then, we all thought it would remain the scuzzy industrial area it had always been.  You watch, once the National Avenue area gets filled and rents go up, you’ll see more businesses you want to frequent along Delaware and Winchester Road.   The great thing about the Henry Clay/Liberty Road area is that you are minutes to downtown, minutes to NoLi, and minutes to Hamburg.  It really is an ideal location.

 

  • Greenbrier is seeing a lot of sales.  I have seen several that sold by word of mouth lately.  A couple others sold extremely fast.  I think it mostly has to do with the new school districts.  It is no longer a nice neighborhood on the wrong part of town thanks to Hamburg.  It is also no longer a nice neighborhood with a poor performing school district.  It will attract people who want to have their kids in public school now.   That makes for a broader market.  That means more buyers for fewer houses.  That means prices go up.

 

  • The $350-500k market is strong in Lexington still, even as we get late in the year.   Sales seem to come in waves.  There might be a few slow weeks for certain parts of town and then, all the sudden, that area will have lots of sales in one week.

 

  • Century Hills is blowing my mind.  I have seen several 3 bedroom/1 bath houses without a garage sell for over $100k, some close to $110k.  It wasn’t too long ago that the nicest ones out there were $95k!  Percentage wise, that is a huge increase.  Looks like we are back to the days where under $100k doesn’t get much.

 

  • I think that the new Citation Blvd is going to be a big gain for the west side of town.  That road really ties together all the neighborhoods between Georgetown and Leestown Road so well.  It is easier to get in and out of that area too.  It nolonger feels like a bunch of random neighborhoods scattered across the west side of town.  Businesses are what the area needs.  I think values will really go up if the residents of those neighborhoods do not have to go to Hamburg or south Lexington for shopping/dinning/entertainment.  A nice big road like this might attract them.

 

This is an exciting time to be in real estate.  Things are changing so fast.  Prices are increasing in some areas, stable in others.  Tastes are shifting too.  It is a lot to keep up with…….every new business, every new road that opens changes how people feel about a location.