MORE similar neighborhoods at different price points

Let’s say you want to be in that sweet spot of the Tates Creek area where you’re equidistant to Hamburg, Fayette Mall and downtown.  You want a traditional house.  Southern Living.  Nice yard with big trees.  I’ve got three more neighborhoods for you at three different price points…..Here we go:

Hartland

I remember when Hartland was brand new.  It was way the heck out there.  (It hasn’t moved closer-I mean that it seemed way out at the time.)  Man O War was a two lane road.  There was no Tates Creek Shopping Center.  Who knew back then that this neighborhood would age so wonderfully.  The design is like nothing Lexington has seen since Chevy Chase.  The main roads have a tree lined median.  All the cul-de-sacs have landscaped islands.  It just feels wonderful out there. The price range for Hartland and all the derivative sub-neighborhoods is about $250k through close to $2,000,000.  Most are in the $300-500k range.  For that, you get a nice big house from the time when J.R. Ewing was shot on Dallas.  Big yards are the norm.  Most I’ve seen are 1/4-1/3 acre.  There is a neighborhood pool/clubhouse.

Here is what you can expect:

 

Cumberland Hill

Built about the same time as Hartland, just on the other side of Tates Creek Road.  Cumberland has a more casual, less pretentious vibe to it than Hartland.  Its the neighborhood for somebody who can afford a Mercedes but drives a Volvo instead.  Being on the other side of Tates Creek turned out to be a good thing, because it gets the very desirable Veteran’s Park Elementary school.  Most of the houses range from the low $200s to the low $300s.  For around or just over $300k, you should expect a nice basement.  One of the coolest things about this neighborhood is that it backs up to Veteran’s Park (The park-not the school.)  At the end of Rockbridge, there is a small parking lot with an entrance to the park.  There is a walking trail and a creek through the wooded areas.  There are a couple of bridges across the creek.  It is very cool.  A pool/clubhouse are at the corner of Tates Creek and Rockbridge.

Here is what to expect:

Contemporary homes were still a little popular in the 80s, so you see a few like this.

 

Ashmoor

This neighborhood is just south of Cumberland and is also across Tates Creek Road from Hartland.  You get the same close proximity to Veteran’s Park and it is in Veteran’s Park Elementary district.  Ashmoor has always seemed like a lite version of Hartland to me.  The houses are similar, just smaller.  My favorite thing about this neighborhood are the huge Pin Oak trees than line most of the streets.   You’ll be around $200k to maybe $250k out here.

Here is what you will see:

It was the late 80s and early 90s, so you do get some houses that are like a mash up of Traditional and Contemporary.

 

There you have it.  From $200k to $2,000,000, there is a house for you in this area!

 

 

3 similar neighborhoods for any budget

What if you want a big lot, close in, something older, maybe Tates Creek Road area.  Well, you have three good options at 3 different price points.

All these neighborhoods are either just inside or just outside New Circle Road by Tates Creek Road.  All are close to things like The Lansdowne Shoppes, Malones, Fresh Market and The Signature Club.  One of the best things about this area is that you can get about anywhere in town easily.  UK/Downtown/Chevy Chase are close.  You are between Hamburg and all that the Fayette Mall/Nicholasville Road corridor offers…..plus, this is arguably the prettiest part of Lexington.

1.  Lansdowne

This is where you go if you have $300-700k to spend.  You’ll get one of the swankiest locations from the 1960s that use to be on the on the edge of town.  I’m taking about roads like Cahaba, Kirkland, Overbrook, etc.  Getting a half acre lot is no sweat here, some are even larger.  Overbrook Circle and Brookhill Circle are my two favorite streets since some of the houses have a view over The Lansdowne Shoppes.

Most of the houses are ranches, but there are 2 story and split foyer/split levels too.  Here is what is typical:

But sometimes you get lucky and find some real architectural gems like:

2.  Lans-Merrick

This is where you land if you want to stay in the $200s-$300s, although there are a few super nice ones that have gone for over $400k.  This neighborhood is right across Tates Creek Road from Lansdowne.   You get a great city park in the middle of the neighborhood which is right beside Julius Marks Elementary school.  Lots out here are usually in the 1/4-1/3 acre range.  Still big by Lexington standards.  Most of the houses were built in the 70s.  Lots of ranches, splits and traditional two stories.  The main roads are Pepperhill and Montavesta.  Fleetwood and Heritage are my favorite streets.

 

Here is what to expect:

But there are some that are like:

 

3.  Gainesway

This neighborhood is beside Lans-Merrick, but is just across New Circle.  It seems just as close in though, so don’t let being outside the circle mess with you.  The oldest part of Gainesway harks back to the 50s.  All the streets were named after local horse farms.  Getting a 1/4-1/2 acre lot is easy here.  Most are ranches.  The beauty of this neighborhood is that you get a similar location and lot size as the other two, but you’ll only drop $150-250k for a house.  Castleton Hill and Castleton Way are my favorite streets here.

This is what to expect:

And you might get lucky and find one like these:

 

So there you have it.  Whether you have $150k or well over $500k, you can enjoy an older home on a large lot in Lexington.

What makes a good location?

This week, I’ve been listening to several different buyers tell me what part of town they want to be in.  It has had me thinking about the whole “Location Location Location” thing.  I think most of the time, we as people like to reduce things down to a yes/no, for/against, good/bad scenario……Like this is a good location and this is a bad one.  I just don’t think it is that simple and here is why.

Just this week I’ve had two people tell me they really want to be in a location that many people avoid.  This is a high density area, so the buyers are looking for townhouses and condos.  See, the people that think this is an area to be avoided don’t want to be in that kind of density and are single family home types.  Both buyers mentioned that they had lived in that area before and liked how easy it was to get any where in town and that they enjoyed the 30+ acre park in the middle of the area.  When my wife and I were newlyweds, we lived in this area too…..we thought the same thing back then.

I guess my point in all this is that what makes a good location is really a subjective thing that varies greatly.  Age, income, property type, etc, all greatly have an impact on what makes a location appealing.  There is one common thing that all people tell me they want in a location:  Proximity to work, businesses they shop at, restaurants they eat at, and things like parks/sports/ or places they frequently go.  People with kids like to be in a good performing school district too.

Lexington is big enough to support all these different opinions about what makes a location good.  It is all in the eye of the buyer, and if enough of them think it is a good location, then it must be.

Where is the market RIGHT NOW

Ok.  It has happened.  I think we have hit a ceiling with real estate prices in and around Lexington.

The market has slowed down a bit in the past few weeks.  You can get a photographer or home inspector quicker than you can a neurosurgeon lately.  Could be because 15% of the whole town is on vacation on any given week this summer.  Could be more than a normal seasonal slowdown?

Slowing down isn’t a bad thing, so don’t freak out.  This is kind of like when you are doing 100 MPH and slow down to 80.

I am starting to see more price reductions than I have in the past 6-8 months too.  I don’t think that values for those houses have declined.  I think that sellers were pushing prices higher and higher and buyers are pushing back a little now.  Mr. Overly-Optimistic Seller, you won’t be getting above market value for your house.

It all reminds me of early 2013.  That is when the market made a sudden shift from bad to good.  For about 6 months there it seemed like houses were selling as soon as they hit the market and prices were going up for the first time in years.  The market changed so fast it reminded me of being a kid on a swing and somebody giving you a swift push that causes you to hold on tight as your neck snaps backwards.

The rest of 2013, all of 2014 and 2015 were good markets, but less frenzied.  Then early 2016 gets crazy again.  It was the first time in my career of over 11 years that I waited in line to show houses.  If the frenzy is over, that is one thing I won’t miss!

Neighborhoods that benefited the most from school district changes

I get a lot of questions about school districts and property values.  Most of the time there is nothing to worry about unless your neighborhood goes from having average/above average schools to getting ones that are worse.    A lateral move doesn’t really matter.  The best situation is when you have poorer performing schools and get better ones….which is the topic of today’s blog post.

Here are the top 3 winners in my opinion.  The biggest changes in the district boundaries were in the Hamburg/40509 area, so these are all out that way:

3.  The Home Place/Gleneagles.  The cat got out of the bag early on this one.  The school district bought land in this area and everybody knew that these 2 neighborhoods would go to the new school.  Suddenly it became a more desirable place to buy and prices went up.

2.  Greenbrier.  Several years ago I would get the same feedback from my buyers after showing houses in this neighborhood.  They would say “I love the neighborhood and all the space out here, but I don’t have $100k to renovate this house AND pay for private school.”  So, they wouldn’t buy it.  Now that “The Brier” is getting the new elementary and new high school, houses are selling and being renovated.

1.  Chilesburg.  Use to be only the first phase of that neighborhood went to Athens-Chilesburg Elementary (A.C.E.).  It never really made any sense since the school was right in the middle of the neighborhood.  The neighborhood got the school and prices have really gone up.  Use to be if you were in the mid $200k range and wanted that school, Andover Hills was your only option.  There use to be a big gap between similar sized houses in these two neighborhoods.  Not any more.  Chilesburg can pull the same money per sqaure foot as Andover Hills can now.  A 2500 square foot 4 bedroom house in Chilesburg use to be about $190-225k several years ago.  Practically the same floor plan in Andover Hills was getting $225-245k.  Now both are in the $245-255k range.