Is it a $2M condo town? It is getting closer…
In the past several months there have been several instances of condominiums or town homes selling in the upper $900’s to well over $1M. These sales are mostly occurring in the two projects that one would expect (Vistas on the James and Rockett’s Landing) as well as in the newest entrant to the market, The Tiber, located along Libbie Avenue.
The dominoes of upper end condo sales began to happen with the sale of the 4000+SF monster in Rockett’s Landing (Skyline Building) for just under $1M. Soon thereafter two combined units at The Vistas project on upper floors both traded in excess of $1.2M. When you include the contracts for over half of the to-be-built condos at the Tiber and 2 of the 4 in the Bankside Mews ($800k and $1.2M with rumors that the sales prices may be as high as $1.7M when completed), it can be argued that from 2012, close to 10 condo/townhome sales in Richmond will have hit the books ranging from $985k to well above $1.2M. For Richmond, that is an astounding statistic.
To what do we owe the sudden uptick in absorption of luxury condominiums?
For one, availability. Prior to the peak of the market in 2008, options to spend $1M in Richmond were really limited to the utmost traditional areas (Cary Street/River Road, Westhampton, Cherokee Road) and/or along the River. When the Downtown market began to emerge in the first half of the 2000’s, multiple residential opportunities were created that finally engaged the River. Million dollar homes are easy to build but million dollar views are hard to find. When Rocketts, Riverside and The Vistas were built Downtown beginning in the early 2000’s, Richmond not only had more luxury options than it ever had, they also spawned neighborhood amenities that never existed Downtown before.
Secondly, there is finally a sense of hope. The market adjustment that spared no one is finally showing signs of reversing trend and helping owners recover much of their lost equity. The feeling that pricing has come down so much that to miss the opportunity to grab as much real estate as possible at rates unseen for much of our lifetime is beginning to make people act. While $1M (or more) is a lot of money, it is far less for the assets than it would have been had 2008 never happened.
Overall, Richmond is a $1M condo town. It took us a while to get here but the demand for ‘luxury no maintenance living’ is something that is here to stay.