T-line Real Estate
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johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
April 25, 2007
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,918 posts
http://www.huntingtonnews.net/state/070425-staff-re.html

Huntington News printed verbatim a press release T-line put out yesterday. I think there's some fear out there of a real estate slowdown in the valley and T-line is trying to forestall it with positive press releases.
skier219
April 25, 2007
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
I'll say one thing, they are definitely speaking to a different crowd than I run with. I don't know anybody who has $1 million to spend on a "second" home. Those new slopeside houses along Twister look wonderful, but are far more extravagant than most regular folks would consider for a ski house, or main residence for that matter.

Those of you that ski TL more regularly -- have you noticed an increase in homeowner "money" at the resort in recent years?

I do remember reading another article last year that talked about a boom in vacation homes because of baby boomer wealth. The same article hinted that there would likely be a bust when the next generation comes along and can't afford the market!
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
April 26, 2007
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,918 posts
I think the concern is some of these big houses were bought on spec with easy money from second and third tier lenders. Many mainline financial institutions do not like to lend money for big second homes in developments where there are few full-time residents. As these second and third tier lenders like New Centry go bust or simply run out of capital, who will finance purchases in the future?
tgd
April 26, 2007
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
That's some BS! I won't trust a realtor, especially when they play "journalist". The real estate industry remains in complete denial of the market downturn. Judging from home prices here in NVA and in Canaan, sellers remain in denial too. In my neighborhood people are still asking 2005 prices - and their houses are sitting.

From what I've seen watching Valley real estate very little moves that is priced above $300K. Check out the listings for the major Valley real estate companies. If you follow them closely, you will find that many of the properties listed for each have been listed for over a year. Also, the trouble I found with some Valley real estate agents is that they don't like to give you comps or true prices for recent sales.

My advice to buyers - don't allow yourself or spouse to get emotional about any property, make your own assessment of the true value of a house, don't be afraid to low-ball, and don't ever be afraid to walk away. If you pay too much for a second house in this market then find out you can't afford it, you could be stuck with it for a long time (think years - that is how slow the market was in Canaan just 5 years ago) - or end up selling at a big loss (to a bottom fisher like me).

Don't expect rental income to offset your expenses by much. Average top earners in the Valley might bring in $15K a year. One of those million dollar slopeside properties could bring in $30-35K. After management fees, capital expenses, etc... the rental income might cover a mortgage payment or two.

I don't buy into the 4-season pitch for Canaan Valley either. Not that the Valley isn't awesome during Summer and Fall - it is! I spend a couple weekends a month at our place during the summer. One of the reasons we enjoy it so much is that the place is DEAD! Most summer weekends there are very very few visitors. Compared to Snowshoe with its awesome mountain bike park and summer festivals, Canaan right now has Windfest, 2 ATV races at Tline, and not a lot more going on.

Overall, I'm still very bullish on the Valley - but if you are considering buying there approach the situation with open eyes.

Tom
DCSki Sponsor: Canaan Valley Resort
Clay
April 26, 2007
Member since 04/11/2006 🔗
555 posts
Tom,
I agree with your post, but I don't think you can judge the CV market by how long a house sits on the market. One of the practices that I discovered when we were looking to buy up there was that many people list their homes at an inflated price and let them sit on the MLS. If somebody offers them that price they take it. I had never run into this before when buying real estate so it was an eye opener.

I would define those people as not really selling and I think they skew the statistics. That's why I don't think that you can measure the market based on how long properties have been listed. But it reenforces the rest of your message - go in with your eyes wide open and be prepared to stay awhile. You aren't going to flip these houses.

I do think if you can find a reasonably priced home, CV is a good investment - Corridor H and all that, but again, CH construction from Forman to Davis isn't projected to start until 2008 which probably means it doesn't get there until 2010 and I don't think they've hit a date yet. So again, be prepared to stay a while.

Clay

A quick poll:
JimK - DCSki Columnist
April 26, 2007
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,693 posts
Have you guys been to Wisp in the last couple years? Tremendous amount of slopeside trophy homes have gone up there, particularly on the backside of the mtn along Mainstreet trail. It may be slowing now, but they sprouted up faster and in greater numbers than the stuff along Twister. With the new owners, terrain expansion, and the always significant summer visitor traffic Wisp seemed to have a real estate boom of some sort.
As a young person I surely enjoyed the vacation home my parents had near Blue Knob for about 15 yrs, but if one can't quite swing second home ownership there's something to be said for the freedom to ski wherever you want. Except without a season pass and a "home" mtn you're not likely to get in as many ski days.
GaryEsq
April 26, 2007
Member since 12/20/2005 🔗
54 posts
Quote:

Have you guys been to Wisp in the last couple years? Tremendous amount of slopeside trophy homes have gone up there, particularly on the backside of the mtn along Mainstreet trail. It may be slowing now, but they sprouted up faster and in greater numbers than the stuff along Twister. With the new owners, terrain expansion, and the always significant summer visitor traffic Wisp seemed to have a real estate boom of some sort.
As a young person I surely enjoyed the vacation home my parents had near Blue Knob for about 15 yrs, but if one can't quite swing second home ownership there's something to be said for the freedom to ski wherever you want. Except without a season pass and a "home" mtn you're not likely to get in as many ski days.




If my business is any indicator (settlement attorney), I've been very busy the past few weeks in Deep Creek, certainly not a dead market here...
RyanC
April 26, 2007
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
I think it's safe to say that the MD/DC/VA area RE market has peaked, and in a best case scenario, we're going to see a leveling off for several YEARS. I own in Canaan Valley, love the area, and think it will be a great investment over many YEARS. "Years" is the key word here. All resort areas (beach and mountain) within 3-4 hours of most major east coast metro areas are just as hyperinflated, price-wise, as the cities themselves. There are many properties listed at 2005 prices everywhere, but the only people buying them are the greater fools.

Real estate has always had it's ups and downs, and history always repeats itself in the financial markets. The only difference this time is an unprecedented real estate and credit bubble. There are only so many people out there that can afford $500k++ first and second homes!!

If we head into recession within the next few years (which is quite likely), there's no reason why housing prices wouldn't return to 2003-04 levels. Even a return to those levels would barely put a sent in the exponential increases of the past 5-6 years. There's also a good chance prices could be at 2005 levels in 2015, as well. After all, if you bought a home (especially a condo) in a nice DC area (say Bethesda or Arlington) or where I live near Towson in Baltimore County (which is very comparable to Bethesda or Arlington) in 1989, you would have broken even if you sold in 1999! My parents bought their townhouse, in a great subdivision in 1996 for LESS than the previous owner paid in 1993...
skiTLINE
April 26, 2007
Member since 12/15/2004 🔗
230 posts
Alls I can say is when buying any kind of vacation property one needs to first decide if this is a place they would want to spend significant time at. My family for one loves the valley. We bought real estate there solely for the future. We at some point (when son goes off to college) will be spending half the year in the valley and half at our place in Myrtle Beach. We LOVE both areas and this is why we bought. We didnt buy for the reason of becoming rich off increase of value nor the rentals. We bought cause we love the areas. Any rental income is a bonus and helps offset some cost.

We actually just signed a contract in the valley for a different place and hope to settle within 3 weeks
kwillg6
April 26, 2007
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,021 posts
If a person buys as an investment, they are a fool, especially in the second home market. A second home is just that, a place where you go to rest, relax and recreate the soul. If you have to have rental income to afford the place, you can't afford it. I know several individuals in the valley who say they have to have the rental income to make the morgage or pay the utilities. What's the sence of owning if that's the case. I do a seasonal rental on my house because I want someone in it during the winter months, mainly to keep an eye on the place. I use my condo in the winter because location is everything when skiing, but in the summer, the house will be great for space, view, and solitude.
The real estate market in Culpeper has leveled off, thank god. House prices have corrected to a somewhat more reasonable level. However, in the valley, you still have folks who purchased with the idea of flipping and who need to get a certian amount for a sale to, at a minimum, break even. Then there are the sellers who, for whatever reason, list at a higher than value price to see if they can make a quick buck. Ask any realtor in the valley and they will allude to that. While on the topic of realtors in the valley, don't you wish they would be a little more upfront with all aspects of a sale property rather than use the sugar coating routine just to make a sale?
kwillg6
April 26, 2007
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,021 posts
John, I think this is all tied in to the recent rate hike in Timberline's utility rate increase. It's my belief that they are using existing customers to finance new water and sewer line construction in the Winterhaven development. If the sales of real estate in that development fall off, they won't have the justification for they're plan to hose existing utility users.
skier219
April 26, 2007
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
In general, I think real estate everywhere has gotten out of control. People who do it for investment have probably made out well, but for the rest of us who simply want a home, it's causing problems. Today, I could not even afford to buy the same house we bought 6 years ago as first time buyers, and that's nuts. The challenge I see in finding an affordable vacation home in CV is really just an extension of the same problem I would have finding an affordable primary residence here nowadays! I seriously feel sorry for young families starting out -- in my area, they are paying about double what it cost us for a home just 6 years ago.
jonjon1
April 26, 2007
Member since 09/11/2006 🔗
186 posts
I've noticed a great increase in value/sales in Davis recently. Still affordable but increasingly difficult to find anything as the inventory is much lower than it was even a year ago. And good luck finding even a lot for sale. Many development plans going on for Davis including the park and the the old woodworking shop.

You're not slopeside in Davis, but its a reasonable drive to the slopes, and walking distance to several restaraunts and Shop N Save. I would advise anyone looking for a second home in the Canaan Valley area to keep your eyes open for property in Davis/Thomas as I feel those areas to have the most signficant increase in value in the coming years.
tgd
April 26, 2007
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
High Valley Realty lists a lot of Davis property. I thought the inventory seemed to increase lately.

JimK and GaryEsq: Deep Creek Lake is not a good comparison to the Valley - for one they have a LAKE. That automatically brings in a summer crowd.

Summer in the valley is super quiet. I like it, but it can't be good for business. I wonder about the state of business there. Jonjon, I know you own a Valley business - and I think both you and wife have regular jobs too. What say you? There seem to be a lot of businesses for sale in Thomas and Davis. Lack of true four seasons attraction?
Tucker
April 26, 2007
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
Yeah I think the valley would certainly benefit from more four seasons activities...although there is hiking, fishing, bike riding, boating, and etc, but I think you'd be surprised at the number of people who rent and vacation in the valley in the summertime.

I know where I live in the valley the houses are rented out more in the summer for sure.

I think it might be decieving because crowds are concentrated and visible in the wintertime.(ski resorts during day, driving back and fourth to the resort at the same time, eating at restruants generally at the same time...etc). In the summer time I think people are kicking back on their porches, grillin out and throwin back a few cold delicious, hanging with friends and family, or out enjoying the endless recreation possibilities.

But there are certainly things that couild bring more folks around in the summertime(as well as wintertime). Ex. more emphasis on mountain biking such as a paved bike path from canaan state park through davis to thomas that runs safely alongside 32 maybe cortland and timberline road, a friendlier wildlife refuge policy to bikers and/or everyone, and hey how about a 24 hours bike race...oh yeah that was to good of an idea and an attraction.

Anyway in general if you can afford it I don't think you can go wrong with any investment in Canaan Valley right now.
dmh
April 26, 2007
Member since 12/11/2003 🔗
127 posts
Summer v. Winter. It may be a function of where you own property. I imagine, for all the obvious reasons, Timberline is primarily a winter resort. It lacks even simple summer ameneties such as a pool and tennis. Once you leave Timberline, however, and it may well be that Summer is the high season.

I have owned at Black Bear for 5 years, rented there and Timberline for 15 years before that. I rent and Summer is by far the high rental season. I could book a rental practically every week from mid-June to Labor Day. Part of that may be that the rental rates are very reasonable compared to larger houses in Timberline but we also have a very nice heated pool, tennis court, and very nice valley views.

Also, I have noticed that commerical activity is very high during summer. Blackwater Brewery's cheap wings night is packed and the weekend at the Fiddle overflow to the outdoors.

Again, if you are in Timberline, it may be sleepy during the Summer but bustling elsewhere. If there is ever a comprehensive effort to develop CV as a four season destination--another golf course, bike lanes, more resturants in Davis/Thomas, etc.--coupled with CH being completed we will see an economic boom.
kwillg6
April 27, 2007
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,021 posts
Although I'm as avid a skier as you will find anywhere, I really enjoy the "off months" in the valley area. When we first bought 13 years ago, we were told by the folks up at the state park that summer is their high season. I believe it. The variety of activities available May through October is extensive. Everything from rafting to climbing and then there is unparalled back country hiking/camping in the Highlands. You don't have to be in the valley to feel a part of the ALPPs experience. Come June and July, you'll find me in my piece of paradice, doing all those things Tucker describes.
jonjon1
April 27, 2007
Member since 09/11/2006 🔗
186 posts
I consider the slow seasons around here to be April and November. Summers and Winter seem to be equally busy, but in different ways. Winters are very weekend heavy, where the summers are more spread out throughout the week. So summers may seem "dead" by people who come here mostly on winter weekends, but if you ask business owners, including us as B&B owners, are revenues are fairly equal for those different times of year -- with October being the busiest month of the year.

Davis High Valley only has two residential Davis listings that are not under contract at this point (including lots). And those two properties are long time listers that must have some issues. The high number of commercial listings at this time is a product of owners of these buildings trying to "fish" like some of the Valley owners are -- if they sell at these high prices then great, otherwise they will let it sit until the market catches up with their prices. I think its a shame that the the gas station and motel across from Shop & Save is listed so high, its a pivotal property in Davis that would make the whole town look better if developed instead of letting it sit there and rot. I think you will see many more businesses opening up over the next several years than ones going away in Davis (and Thomas too).
scottg
April 29, 2007
Member since 04/29/2007 🔗
1 posts
Let's hope there will always be a "slow" season in Canaan.. its such a unique place it would be a shame if it got developed to death and ended up looking like anywhere else, including the fast-food joints, etc etc. I've been visting the Valley over 20 years and bought in 10 years ago - my little casaparadiso. I really don't think we need expanded skiing & golfing to make the area desirable or viable - it was that way from the outset. The best thing that could happen for the Valley (and its real estate) is to develop at a measured pace with an eye towards keeping the magic there. Otherwise, if it goes the way of so many other places, I'll be one of the first selling and looking for somewhere the way Canaan is now - genuine and pleasant. Oh, and I agree about the massive water rate hike - its wanted to cover the expenses would more fairly be tacked on to the price of the new houses going in.
Clay
April 29, 2007
Member since 04/11/2006 🔗
555 posts
That's the one thing I worry about Corridor H and the masses - that they will 'demand' fast food and starbucks and they will be listened to!

Clay
kwillg6
May 1, 2007
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,021 posts
So far the Czar of CV zoning has kept such development out of the valley, but there will come a time when Davis may resemble a West Yellowstone or Gatlinburg at the edge of a national treasure. I hope not, but when Corridor H connects, It will happen. Besides, the valley has different zoning from the rest of Tucker County which has none like Garrett County, Maryland.
tommo
May 2, 2007
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
303 posts
Garrett County MD has had strong zoning in place for many years. The county is also undergoing a review process to tighten and, possibly, refocus, much of the large commercial projects that are proposed or in the development phase already. Some would argue that the zoning restrictions to date have been insufficient to protect the qualities that made the County attractive in the past. Others point to the strong and expanding growth of the last 10 years and the attendant rise in employment, income and economic diversity of the County as a tremendously successful outcome that should not be throttled back. Both sides, by any objective measure, have valid points.
kwillg6
May 3, 2007
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,021 posts
That may be so in the Deep Creek/McHenry area, however, when looking at Garrett County real estate a year ago, the realtor who showed us around said that one of the problems out in the county is that although you may have a beautiful home on your 5 acre lot, you couldn't prevent your neighbor from having a trailer with a half dozen junked cars next door. We toured several properties where this was the case. He stated specifically that lack of zoning was the issue. Commercial may be different. But there are definitely some zoning problems somewhere
bawalker
May 3, 2007
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
Maybe it's me, but I wouldn't mind living next door to someone like that. I'd much rather befriend them and lend a hand to get their junk mess cleaned up rather than virtually legislate their mess get cleaned up. The more I look at zoning as a whole, the more I see it's abused and misused or rather should I say, OVERLY used.
kwillg6
May 4, 2007
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,021 posts
Round these parts (N-Central VA) zoning is means of holding developers and property owners ransome so those with more money oe more authority can gain even greater control. (sigh!) It's a sad state of affairs. Also, in many cases with rural areas, even if you have zoning in place, it's difficult if not impossible to enforce. Sort of like restrictive covenants....
yellowsnow
May 6, 2007
Member since 12/15/2005 🔗
267 posts
The Tucker County Commission recently requested, and received, permission from the WV Public Service Commission to create a new Public Service District for Canaan Valley.

The Commissioners are now in the process of setting up this new PSD, and in fact, are soliciting names of nominees to serve on the board. Members must be residents of the Valley, ie, legally able to vote there.

Their intent is to create public water and sewer service for the Valley by combining the existing dozen or so wastewater treatment plants into about 4 de-centralized wastewater plants strategically located in the Valley.

Any thoughts on the impact this will have on existing property values and increased development in the Valley?

(PS, Canaan Valley has had a Zoning Ordinance since 1998, and since someone mentioned 'fast food' joints earlier, the Ordinance allows 'Restaurants, with drive-through or drive-in service' under classification SE, 'Permitted Special Exception Use, with the zoning decision made by the Board of Zoning Appeals').
SCWVA
May 7, 2007
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
 Originally Posted By: Tucker
......but I think you'd be surprised at the number of people who rent and vacation in the valley in the summertime.....


I'd agree. The campgrounds at the state parks are packed on weekends. Last summer, I looked into renting a house in the Valley and it seemed a lot of the houses were rented for a month at a time.

My first 30 visits to the valley were in the summertime. Summers are great up in the Valley. Cool nights and warm days. Very cool lightening displays on those humid summer nights.
RyanC
May 7, 2007
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
I've been involved in the CV-area wastewater meetings for a while on behalf on my HOA, and I think the formation of a PSD for Canaan Valley is a very positive thing. I must say that I was very impressed with the efforts of the Tucker County Commission on advocating for a CV PSD. They did a great job representing our interests before the WV PSC(basically all homeowners in the valley wanted a CV PSD). The CC is much more involved in CV-area affairs than I originally thought.
kwillg6
May 8, 2007
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,021 posts
I wonder how much the proposed PSD in the valley is connected to the timberline utility. They are raising the water costs to their users and will soon seek a killer sewer rate hike in order to finance future expansion. It's too much a coincidence
yellowsnow
May 8, 2007
Member since 12/15/2005 🔗
267 posts
It is, of course, not a complete coincidence. Timberline is one of the many supporters of a new PSD and the de-centralized approach to wastewater treatment. All are hoping to claim several million $ in state grant money and low or no-interest loans to finance the upgrades....and to share the hefty rate increases among all homeowners in the Valley. Blanzy attends all the meetings, of course.

I'm surprised no one here wants to comment on what impact they think this will have on the Valley in terms of increased development, higher real estate prices, the rise of fast food joints, etc. Aside from RyanC, does anyone think this is a good thing? Bad thing? Inevitable?

I know the realtors love it...
dmh
May 8, 2007
Member since 12/11/2003 🔗
127 posts
I have assumed since the proposal was first floated that it would significantly increase the development density in CV. Currently one of the real restraints is the septic tank load. This means that each house requires a substantial amont of land to absorb the waste produced. If the new sewage treatment can process enough waste then we will see much more dense development than is now possible.

Does anyone have any details about this?
kwillg6
May 9, 2007
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,021 posts
Tha idea of a service district covering the entire valley scares me. Density will no doubt be able to increase as will the potential for vastly expanded commercial. The valley, as we know it, will cease to exist a few years down the road as the greedy bas#&*@s make millions!!!!
RyanC
May 9, 2007
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
 Originally Posted By: kwillg6
Tha idea of a service district covering the entire valley scares me. Density will no doubt be able to increase as will the potential for vastly expanded commercial. The valley, as we know it, will cease to exist a few years down the road as the greedy bas#&*@s make millions!!!!


It's inevitable that (with federal grant money on the line) some form of public entity will need to take over wastewater treatment in the valley, at least in some capacity. I'd much rather have a Canaan Valley PSD than an existing PSD based 'off the mountain' some 20 miles away make decisions for us.

All future PSD meetings will, of course, be open to the public, so now we, as homeowners in CV, have to be vigilent and make our opinions known. I, along with most other homeowners, would like to see as close to zero commercial development as possible in the valley. Small, resort-oriented business, no problem- fast-food joints and corporate retail, hell no! If I want malls, multiple grocery stores, Wal-Mart, Target, rude people and horrendous traffic I can just stay in Baltimore.
dmh
May 9, 2007
Member since 12/11/2003 🔗
127 posts
I know the realtors are very organized and suspect the Chamber of Commerce has been very active in support of this proposal. I tend to agree that environmentally and financially it probably makes sense to move from the status quo (mix of septic and individual development based treatment plants) to a modernized system capable of safely disposing of the wastes. But I am concerned that this will turn into carte blanc for largely unfettered growth and development. What other organizations exist who want to modernize but don't want to unleash the realtors and commercial developments? What positions have CVI and the Highlands Conservancy taken on this issue?
yellowsnow
May 9, 2007
Member since 12/15/2005 🔗
267 posts
CVI has taken the position that the existing, failing wastewater plants need to be fixed, but that a centralized system is not the most cost effective solution. (A centralized WWT plant is what Thrasher Engineering's study told the County Commission was the right approach.)

CVI believes a decentralized approach, with about 4 new plants distributed strategically throughout the Valley is the correct, cost effective solution. In fact, CVI facilitated the hiring of a second consultant, Lombardo Associates, to perform a study that concluded the decentralized approach was better than either fixing all the individual plants or building a central plant.

Since the Lombardo study, CVI has facilitated the Commissioners in successfully petitioning the state to approve a new PSD for Canaan Valley.

The County Commissioners are now in the process of re-hiring Thrasher to do enough preliminary engineering and other analysis to move forward with the decentralized approach....including securing the currently at-risk grant money.

I don't know what Highland Conservancy's position is; I assume they support bringing wastewater discharges into permit compliance, with little more detail than that.

As to increased residential, commercial, and other development, there are certainly some people there who welcome it, and some who don't, the latter most notably being the second home crowd.

The Zoning Ordinance allows for motels, hotels, theaters, supermarkets and drive-in type restaurants (ie, McDonalds) as Special Exceptions. Most notably, Retail Stores (Wal-Mart?) are Permitted by Right. And oh by the way, the Special Exceptions are granted or denied by a Board of Zoning Appeals, 5 political appointees chosen by the County Commissioners, and freeholders of Tucker County. Three of the 5 must be 10 year residents of Tucker County as well. The deck is kinda stacked in favor of the locals, not non-resident second home owners.

(PS, RyanC, I sent you a PM).
RyanC
May 9, 2007
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
yellowsnow, just checked and didn't get your PM. Can you resend just in case?

A political action committee comprised of second homeowners (Tucker County would go bankrupt without our property tax revenue- not to mention our support of existing small businesses) would be a start, since we can't vote. Even $100/year per household for those that wanted to participate would be huge if enough of us got involved.
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