Groundhog Day 2018 and Charlottesville Real Estate

Groundhog Day 2018 and Charlottesville Real Estate

Groundhog Day 2018 is now past us and Punxsutawney Phil, in the same named town in Pennsylvania (and from his hill home at “Gobbler’s Knob”), has predicted six more weeks of winter. 

The movie of the same name celebrated 25 years on Friday and Bill Murray’s title character would agree that, sometimes, the real estate market feels like it follows the same patterns year after year, but there is always room for something new and different, and even better.

Point in fact, Phil was wrong last year: he saw his shadow, so there should have been six more weeks of winter, but both February and March ended up warmer than average across the nation, said NOAA at the National Centers for Environmental Information in Asheville, N.C.  Based on past weather data, “there is no predictive skill for the groundhog during the most recent years of the analysis,” according to a report released this week by NOAA. February 2017 was the second-warmest February on record.

According to USA Today, the groundhog has seen his shadow, since 1887, 103 times, to forecast a longer winter, and not seen it 18 times, to predict an early spring. (There is no record of the prediction for 10 times in the late 19th century.)

Origins of Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day stems from the European holiday known as Candlemas, a Christian “festival of lights” in the bleak midwinter of Feb. 2, which is also the mid-way point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring, or Vernal, Equinox. Germans built upon the tradition by looking to the hedgehog as a predictor of weather, the legend goes, and German settlers in Pennsylvania later switched to the groundhog.

If you ask Phil’s handlers, called the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, the groundhog’s predictions aren’t geographically specific (they always come to pass somewhere). He also relays his predictions by speaking “Groundhogese.”

Flipping a coin might be as accurate as Phil. Since 1988, the groundhog was “right” 14 times and “wrong” 16 times. In other words, only 14 times did the national average temperature for the remainder of February match what would be expected based on what the groundhog predicted.

What does this mean for Charlottesville Real Estate Buyers?

Despite the wild fluctuations in temperatures and weather in January to start off the year here in Charlottesville, it appears that area Buyers and Sellers are literally wishing an early spring on all of us as the spring market has already heated up.

Many new listings have already popped up on the market and are under contract, within hours it seems, with multiple offers following in their wake.

For Buyers who were waiting for the inventory levels to climb again, they have to be ready, with pre-approval letters in hand, and constantly being on the lookout, via the Internet or word of mouth, and having their agents also working hard on their behalf, to make an offer almost immediately. 

What does this mean for Sellers?

While many Sellers may hold off listing until there are leaves on the trees and their gardens start to fill out to put their homes in the best light, it almost is a moot point as Buyers are just waiting for something great to come on the market.

Here at Solutions we are recommending that our Sellers supply us with photos from the previous spring and summer time so Buyers can see what the yard will look like and ignore the bleak winter landscape. 

The other dilemma is having a house go under contract and close sooner than the Seller can find another one to buy – it is a guessing game of timing for sure.

The other popular local milestone is the Annual Match Day at UVA Hospital that takes place in mid-March – many listings are gearing up for that day, but, if you don’t have to wait, it might be worthwhile to get ready to list now as there are certainly plenty of Buyers ready to pounce.

The only creature not ready to pounce is Punxsutawney Phil, who is probably napping in his snug home and dreaming about next year when he will be disturbed once again from his slumber.

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Charles McDonald
Charles McDonald
Charlottesville Solutions
2013 Woodbrook Court, Charlottesville VA 22901
REALTOR® - Licensed to sell Real Estate in Virginia
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