108 Robinson Woods, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, list price: $465,000; assessment: $408,200, Loi Patkin, BHG REIII-West, 434-760-4919
101 Robinson Woods, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, list price: $425,000; assessment: $395,000, Suzie Pace, Pace Real Estate Assoc., 434-981-3385
Subdivision: Robinson Woods
Price range: $345,000-$535,000
Schools: Venable, Walker & Buford, Charlottesville High School
Pros: proximity to UVA & downtown, sense of community
Cons: variation in the quality of construction, competition from new construction
There’s a consensus among the realtors who have listed, sold or shown property in the Robinson Woods subdivision: the location is excellent. Situated in the Rugby/Barracks area of Charlottesville, Robinson Woods offers easy walking, jogging or biking access to UVA, the Downtown Mall, Barracks Road shopping center, and Washington Park.
Comprised of 20 detached, single-family homes and a common area, Robinson Woods offers a “cul-de-sac lifestyle" that reduces traffic flow and helps protect the children who live there. And since the neighborhood demographic runs predominantly toward families with young children, this is no small benefit. The large front porches found on the majority of the Crafstman-style homes help promote socialization among neighbors and solidify the sense of community, as well.
Developed in 1997 by Tom Hickman, Robinson Woods, formerly known as Kellytown, was Charlottesville’s first planned urban development (PUD). Many of the homes are vertical in orientation, occupy lots of approximately .15 acres, and comprise 2,000-3,000 square feet, on average. One down side: some sit objectionably closely together.
Homes in this neighborhood are subject to association dues– $200/quarter– which cover the master insurance policy, maintenance of the common areas, and water and sewer fees.
Due to the small size of the neighborhood, Robinson Woods doesn’t see a great deal of turnover. There’ve been just three sales in the past two years and while two of these occurred relatively quickly, one of the homes languished on the market for 841 days. For the most part, prices in this neighborhood have risen substantially over the years. For example, #110 Robinson Woods, which was one of those three sales, originally traded hands for $276,935 back in 2000. In the summer of 2011, it sold for $498,000.
There are currently two homes listed for sale in this cul-de-sac neighborhood, one at $425,000 and the other at $465,000, figures that place them in direct competition with the new construction being offered in subdivisions like Belvedere, Old Trail, and Huntley.
And, yes, there are obvious differences that keep this from being an apples-to-apples comparison. Old Trail is in the western part of the county while Robinson Woods is in the city. Belvedere offers a town center while Robinson Woods offers close proximity to downtown itself, and Huntley is on the opposite side of town. But the fact remains that buyers looking in that $400,000-$450,000 price range may find that the lure of a brand-new, heretofore-unoccupied home in a new development trumps the appeal of a 15-year-old house with its accompanying maintenance and upkeep issues, regardless of location.
In addition to the age of the homes, several realtors who have been active in the Robinson Woods neighborhood mention a discernible variation in the quality of the construction of the homes, a factor noted by more than one prospective purchaser. In such situations, it’s useful to note that the location helps drive the per-square-foot price, but that can be a difficult case to make, depending on how the other homes under consideration compare.
Obviously, buyers looking for a rural lifestyle or even those seeking an urban location friendly to goats or chickens won’t find it here in Robinson Woods. But the proximity to city amenities coupled with the appeal of a tight-knit community in the Venable school district may prove irresistible to others.