Could it happen here? Could the area's astronomical housing prices plummet with a sickening thud like the stock market in 2000?

"No, we definitely don't see any bubble bursting here," says Dave Phillips, Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors CEO.

It's Econ 101: high demand, low supply. "If your price range is $300,000," explains Phillips, "there may be 10 houses in the entire market and 40 people looking."

Unlike the stock market, in which people periodically get swept up with the hope of getting rich, housing is more primal, says Phillips, and not typically a speculative investment. For one, a house costs more than penny stocks. "And people are really vested in that," he says.

"This is not like the irrational exuberance in the tech stock buy-up," Phillips insists.

A stable industry– education– and a best-place-to-live label keep local housing prices far above the state median of $146,750.