Church Hill is being called the next neighborhood to watch, but does just watching mean you’re too late?
When my husband and I were hunting for our first house four years ago, Church Hill was one of a handful of neighborhoods in the city where the beautiful old homes we hoped to buy came with a price tag we could afford. Thankfully, we loved the area for many other reasons, even before its amazing bakeries and restaurants began to appear. With the birth of Church Hill’s restaurant scene came a slew of articles touting it as a “neighborhood to watch“, including USA Today naming Church Hill one of “10 up-and-coming neighborhoods in the USA“. But for those just now turning an eye to Church Hill, does just watching mean you’re too late?
Taking a quick peek at realtor.com, even with borders extended far outside of Church Hill proper, you’d be hard pressed to find more than fifteen single-family homes for sale between $100,000 and $400,000. According to Jeanne Bridgeforth, a local real estate agent who keeps track of trends in Church Hill at richmondhistoricproperties.com, the market in the neighborhood has steadily increased over the past eighteen months, particularly on the higher end. Church Hill homes above $400,000 that once sat on the market are now selling in short order as renovation and business development continues to grow.
Though the number of available homes in the neighborhood has steadily declined since the 2008 recession, Bridgeforth sees regular renovation taking place, most notably in areas north of Broad Street. As businesses pop-up in formerly unused spaces, homes in the surrounding area get a boost. This spread of development comes with a separate set of questions around the history of the Church Hill community itself, which John Murden addressed in a Style Weekly article from 2013 that continues to ring true.
The real estate market in the rest of Richmond is on the upswing as well, but recent months have brought businesses like Union Market, Seven Hills Studio, Urban Set Bride and soon-to-open Metzger Bar and Butchery to our small corner of the city. While Church Hill is still an affordable and appealing neighborhood for first time homebuyers, each week brings news of positive changes capable of both enticing former naysayers and boosting prices in the area. For those who have had their eye on the neighborhood, the pace of development should be more than encouraging. It seems that now might be the best time to stop watching and start moving.