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Year-over-year home sales prices grew 16.6 percent statewide in May, putting more than $50,000 extra into the pockets of typical sellers as the post-COVID market juggernaut rolls on.

The median sales price of all homes that went to closing during the month statewide stood at $367,200, an increase of 16.6 percent ($52,200) from the $315,000 reported in May 2020, according to new figures from the Virginia Realtors trade organization.

That year-over-year increase represents an acceleration of the growth curve, as the average rise in median sales price for the first five months of the year statewide stood at 13.2 percent, with the median price during that January-through-May period totaling $340,000.

For the month of May, median sales prices were up in each of the eight geographic areas of the commonwealth, rising by double digits in five of them.

The biggest year-over-year increases were found in Eastern Virginia (up 24.2 percent to $285,000) and Southwest Virginia (up 24.3 percent to $169,000). In Northern Virginia, the median sales price rose 17.9 percent to $560,000.

“Virginia’s housing market continued to be very busy in May, although there may be signs of an approaching cooling,” said Lisa Sturtevant, chief economist for Virginia Realtors.

Inventory remains tight in many areas, “though in some markets, the number of active listings is rising, providing more options for buyers,” Sturtevant said.

The total number of sales across the commonwealth in May stood at 14,146, up 36 percent from a year ago – but “a year ago” in this case was during the immediate impact of the COVID crisis and resulting economic lockdown, which momentarily derailed the real-estate market before it regained momentum.

Comparing May to the same month in pre-pandemic times, the 14,156 sales looked good, as they were higher than 2017 (12,696), 2018 (12,721) and 2019 (13,101).

Homes that went to closing last month spent an average of 22 days between listing and ratified sales contract. By contrast, in May 2019 the figure was 47 days; in May 2017, it was 56 days.

“Buyers know they need to be ready to act quickly when they find the home that is right for them,” Sturtevant said.

At the end of the month, there was, statewide, a 1.4-month supply of homes available to purchasers, about half the level from a year ago and in line with earlier months in 2021. That indicates a decidedly pro-seller environment; the number would have to rise to three or four months’ worth of supply for a more balanced market.

As a result, sellers have been cashing in.

“The average sold-to-list-price ratio in May was 102.4 percent,” Sturtevant said. “The most significant pressure on home prices is coming at the higher price points.”

Indeed: In May 2021, 21.6 percent of all homes statewide sold for more than $600,000, compared to just 13 percent in May 2020.

At the end of the month, there were (exactly) 18,000 homes on the market across the commonwealth, less than half a normal May of recent times. While still rock-bottom, inventory has been increasing for the past three months, after years of nearly continuous month-to-month declines.

Year-over-year inventory was up in many areas of Northern Virginia, but that largely was due to availability of condominiums.

While a more balanced buyer-vs.-seller market may be on the horizon for a host of reasons (rising inventory, affordability concerns and higher interest rates among them), that likely won’t have an impact on the statewide market until early 2022, officials suggest.

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For full data, see the Website at www.varealtor.org.