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The juggernaut that has been in the Northern Virginia real-estate market rolled on in as winter sashayed into spring, with home sales up significantly and average sales prices also higher.
“More housing inventory came on the market in March, yet those listings were snapped up quickly. There are simply more buyers than available homes for sale,” said Derrick Swaak, partner and managing broker with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty in McLean and president of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR).
The trade/professional organization represents approximately 12,000 real-estate professionals in the local area.
Across the region – which includes Arlington and Fairfax counties and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church – total sales for March stood at 2,140, up 17.9 percent from a year before, with every locality posting double-digit increases.
The average sales price also rose, up 7.3 percent to $696,318, with a 9.9-percent bump up in Fairfax County leading the pack.
And there seems to be no let-up in sight: There was a 54-percent month-over-month increase in new contract activity in the NVAR region, with 2,781 new pending contracts, and a 26-percent month-over-month increase in total pendings – to 2,802 – which represents new contracts plus contracts carried over from February.
“All of this activity has resulted in a contract ratio that continues to rise – to 1.77 pending contracts per active listing, which is up from 1.41 in February [and] 50 percent higher than the five-year March average of 1.18 – indicative of a market that continues to favor sellers in our region,” said NVAR CEO Ryan McLaughlin.
The spiraling sales prices are encouraging some prospective sellers who have been on the fence to test the market, assuming they have a place to go once their home goes to closing. Yet the total number of active listings on the market continue to lag those of a year before.
“Buyers competed vigorously for new listings that came on the market, particularly single-family detached homes,” Swaak said.
A recent informal poll among local Realtors found that fully one third of them had presented offers on behalf of clients that had not actually seen the home in question. It’s an indication both of the current market frenzy and, perhaps, some residual COVID fears.
One segment of the market that is showing plenty of availability is the condo portion, particularly in Arlington.
“In March, there were 292 condo units listed for sale in Arlington, compared with 76 in March of 2020,” McLaughlin said.
The average days on market for homes sold in March in the NVAR region was 20, which is 25 percent below the five-year March average of 27 days. And homes continue to sell above the listed price, with an average sold price to original list price ratio of 101.4 percent in March.
March data likely will prove to be the last reliable year-over-year comparison for a number of months, as the April-through-June market in 2020 was significantly impacted, though not entirely derailed, by the first phase of the COVID pandemic.
For full data, see the Website at www.nvar.com/marketstats.