Driven by growth in urban and suburban corridors across the commonwealth, September proved to be the strongest month of the year, in terms of year-over-year home-sales activity, according to new data from the Virginia Realtors’ trade group.
A total of 10,070 properties went to closing for the month, an increase of 11 percent from the 9,073 reported a year before, while median sales prices continued to climb across much of the Old Dominion.
As a result, the total dollar volume of all transactions was up more than a half-billion dollars.
“While signals of a possible recession continue to loom at the national level, the economy in Virginia is growing, which bodes well for the housing market,” said Virginia Realtors’ chief economist, Lisa Sturtevant. “The job base is expanding and the unemployment rate is lower than the national level. Interest rates are historically low, and may continue to drop in coming months.”
Sales activity posted increases in all sectors of the commonwealth except Southside, where sales were down 7 percent, and were up by double digits in the three largest market areas:
• Home sales in Northern Virginia totaled 3,465, up 12 percent from a year before.
• Sales in Hampton Roads were up 13 percent to 2,380.
• Sales in Central Virginia, which includes Richmond, were up 15 percent to 2,235.
(Before getting too carried away with the September 2019 report, it is worth noting that the previous September seems to have been an uncharacteristically slow month for sales during an otherwise healthy autumn of 2018. The 2019 figure for September is virtually at parity with 2016 and just slightly higher than 2017.)
The median sales price of all homes that went to closing during the month was $292,745, an increase of 6 percent from a year before, for and the highest hike in more than five years.
While the median sales price in Northern Virginia ($432,000) was up a modest 2 percent, the year-over-year increase was up by larger amounts in every reporting corridor except the area tucked between the Shenandoah Valley and Southwest Virginia; it posted a slight decline.
Part of the boost in sales price is due to a relatively tight inventory. The 36,882 properties on the market at the end of September represented a decline of 16 percent from a year before.
All told, sales volume for September was $3.55 billion, a 17-percent jump. About half the $524 million increase in dollar volume came from Northern Virginia, with another quarter coming from the Central Virginia region.
“The September sold dollar volume in Virginia is $1 billion higher than five years ago, which reflects the overall growth and expansion that has occurred in many of the state’s regional housing markets over the past several years,” Sturtevant said.
For homes that went to closing in September, the trip from listing to ratified contract was a relatively brisk 48 days, nearly a week faster than the year before and well below the 70-plus days required during the Septembers of 2014 and 2015.
“The low supply of active listings is driving rising prices and lower days on the market,” Sturtevant said.
Figures from September 2019 are preliminary, and are subject to revision. For full data, see the Website at www.virginiarealtors.org.