Va. home sales, June 2020

Year-over-year increases in median home-sales prices across Virginia, based on data from the Virginia Realtors trade group.

Most of Virginia – present company excepted – saw higher year-over-year home sales in June, according to new data, as the commonwealth’s real-estate market continued wriggling free from the worst of the pandemic and associated government-mandated economic shutdowns.

A total of 13,176 homes went to closing statewide during the month, an increase of 0.5 percent from the 13,106 sales in June 2019, according to figures reported by the Virginia Realtors trade group.

That may not be an exceptional result, given that June 2019 was relatively light, sales-wise, compared to Junes of the preceding five years. But it still compares favorably to double-digit year-over-year declines recorded in April and May, at the height of health and economic uncertainty.

June’s solid figures may be in part due to pent-up demand from those who sat things out when the pandemic first hit, then jumped into the market in late April and May. June’s completed home transactions were up 29.3 percent from those recorded in May.

Sales growth did not, however, extend to either the Northern Virginia market or the central Virginia area anchored by Richmond, both of which saw declines that could be attributed both to more restrictions placed on daily life due to the pandemic and to already restrained inventory totals in those areas.

But give it time, said Lisa Sturtevant, chief economist of Virginia Realtors.

“Housing demand was strong before the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn, and buyers will be back in the market this summer,” she said.

Sales prices, which have stayed strong throughout the year, rose 1.6 percent to stand at a median $318,000 statewide in June, with year-over-year increases in every corner of the commonwealth except Southside Virginia. “Sellers are getting very close to their asking price [and in some regions] above asking price,” Sturtevant said.

In Northern Virginia, price appreciation was stronger than statewide, rising 2.7 percent to a median $480,000.

The increase in prices has been solid in most price segments, but has been softer at the upper end. In June, the number of homes that sold statewide for more than $1 million was down nearly 11 percent from a year before as both buyers and sellers were somewhat cautious.

It took an average of 41 days for homes that went to closing in June to make the trip from listing to ratified sales contract, part of an ongoing improvement. (The average in June 2016 had been 64 days, which declined to 59, 51 and 49 in 2017, 2018 and 2019.) In Northern Virginia, the average days on the market for homes that sold in June was 22, by far the lowest statewide.

Add up the sales and prices, and the total sales volume for June of $4.99 billion rose 1.6 percent from $4.91 billion a year before.

Inventory remained tight, with the number of active listings on the market statewide down nearly 40 percent in June to 23,558 and the number of new listings coming to market also down. There are now fewer than half the number of homes on the market statewide than there were in mid-2016.

Where is the market headed? The number of pending sales recorded in June statewide was up 5.8 percent to 14,712, suggesting the market indeed had some forward momentum. Those pending sales usually move over to the completed-sales category within a month or two.

Virginia Realtors is an organization of 35,000 real-estate professionals across the commonwealth. Data represent most, but not all, home sales statewide.

For information, see the Website at www.virginiarealtors.org.

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