Fairfax home sales, September 2019

This home in the 500 block of Haven Lane in Great Falls currently is on the market, listed at $2,650,000 by Lori Shafran of Yeonas & Shafran Real Estate.

Year-over-year home sales across Fairfax County were flat in August, but rising prices pushed total sales volume higher, according to new data.

A total of 1,457 properties went to closing last month, down slightly from 1,460 in August 2019, according to figures reported Sept. 11 by MarketStats by ShowingTime.

The flat sales month likely was due, in large part, to a dearth of inventory. At the end of August, a total of 2,151 properties were on the market, down 25 percent from a year before – not as big a dropoff as in inner suburbs like Arlington and Alexandria, but impacting the market nonetheless.

That constrained inventory pressed serious prospective purchasers into action. As a result, the number of days homes sat on the market in August was brief, average sales prices were higher and buyers obtained, on average, 98.6 percent of original listing price.

Overall, the average sales price of $599,872 was up 4.9 percent from a year before. That average was boosted a bit by a larger number of single-family homes in the overall sales mix, but prices were higher in all three segments of the market:

• The average sales price of a single-family home was $797,975, up 5.7 percent.

• The average sales price of an attached home – townhouse or rowhouse – was $405,420, up 0.5 percent.

• The average sales price of a condominium was up 6.8 percent to $312,005.

A total of 130 properties went to closing for $1 million or more during the month. Total sales volume of $874 million was up 4.6 percent.

Conventional mortgages represented the method of transacting sales in 1,005 cases, followed by VA-backed loans (166) and cash (158).

The dearth of inventory was due to a number of factors, including the “Amazon effect” – property owners holding their homes off the market in anticipation that the arrival of highly-paid Amazon workers and those connected to them will push prices higher in the future. Prospective purchasers are having to compete with investors taking a buy-now-and-hold approach, perhaps being willing to keep the properties off the market until next spring or longer.

That impact is being felt more forcefully in communities closer to Amazon’s “ground zero” of Crystal City, but there is a ripple effect spreading outward across the regional homes market. In Fairfax County, the number of homes listed in August was 1,654, down about 7 percent from a year before.

August marks a transition month between the hotter spring-summer market and the cooler fall-winter season in local real estate. But there is good news: Pending sales and homes coming under contract in Fairfax County were up in August, suggesting the market may be healthy – despite inventory constraints – for the next few months.

Data represent most, but not all, homes on the market. Figures are preliminary, and are subject to revision.

 

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