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Even as members of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR) wait to discern the mid-term and long-term consequences of the current health and economic woes, the beat goes on when it comes to home sales.

“The ability to buy or sell a home is an essential need for many people,” said NVAR president Nicholas Lagos. “As an industry, we have adapted quickly to find the best way to meet the needs of the public.”

A total of 1,815 properties went to closing across the Northern Virginia region in March, according to figures reported April 13 by MarketStats by ShowingTime. That’s up 14.4 percent from a year before, although it represents transactions that largely were in the pipeline before the health scare took hold.

Sales were up in Arlington and Fairfax counties and the cities of Alexandria and Fairfax, with only Falls Church seeing a decline.

Both the average ($649,118) and median ($577,900) sales prices for March were in positive territory, with year-over-year increases of 8.9 and 7.4 percent, respectively. Average prices were up everywhere but Falls Church; Falls Church and Alexandria saw declines in median sales prices.

Total sales volume – $1.17 billion – was up 24 percent from March 2019.

Inventory already had been constrained before the virus hit, and its impact clearly has led some prospective sellers to hold their properties off the market and wait out the course of events. New listings fell by 6.8 percent in March to 2,823, compared with 3,028 new listings in March of last year.

Data from SentriLock, the lockbox service used by NVAR’s members, showed a steady fall-off in foot traffic at homes beginning the week of March 16. Pending sales at the end of March were 17 percent below March 2019 pending sales, a likely indicator of the pandemic’s market effect, at least in the short term.

“April numbers, released at the beginning of May, will give a clearer picture of the COVID-19 impact on the region’s real estate market,” NVAR officials said.

While slowed, the real-estate market is hardly stalled – homes are being shown, lenders are processing documents and paperwork is being accepted by local courts.

“Technology has been a game-changer in the real-estate industry, even before the pandemic,” NVAR CEO Ryan Conrad said. “In fact, once this crisis passes, many tools and adaptations will remain in place, likely changing the nature of real-estate transactions for Realtors and their clients in the future.”

For the first three months of the year, home sales across the Northern Virginia region totaled 4,074, based on a Sun Gazette analysis of MarketStats by ShowingTime data. That’s up 5.5 percent from a year before.

The average sales price of homes that sold during the January-February-March period stood at $645,391, up 11.8 percent from $577,437 in the same time frame in 2019.

Total sales volume for the quarter was $2.63 billion, up from $2.23 billion a year before.

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


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