New homes

The average and median square footage of new homes across the U.S. dipped slightly from 2015 to 2016, but remained among the highest ever. (U.S. Census Bureau)

Year-over-year home sales were up across all regions of the Northern Virginia core in June, according to new figures, in part because of worries by prospective purchasers that the market may be leaving them behind.

“Renters have awakened and entered the sales market in fear of losing out on the historically low [interest] rates and taking advantage of the home-mortgage-interest deductions,” said Nicholas Lagos, broker/owner of Century 21 Gawen Realty.

A total of 2,718 residential properties went to closing in June, according to figured reported July 13 by the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR). That’s up 7.6 percent from 2,527 transactions a year ago.

(Figures represent sales in Arlington and Fairfax counties and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church.)

There has been improvement in consumer confidence at the national level, said NVAR chair Bob Adamson, and “local buyers and sellers share that confidence.”

But prospective purchasers are not going into the process blind. Adamson said they “have been careful about each listing’s location, price and condition.”

“They also pay attention to the home’s age, updates and likely commute times,” he said.

All of the five jurisdictions comprising the survey saw year-over-year sales increases in June, and all but the city of Falls Church posted increases in median sales prices. Overall, the median sales price of $535,000 was up 1.9 percent from a year ago, while the average sales price of $602,045 was up 1.5 percent.

Northern Virginia’s summer market traditionally is the high point of the year, where both monthly sales and prices peak before sliding down through the end of the year.

While inventory levels remain below 2016’s totals, the number of new listings during June – 3,232 – was just a handful fewer than the same time last year.

Home-mortgage interest rates, which are expected to rise from what have been historically rock-bottom levels, will impact the ability of some buyers down the road to get into the homes they want.

“With a 1-percent increase in interest rates, it can decrease a purchaser’s borrowing power by approximately 10 percent,” Lagos said.

The June report closes out the first half of the year for the Northern Virginia real estate market. For the first six months of 2017, sales totaled 11,321, up 8.1 percent from a year before, while the average sales price of $578,407 was up 3.4 percent. Sales volume for the six-month period was $6.55 billion, up 11.9 percent from a year before.

Figures represent most, but not all, homes on the market. June 2017 figures are preliminary, and are subject to revision.

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