The Virginia homes market continues its moderate but steady march upward after the recession, with home sales in 2019 up 3.4 percent from a year before even as the overall market was constrained by limited inventory.
A total of 126,305 properties went to closing across the Old Dominion last year, according to figures reported by the Virginia Realtors trade group. That was up from 122,184 transactions in 2018.
The 2019 market was helped by a 10.6-percent year-over-year increase in sales to close things out in December, although that month traditionally is one of the slower of each year.
Sales were up in nearly every nook and cranny across Virginia, albeit by varying degrees. In order of total transactions:
• Sales totaled 45,193 in Northern Virginia, up 1 percent from a year before.
• Sales totaled 29,650 in Hampton Roads, up 6.8 percent.
• Sales totaled 27,569 in central Virginia, including the Richmond area, up 3.4 percent.
• Sales totaled 9,870 in west-central Virginia, up 1.8 percent.
• Sales totaled 6,916 in the Shenandoah Valley, up 9 percent.
• Sales totaled 2,495 in eastern Virginia, up 1.6 percent.
• Sales totaled 2,491 in Southside Virginia, down 0.4 percent and the only decline among geographic areas.
• Sales totaled 2,111 in Southwest Virginia, up 3.6 percent.
The median sales price also showed an increase statewide, rising 3.5 percent to $295,000 – its highest percentage gain over the last five years and a new record.
Prices were up in every reporting area of the commonwealth, with the median price ranging from $120,000 in Southside Virginia to $450,000 in Northern Virginia and the rate of increase ranging from 3.5 percent in Hampton Roads to 9.1 percent in Southside.
Add it all up, and the total sales volume for the year across Virginia was $45.43 billion, an increase of 6.9 percent from a year before and up 31 percent from five years ago.
Inventory, particularly in Northern Virginia, continues to be the issue that is helping both to hold back sales and bumping up prices. At the end of 2019, there were 27,760 homes on the market statewide, compared to 35,089 at the end of 2018. Go back to the end of 2015, and there were 47,700 properties waiting for potential buyers.
Where is the statewide market headed? Lisa Sturtevant, chief economist for Virginia Realtors, predicts the market will “continue to perform well” through 2020, with stable sales and ongoing price growth.
Despite an increase in new-home construction, which will aid move-up buyers, the lack of inventory will continue to keep the ball in the court of sellers, Sturtevant said.
The organization’s predictions for the year: Home sales will total 129,343 (up 3 percent), while the median sales price will stand at $308,819 (up 4.6 percent).
For full data and analysis, see the Website at www.virginiarealtors.org.