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Home sales and median sales prices continued their upward trajectory across nearly all areas of the commonwealth, with smaller and more rural areas faring best and the market for condominiums trailing.
A total of 8,806 properties went to closing during the first month of 2021, up 31.1 percent from January 2020, according to data reported by the Virginia Realtors trade group.
Sales were up in each of the eight geographic areas of the commonwealth, with the increases ranging from 12.7 percent in the Shenandoah Valley to 206 percent in Southwest Virginia. Eastern Virginia and Southside Virginia also saw sales totals more than double compared to a year before.
In Northern Virginia, sales for the month totaled 2,862, up 27 percent from a year before. Virginia Realtors defines “Northern Virginia as both the inner and outer suburbs of Washington, as well as some areas even further out.
The median sales price of all homes that went to closing for the month was $315,000, up 12.5 percent from a year before and marking six consecutive months of double-digit increases. Homes garnered, on average, 99.7 percent of listing price, “reflecting bidding wars and multiple offers,” said Lisa Sturtevant, chief economist for Virginia Realtors.
Median sales prices were up by double-digit amounts in all eight areas of the commonwealth, with increases ranging from 10.2 percent to 31.3 percent and median sales prices ranging from $137,000 (Southside Virginia) to $475,000 (Northern Virginia).
Those increasing prices are not being matched by incomes, creating an increasing affordability crunch.
Homes selling for $200,000 or less represented only one in five transactions (20.8 percent), compared to 28.1 percent a year before. On the other end of the spectrum, homes selling for $800,000 or more rose from 4.3 percent of homes sold in January 2020 to 6.3 percent in January 2021.
Total sales volume for the month stood at $3.4 billion, up 32.2 percent from a year before.
Homes that went to closing in January spent an average of 36 days between listing and ratified sales contract. While lengthy compared to spring/summer standards, it was remarkably brisk for mid-winder; a year before, the average was 56 days, while in 2017, it was 77 days.
“The fast-moving market has made the home-buying process increasingly challenging for some homebuyers, particularly some first-time buyers,” Sturtevant said.
Inventory remains a challenge, even though increasing numbers of homeowners are putting their properties on the market. At the end of January, there were 16,280 properties available for perusal, down 43 percent from a year before.
Where might the Virginia market be heading? The number of pending sales in January (9,301) was up 16 percent from a year before, suggesting the market that began booming as COVID restrictions were eased last summer shows no signs of slowing in the near term.
Several months into the future, however, there could be challenges due to insufficient inventory as “the pace of sales activity continues to outpace supply,” Sturtevant said.
In 2020, a total of 139,908 properties went to closing across the Old Dominion, up 10.8 percent from 126,908 in 2019. Year-over-year sales were up in each of the eight geographic areas of the commonwealth, with the increases ranging from 7.4 percent (central Virginia, including the Richmond area) to 29.4 percent (eastern Virginia, including the Eastern Shore).
Northern Virginia ended the year with 49,185 transactions, up 10 percent. Hampton Roads followed with 33,621, up 13.4 percent.
Statewide, the median sales price in 2020 was $319,902, which was up from $295,000 last year, an 8.4-percent increase – significantly higher than the 2- to 4-percent bumps recorded in most recent years.
Total sales volume statewide in 2020 was $53.6 billion, up 18.1 percent from a year before.
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For more, see the Website at www.varealtors.org.