You’d likely have been locked up as deranged if you’d predicted that 2020 would simultaneously bring a worldwide pandemic, a national economic meltdown and, in spite of the other two, a hot-hot-hot Virginia real-estate market.
And yet this is where we find ourselves as the state homes market has just one more month’s worth of data to report before sticking a fork in the year gone by.
And with solid sales data for November, it’s clear that the year-end transaction total for 2020 will surpass the solid year-end data for 2019, according to figures from the Virginia Realtors trade organization.
In November, there were a total of 11,590 transactions statewide, up 30.1 percent from a year before and bumping year-to-date transactions to 124,831, up 6.7 percent from 2019.
“Sales were up in all regions across Virginia except the Southwest region, where the number of home sales was virtually unchanged compared to a year ago,” said Lisa Sturtevant, chief economist for the Virginia Realtors trade group.
Sales were robust in the urban corridors of the commonwealth:
• There were 4,082 transactions in November in Northern Virginia, up 37.5 percent from a year before and bringing year-to-date sales up 6.2 percent to 44,832.
• In Central Virginia, which includes the Richmond corridor, sales for November totaled 2,490, up 24.5 percent, and year-to-date sales are up 5.8 percent to 26,848.
• In the Hampton Roads area, sales for November totaled 2,712, up 23.8 percent, with year-to-date sales up 11.3 percent to 30,460.
(Each of the eight geographic areas of Virginia reported year-to-date sales in positive territory, with increases ranging from the single digits in Northern Virginia, central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley to 30.7 percent in Eastern Virginia, including the Northern Neck.)
The median sales price of homes that went to closing in November stood at $328,000, an increase of 13.8 percent from $288,114 a year ago, with prices up by double digits (10.1 percent to 19.1 percent) in every corridor of the commonwealth. In Northern Virginia, the median sales price of $490,000 was up from $445,000 a year before.
Add up the sales and prices, and total volume for November stood at $4.72 billion, up from $3.17 billion a year before – a 49-percent increase. For the first 11 months of the year, sales volume of $48.7 billion is up 15.9 percent from a year before.
How could the market be so strong where there remain very real questions about the health both of people and the national economy? In short: An ongoing lack of inventory.
That shortage of available properties “has resulted in bidding wars and multiple offers in many local markets,” Sturtevant said. “New listings have been on the rise for several months; despite the uptick, there has not been enough new inventory to keep up with demand.”
Total inventory at the end of November (20,493) was down nearly 9 percent from homes available just a month before, and was 40 percent lower than a year before. Compared to November 2016, current inventory is off by 60 percent.
“The market is much tighter than it has been in recent years,” Sturtevant said.
The result of the lingering inventory shortfall, not surprisingly, has been a very brisk pace of transactions as buyers move quickly to pounce on what is available.
In November 2016, it took an average of 72 days for properties to go from listing to contract statewide; last year, with an inventory crunch already settled in, the average had declined to 51 days. This year, the total was just 31 days statewide, and just 17 days in Northern Virginia.
For the month, pending sales totaled 9,824, an increase of just under 16 percent from a year before. Many of those pendings will translate to completed transactions in December, rounding out a decidedly unusual, but unquestionably robust, statewide real-estate market.
For complete details, see the Website at www.virginiarealtors.org.
[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]