Va. home sales keep on booming in August

Graphic from Virginia Realtors shows year-over-year increase in home sales in August 2020.

Virginia’s home-sales market in August continued to brush aside COVID and the resulting economic downturn, with total sales volume for the month up more than 25 percent on a year-over-year basis.

“Home sales were up strongly in nearly all markets across the commonwealth,” said Lisa Sturtevant, chief economist for the Virginia Realtors’ trade group, in an analysis of monthly sales figures.

“August was a very strong month for sales activity, continuing the rebound that began in June,” Sturtevant said.

The data back up her assessment: Home sales statewide totaled 13,745 in August, which while down from July (as usually is the case) was up 12.2 percent from the 12,245 transactions that occurred in August 2019.

Some of that increase is attributable to ongoing, pent-up demand that has lingered since the spring buying season was derailed by COVID. But there also are indications that the statewide (and national) homes market has momentum of its own.

“Home-sales activity that was paused this spring was unleashed over the summer,” Sturtevant said. “Buyers returned in force.”

(But where they have returned is interesting – the Virginia market has seen stronger sales activities in rural and exurban corridors than in close-in suburbs and urban areas. “The ability to work from home, coupled with concerns about COVID-19 in dense areas, may be pushing home-buyers to seek out smaller communities,” Sturtevant said. )

Year-very-year sales were up in each of the eight geographic reporting regions of the commonwealth with the exception of Southside Virginia, where sales were effectively flat. Double-digit increase were reported in a number of areas, including Northern Virginia, which saw a 17.4-percent boost to 4,925 transactions.

The median sales price of all homes that went to closing during the month statewide was $330,000, up 10.6 percent from a year before and by far the largest year-over-year jump for the month in recent years.

Median sales prices were up in all eight corridors of the commonwealth – by double digits in five of them – and ranged from $140,000 in Southside Virginia to an even $500,000 in Northern Virginia.

That rate of growth is hurting affordability, with just 18.4 percent of properties that sold for the month going for less than $200,000. A year ago, 24.7 percent of homes sold in that price range.

On the other side of the coin, 3.1 percent of properties across the state went to closing for more than $1 million, up from 2.2 percent a year before.

Add up the sales and prices, and sales volume for the month stood at $5.5 billion, up 25.5 percent from the $4.4 billion of a year before.

One of the reason for rising prices is the ongoing dearth of inventory.

While more sellers brought their homes to market in August than a year before, the spike in sales meant inventory at the end of the month (22,780 homes) was down more than 41 percent from a year before.

Where might the market be headed? With pending sales in August up about 11 percent from a year before, the market seems poised to continue to roll through as summer segues to fall.

If so, the Virginia market will be able to catch up to 2019’s total sales, as the January-to-August sales total of 86,471 is down just 498 properties, or 0.6 percent, from a year before – despite loss of much of the spring buying season.

While sales are down slightly, year-to-date sales volume of $33.1 billion over the first eight months of the year is up 5.4 percent from the same period in 2019. The median sales price for all homes that sold statewide during the first eight months of the year stood at $314,900, up 5.3 percent from a year before.

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[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]

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