Total sales were down and average sales prices also dropped in all three segments of the market as Arlington real estate closed out a wild 2022 with, as expected, a weak conclusion.
The combination of fewer sales and lower priced resulted in a year-over-year drop of more than 56 percent in overall sales volume for December, according to figures from MarketStats by ShowingTime based on listing activity from Bright MLS.
A total of just 140 properties went to closing across the county in December, down 52 percent from the 291 that changed hands during an unusually healthy December 2021. The decline continued, and accelerated, a trend that began in late spring, when the local market began showing signs of weakness owing to higher interest rates and affordability concerns.
That weakening also impacted average sales prices, which saw an overall decline of 10.1 percent to $728,349.
A portion of that decline was due to fewer single-family homes on the overall mix compared to last year, but all three market sectors posted dips:
• The average price of single-family homes dropped 2.2 percent to $1,231,623.
• The average price of attached homes (townhouses, rowhouses and condominiums) was down 13.2 percent to $505,248.
• The average price in the condo-only segment was down 12.8 percent to $474,514.
A total of 31 properties changed hands at more than $1 million, including three for more than $2.5 million.
Add it all up, and total sales volume for the month was about $102.8 million countywide, down from $235.2 million a year before.
More signs of softening: It took an average of 44 days between listing and ratified sales contract for homes that went to closing in December, up from 35 days a year before, and properties garnered an average of 95.3 percent of listing price, down from 97.7 percent.
Conventional mortgages represented the method of transacting sales in 83 cases, followed by cash (46) and VA-backed loans (five). That unusually high percentage of all-cash sales may suggest investors are swooping in, perhaps in anticipation that Arlington leaders will approve Missing Middle housing/zoning changes that will allow them more leeway in developing single-family lots.
Not only were many buyers seeming to be holding out for springtime to start their home search, sellers also were holding back. A scant 83 homes came onto the market in December, down from 174 a year ago.
Because homes are staying on the market longer, inventory is building, but the total at the end of the month (246 properties) was still down from 265 a year before.
Expect at least another month or two of anemic sales reports, as the total number of pending sales in the pipeline at the end of December was down more than 40 percent from a year before.
Figures represent most, but not all, homes on the market. All December 2022 figures are preliminary and are subject to revision.