A tight inventory and the prospect of rising interest rates continue to encourage Northern Virginia home-buyers to get into the market, leading to higher home sales and increasing prices, according to new data.
And with it, hopes of a more balanced market where both sides can feel good seem to be evaporating.
“The market seems to be moving back towards a strong sellers’ market, although prices aren’t increasing as quickly as they were in the first half of the year,” said Derrick Swaak, 2021 president of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR).
Data disseminated by NVAR show 2,125 home sales across the region for the month, up 11.4 percent from a year before, with increases reported in the three largest jurisdictions.
Those sales were gobbling up – Thanksgiving pun most decidedly intended – many properties that had come on the market. By the end of November, there were just 1,641 properties listed, down 30 percent from the inventory available last year.
“Reflecting a paradox that has existed in the market for at least a year, in November the number of homes sold increased, while the number of homes on the market continued to drop,” Swaak said.
That led to higher prices, with the average sales price regionally rising 1.9 percent to $698,176 and the median price up 5.2 percent to $610,000.
(Figures represent market activity in Arlington and Fairfax counties and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church.)
Falls Church led the fivesome in both average ($736,000) and median ($850,000) sales prices, owing both to its close-in location and the preponderance of single-family homes in the community.
But sales prices across the jurisdictions seem to show a return of seasonality, as November was lower than October. If normal trends hold, sales prices will be down somewhat until the onset of the spring buying season blooms early next year.
An anticipated rise in mortgage rates next year may be contributing to year-end home-buying activity. Averaging 3.1 percent as of Dec. 9, the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage is predicted to approach the 4-percent mark in 2022, which while higher than recent times is still well below historic averages.
NVAR reported a total dollar sales volume of just under $1.48 billion in November, 13 percent higher than the same month in 2020 and a whopping 64 percent above the November 2019 rate. For the first 11 months of the year, a total of $17.4 billion in residential real estate changed hands across Northern Virginia.
Figures represent most, but not all, transactions during the period. All November 2021 figures are preliminary and are subject to revision.