Despite a year-over-year drop, home sales across Northern Virginia last month were strong when compared to other Septembers over most of the past decade, although there are signs the previously overheated market continues to return to a degree of normalcy.
“Sales are still brisk and inventory is still low. But what we experienced for September was more of a reversion . . . a more typical fall market like we had in 2019 or 2018, rather than the outlier of 2020,” said Derrick Swaak, president of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR) and a partner and managing broker with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty in McLean.
The upshot? Prospective home purchasers in the region faced less competition in September compared to the preceding 12 months.
A total of 2,061 properties went to closing during the month across the region, according to figures reported by NVAR on Oct. 14. Data include sales in Arlington and Fairfax counties and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church.
“Comparing September activity to the previous year, the number of houses sold was down 5 percent,” Swaak said, declaring the month to be “a slight moderation of the extraordinary market we experienced in the spring and summer.”
Upward pressure on prices also eased in September, with median ($595,000) and average ($688,641) regional sales prices essentially unchanged, showing decreases of a fraction of 1 percent.
The local market, which tilted heavily in favor of sellers before the pandemic and remained so during it, “is continuing to move in the buyer’s favor,” said Ryan McLaughlin, CEO of NVAR.
But perhaps “equilibrium” is what those in the real-estate industry are most hoping to see.
“Contract activity remains strong going deeper into the fall market, particularly for single-family homes. While homes remained on the market longer in September than last year – an average of 21 days versus 19 in 2020 – it is still not unusual for a well-priced, well-presented home under $1.5 million to sell within a few days, sometimes over the asking price,” Swaak said.
The local market remains, however, somewhat of a roller-coaster ride.
“Based on reports from Bright MLS of appointments confirmed through Showing Time, we saw a spike in home showings in the NVAR region in mid-September following a slight decline that had begun during prime vacation time in July and August,” said McLaughlin. “The number of showings began to decline again towards the end of the month.”
That said, “Our members report steady buyer activity, with relief from the frenzy that began in the middle of last year,” McLaughlin said.
Figures represent most, but not all, homes on the market. September 2021 figures are preliminary and are subject to revision.