Sales prices of single-family homes continued their ascent into the stratosphere, but otherwise, the Fairfax County real estate market started the year off in a quiet frame on mind.
Home sales countywide totaled 817 in January, down nearly 19 percent from the 1,008 transactions recorded a year before, according to figures reported Feb. 11 by MarketStats by ShowingTime, based on listing data from Bright MLS.
Before any red alarms start blaring, it’s worth noting that the wintertime 2020-21 sales market had been remarkably robust, as buyers continued their efforts to find an abode in the aftermath of the first blast of COVID in the spring of 2020. It appears that the market now has returned to more normal seasonality, with higher sales in spring and summer and lower totals in fall and winter.
The average sales price of $710,626 for all properties that sold across Fairfax County during January was up 9.6 percent from $648,546. That growth rate was buoyed both by the larger percentage of single-family homes in the overall sales mix compared to a year before, but also by the ever-increasing sales prices for those single-family homes.
The average sales price of a detached property in January stood at $1,062,410, up 14.6 percent from $927,373 a year before.
Other parts of the market also showed increases, but of a much smaller amount:
• The average sales price of detached properties, such as townhouses, rose 2.6 percent to $449,043.
• The average sales price of condominiums rose 4.4 percent to $331,163.
A total of 104 properties changed hands across the county for more than $1 million during the month, including 19 for more than $2.5 million and one for more than $5 million.
Add up the sales and prices, and total volume for the month was $578.76 million, down 11.5 percent from a year before.
Homes that went to closing in the month garnered an average 99.4 percent of original listing price, down slightly, and spent an average of 33 days on the market, up from the brisk-for-January total of 23 days recorded in 2021.
Conventional mortgages were used to finance transactions in 582 cases during the month, followed by cash (118) and VA-backed mortgages.
Fairfax County has been suffering from a dearth of inventory in recent months, as buyers from the summer of 2020 to the summer of 2021 descended on neighborhoods and scooped up what they could. The 478 properties on the market at the end of January represented a nearly 50-percent decline from 945 a year before.
(Inventory, alone, is not necessarily responsible for the slower rate of sales in January. Neighboring Arlington also saw its inventory down more than 40 percent from a year before, but still saw a double-digit increase in year-over-year home sales in January.)
Where is the Fairfax market headed? In the short term, it does look like the normal seasonality that was out of kilter in early 2021 is back at play, as the 1,134 pending sales recorded at the end of the month represent a decline of 18 percent from a year ago, but are relatively in line with winter months of pre-COVID years. In January 2018, for instance, there were 1,193 pending sales.
Those pending sales generally translate into completed transactions within a month or two of posting.
Figures represent most, but not all, home sales during the period. All figures are preliminary, and are subject to revision.