The seven largest home-sales markets in Virginia saw an 11.5-percent decline in sales during the first quarter of 2022 compared to a year before, owing to a number of factors.
A total of 11,043 properties went to closing in those top markets, according to figures by Virginia Realtors as analyzed by the Sun Gazette. That compared to 12,475 sales during the January-February-March period of 2021.
Statewide, the dropoff was a little less pronounced, dipping 7.7 percent to 27,669.
There are two main reasons for the year-over-year drop:
• The early part of 2021 saw off-the-charts market activity as compared to traditional winter norms, owing to pent-up demand left over from the first part of the pandemic, when home sales were constrained.
• A lack of inventory has been bedeviling the state market over the past year, as prospective buyers have outstripped available homes.
“In Virginia, supply remains historically low; inventory is now less than a third of what it was five years ago,” said Ryan Price, chief economist of the Virginia Realtors trade group.
The Sun Gazette looked at the seven counties and cities (out of Virginia’s 133) where sales in 2021 or 2022 or both topped 1,000 for the first quarter. Year-over-year quarterly sales were down in each of the seven, albeit to varying degrees:
• In Fairfax County, sales for the quarter totaled 3,193, down 10.6 percent.
• In Virginia Beach, sales stood at 1,750, down 13.7 percent.
• In Prince William County, sales were 1,505, down 10.7 percent.
• In Chesterfield County, sales were 1,345, down 13.4 percent.
• In Loudoun County, sales stood at 1,270, down 19.2 percent.
• In Chesapeake, sales were 1,044, down 4.2 percent.
• In Henrico County, sales were 936, down 7.3 percent.
The inventory bottleneck shows signs of clearing itself up, as homeowners decide it might be in their best interest to act now and get their homes on the market before missing out on the buyer frenzy.
“It is likely that Virginia’s inventory of homes for sale will expand over the coming months,” said Virginia Realtors president Denise Ramey. “Many sellers are feeling pressure from increasing mortgage rates, which will lead some to list their home for property now, before higher rates lead to less buyer interest.”