Home sales across Virginia, which had been blazing hot at times from the summer of 2020 through the summer of 2021, are definitely cooling, although that may simply be a return of seasonal variations that were the norm in the pre-COVID era.
The 13,079 home sales recorded in Virginia in September represented a decline of 2 percent from a year before, according to data reported Oct. 20 by the Virginia Realtors trade group. That’s the first year-over-year decline in more than a year.
But don’t get too worked up about the prospect of the market falling off the cliff.
“It’s important to remember that the market last September was unusually active,” said Lisa Sturtevant, chief economist for the trade group. “Slower sales activity does indicate a cooling in the market, but it also suggests that we’re seeing more typical seasonality.”
Statewide sales results for September were inconsistent – some of the commonwealth’s eight geographic reporting areas were up, while others were down. Among urban/suburban areas, Hampton Roads showed a 6.4-percent increase to 3,367 sales, but central Virginia (including Richmond and environs) was down 1.9 percent to 2,721.
In Northern Virginia, year-over-year sales declined 5.5 percent to 4,486; factor out Northern Virginia, and the rest of the Old Dominion was almost completely unchanged in sales activity from the strong numbers of September 2020.
The median sales price of all homes that went to closing for the month was $350,000, up 6.1 percent, with all eight geographic areas posting increases. The largest bumps up were in the two lowest-price nooks and crannies of the commonwealth – Southwest Virginia rose 30.2 percent to $184,900 while Southside Virginia was up 21.3 percent to $155,000.
In Northern Virginia, the median sales price was $525,000, with its 6.1-percent bump matching the statewide increase. (“Northern Virginia,” in Virginia Realtors’ parlance, includes both the inner and outer suburbs of Washington and areas stretching down as far as Fredericksburg.)
Inventory of available homes on the market rose 1.8 percent from August to September, the first uptick between these two months in more than five years. But again, officials said there’s no reason to read anything scary into that.
“What we’re seeing is a slow return to a more ‘normal’ housing market, not a big change in home-buyer demand,” said Virginia Realtors’ president Beth Dalton. “It would be impossible for the housing market to keep up the frantic pace we’ve been seeing over the past 12 months.”
With price increases making up for the slight sales slump, statewide real-estate sales volume stood at $5.6 billion in September, up 3.4 percent from a year before.
For the first nine months of 2021, Virginia saw 116,136 residential properties go to closing, an increase of 16.3 percent from a year before. The median statewide sales price rose to $350,000, an 11.1-percent increase.
The full report can be found at www.virginiarealtors.org.