The median home-sales price across Virginia was higher by nearly 10 percent in March from a year before, while the total number of sales was up nearly as much, according to new data.
A total of 11,518 properties went to closing across the Old Dominion last month, according to figures reported by the Virginia Realtors trade organization – up about 1,000 sales (9.6 percent) from a year before.
The feeding frenzy has resulted in bidding wars pushing sales prices above listing prices, as well as sellers making numerous concessions to land a deal.
And with inventory still low – down 46 percent from a year before – the market is likely to remain hot, although there is concern that the dearth of inventory might cause a springtime slowdown.
“A lack of inventory is still the biggest challenge in the market,” said Lisa Sturtevant, chief economist for Virginia Realtors. “The supply of available homes for sale has been steadily declining for years, [and] COVID-19 accelerated that trend.”
At the end of March, total inventory statewide was only about a third of what it was five years ago, and the inventory “was down significantly in nearly every county and independent city across Virginia,” Sturtevant said.
Strong demand coupled with limited supply means higher prices. The median sales price of all homes that went to closing in March stood at $335,000, up 9.8 percent from $305,000 a year before and from $265,000 five years ago.
Those home prices have been on the rise since last summer, when the state and national homes market staged a somewhat surprising, and not-yet-subsided, rebound despite the considerable uncertainty surrounding both the health and economic well-being of the nation.
Add up the sales and prices in March, and Virginia’s total sales volume for the month stood at about $4.9 billion, nearly one-quarter higher than the $3.9 billion of a year before.
Where is the market headed? Despite concerns about affordability – which will be further exacerbated if higher interest rates kick in – pending sales for the month were up by nearly 40 percent from a year before.
From this point on throughout 2021, year-over-year comparisons will get tricky because of the shock to the system of the pandemic’s arrival in the spring of 2020 and then the big rebound of summertime.