It literally was just weeks ago that Virginia’s real-estate market was strongly favoring sellers, with prospective buyers scrambling to buy into communities in the wake of low inventory.
What a difference a month or two makes.
Members of the Virginia Realtors trade group report declining sales conditions and more concern about the future, owing to higher interest rates, more inventory and perhaps the sense among some residents that it’s time to batten down the hatches rather than take on the responsibility of a new home.
The trade organization’s late-May “flash survey” of members saw just 36 percent of respondents rank buyer activity in their markets as “high” or “very high,” a steep decline from 56 percent in April and the lowest response since the survey was undertaken last summer.
Meanwhile, the seller-activity index rose from 33 on a 0-to-100 scale in May compared to 26 in April, its highest mark since last October and representing both more sellers bringing homes to market, and those homes lingering longer before selling.
About 48 percent of respondents to the survey reported that seller activity in their areas was still “low to very low,” a good sign for those who fear an oversaturation of homes but still down from 59 percent a month before.
The survey saw a response from 887 Realtors, including 751 who had participated in a transaction in the preceding 30 days.
In terms of where the market is headed, some seem to be taking a duck-and-cover approach as challenges multiply. The 0-to-100 buyer-side index for the next three months stood at 45 at the end of May, down from 61 and well below the March level of 75.
Just 18 percent of respondents thought the market would be strong in the coming three months, and a third of responding real-estate professionals said they expected home prices to fall in the next three months, one percentage point higher than those who believe prices will rise.
That compares to the start of 2022, when less than 10 percent of respondents felt prices would be on a downward trajectory in the ensuing months.