Va. home sales down 20% from a year ago
February marked 15th consecutive month of declining sales
Virginia home sales were down 20.3% in February compared with the same month last year, marking the 15th consecutive month of declining sales, according to a Virginia Realtors report released March 21.
Home sales in the commonwealth last month totaled 6,505, a decrease of 1,655 sales from February 2022. The Northern Neck and parts of Northern Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia have had the sharpest drop in sales so far this year, according to Virginia Realtors.
The statewide decline is likely due to the rise in interest rates, which more than doubled over the year. In the week ending on Thursday, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 6.42%, down from 6.60% the week before, according to Freddie Mac data. The average rate a year ago was 4.42%.
The state median sales price, however, rose 5.7% from a year ago, jumping $20,000 to $370,000. The rise is a reflection of tight inventory, according to the Virginia Realtors report. Places in Central Virginia, the New River Valley and Southern Virginia continue to see median price growths of 10% or more. Prices have dipped in the Northern Neck, the Chesapeake Bay and rivers area and parts of the Rockbridge Highlands region.
Statewide, homes spent an average of 38 days on the market, up eight days from February 2022, and on average, sellers are getting slightly less than their asking prices.
“This is some good news for buyers that are active in the market,” Virginia Realtors President Katrina M. Smith said in a statement. “Nearly all of Virginia’s markets have more active listings available than they did one year ago.”
The Virginia market had 14,558 active listings at the end of February, up 2,416 from last year’s number.
“Active listings are building up, but keep in mind that it’s not from new listings, which remain down,” Virginia Realtors Chief Economist Ryan Price said in a statement. “February saw a 22% reduction in new listings since the same time last year, reflecting hesitation from sellers.”
After the drop in mortgage rates following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and the subsequent banking crisis, the housing market could see an influx of buyers who have been waiting for mortgage rates to fall.
Virginia Realtors is a trade association representing more than 37,000 Realtors.