Homes sales across Virginia in January took a dive from strong December results, but remained ahead of the sales pace of a year before.
A total of 5,597 properties went to closing the first month of the year, up 4.1 percent from the 5,377 transactions in January 2014, according to figures reported by the Virginia Association of Realtors (VAR).
January typically represents the lowest point in the annual real estate market across Virginia, with the market picking up in February and then hitting its stride in March.
With the commonwealth’s unemployment rate improving and mortgage-interest rates remaining low, “Virginia can expect to see steady increases as the spring selling season begins,” VAR president Deborah Baisden predicted.
The recent spate of inclement weather, which impacted every corner of the Old Dominion, may have kept February sales down – figures will be reported later in March – but are unlikely to cause a significant downturn throughout the spring.
The higher year-over-year sales total was accompanied by an increase in median sales prices. The overall median in January – representing single-family homes, townhouses and condominiums – was $239,900, up 4.8 percent from $229,000 a year before.
“Virginia prices declined 7.7 percent over the previous month, which is typical for January,” noted an analysis by the Virginia Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech.
The increase in sales and prices led to an 8-percent year-over-year bump in total sales volume, which rose to $1.68 billion in January.
Homes that went to closing in January spent an average of 91 days between listing and ratified sales contract, up from 85 days required a year before.
“January is always the slowest winter month for sales, so we can expect days on the market to decrease steadily through the first and second quarters of 2015,” the Virginia Tech analysts noted.
(For 2014, June represented the month with the lowest number of days on the market, averaging 64.)
The average 30-year, fixed mortgage rate of 3.67 percent nationally in January was down for the fourth month in a row, according to FreddieMac, and represented a decline of 17 percent from a year before, adding to hopes of the real-estate industry for a bouyant 2015.
For complete data, see the Web site at www.varealtor.com/homesales.
Source: Inside NOVA