Majority of the state’s regions seeing more sales, better inventory, and higher prices
RICHMOND, Va., April 16, 2015—The Virginia Association of REALTORS® (VAR) informally polled the presidents and chairs of local REALTOR® associations around Virginia to find out how each region is doing year-to-date. Year-over-year sales in the Commonwealth continue to spring forward. In addition, agents say they are seeing higher sale prices and eager buyers. VAR has 27 local associations; more than 50 percent responded.
VAR president Deborah Baisden asked the local member association presidents and chairs to personally report on activity in their regions. “As a working REALTOR®, I wanted to hear what my colleagues are experiencing across Virginia,” she said. “I am seeing far more clients who want to buy or sell than in previous years in Virginia Beach. My home market of Hampton Roads reported in along with 15 other local associations to offer us a valuable perspective.” While the first quarter home sales data VAR commissions from Virginia Tech is due out late April, the associations (listed alphabetically) reporting in shared the following:
Mike Mumpower, president of the Bristol Tennessee-Virginia Association of REALTORS® said, “We are seeing a sharp increase in homes sales in the first quarter of 2015 in comparison to where we were at this time last year. While the number of listings remains roughly the same, the number of residential sales has increased by about 45 percent with a one percent increase in the average selling price rising to $124,800 rounded. “Average days on the market increased for residential sales from a low of 133 days to 193 days in the first quarter of 2015. Total volume of residential sales has increased by 47 percent from first quarter of 2014 to first quarter of 2015, increasing the total volume sold for all property types by 38.6 percent. However, the market in Bristol and Washington County has seen a slight decrease in residential listing (supply) in the first quarter of 2015 from that observed for the same period in 2014.”
“Compared to February of last year, the Greater Charlottesville area posted a 12 percent increase in both median sold price ($270,000) and units sold, particularly favoring detached properties,” said Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS®’ President Anita Dunbar. “In addition, inventory levels are 11 percent higher in February 2015 over one year ago. There is intense demand for homes listed in the $185,000 to $250,000 price range, with multiple offers and brisk sales.”
“All major indicators—price, sales, and pending sales are moving in a positive direction in 2015,”said Shawn Milletary, president of the Dulles Area Association of REALTORS®. “We are seeing a dramatic increase in the Dulles Region with total units sold up 17.97 percent from March 2014 to March 2015. The average sold price for townhomes is about $350,000 and the average price for single family detached homes is $560,000. Both of these figures represent a three percent increase in the last 12 months.” Milletary added, “Inventory has increased dramatically since the beginning of the year to a total inventory of 1357 units as of March 2015. This reflects a 35.59 percent increase in inventory comparing March 2014 to March 2015. This all points towards a great real estate market throughout 2015.”
Brooke Miller, president of the Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS® said, “All in all, the Fredericksburg area market is a healthy market for both buyers and sellers. Home prices have increased about four percent in 2015, compared to this time last year. “On average, our local market is experiencing a seller’s market, but we also have mini-markets, indicated by different price ranges, where supply and demand show different signs and a different market flavor. For instance, buyers and sellers in the market for homes under $300,000 are experiencing a seller’s market where there is competition among buyers for the same home and prices are increasing at a faster rate.” Miller added, “For buyers and sellers in the market above $400,000, they are experiencing more of a buyer’s market where buyers have plenty of homes to choose from and expect to negotiate.”
The Greater Piedmont Area Association of REALTORS® has seen an increase in new listings, while the number of homes going under contract and closing remains relatively level,” according to Chip Miller, the association’s president. “First quarter new listings totaled 538 units, while at the start of second quarter; the number of new listings is already over 650 homes. “At this point, early in the second quarter, 117 homes are under contract or have closed versus 235 homes for the entire first quarter. This means that an increasing inventory is giving buyers plenty of choices. Buyers are scooping up competitively priced homes while they pass over less competitive homes.”
“The Hampton Roads area is experiencing a significant increase in pending and settled sales for 2015,” said Hampton Roads REALTORS® Association chairman Rusty Hulett. A broker and realty owner, Hulett noted, “My company’s sales have jumped up 45 percent since January with the majority of homes selling in the $250,000 to $350,000 range. “Our inventory is also growing—up almost two percent and at the end of March there were more than 14,000 homes on the market. At the same time, the average number of days on the market is decreasing. This, in conjunction with good weather, low interest rates and increased consumer confidence, has produced a robust market in the Hampton Roads’ seven cities. And, we expect to see an increase in military members buying homes with the proposed relocation of additional assets to our area.” “Through the end of March, residential sales are up over 18 percent from last year in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, despite slightly lower inventory,” said Karl Waizecker, president of the Harrisonburg and Rockingham Association of REALTORS®. “The strong buyer activity, combined with the lower inventory, is putting upward pressure on prices, which we expect to continue through 2015.”
Lynchburg Association of REALTORS®’ President Joel Kramar said, “The Lynchburg market has seen a 16 percent increase in sales for the first quarter of 2015 vs 2014 for the $100-200K price range. The $200-300K price range had a 10 percent increase in sales for the same period. The average sale price for our entire market increased 3.8 percent. My personal feeling for the spring is that it will be very good. My phone is always ringing; I am getting new listings and have several new contracts.”
Joe Hunt, president of the Northern Neck Association of REALTORS® said, “We are very optimistic about the 2015 Northern Neck market—Northumberland, Lancaster, Westmoreland, Essex and Richmond counties. Ours agents experienced a busier than normal winter season with increasing sales that are continuing this spring.”
“The median home sales price for the Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS®’ footprint is up nearly 6 percent for the first quarter of this year compared to that time in 2014,” said Mary Bayat, the 2015 Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS®’ chair. “Although the number of days on the market has edged up a little, there has been a 9.5 percent rise in the number of homes sold when comparing the first quarter of this year to quarter one in 2014.”
Martinsville, Henry and Patrick Counties Association of REALTORS®’ President Johnny Lambert reported, “January through March showed a slight gain in the number of homes sold and an increase in inventory. Median list price remained the same year-over-year, but the average price on sold properties jumped from $84,282 to $104,542 – that’s a 24 percent increase during the first quarter of 2014.”
Dewey Hutchins, president of the Virginia Peninsula Association of REALTORS®, which includes York, Hampton, Newport News, and Portsmouth, said, “Our Peninsula supply of inventory for March was down. This is good news for sellers experiencing multiple offers for their listings. Buyers are executing good offers to compete for the low inventory and not waiting for a seller reduction. Our military relocation, low interest rates, and VHDA’s grant program has contributed to a strong market this month.
“We have seen a steady incline in the inventory of active listings over the past three and a half months by about two and a half percent,” said John S. Finn, Jr., president of the Richmond Association of REALTORS®. “Given the current low interest rates and policies in place to make a down payment less of a hurdle, we anticipate a strong showing of first time homebuyers entering the market this year—especially millennials, who have stayed on the sidelines while the job market recovered.” Finn added, “In addition, we have seen a sizable increase in both home sales and pending sales over the same quarter last year. The current average sale price for a single family home has also increased over the same quarter last year by almost 4 percent—at $236,057.
“We have also launched a new product this year through the Central Virginia Regional MLS—called Down Payment Resource—that is helping local REALTORS® connect qualifying homebuyers with down payment assistance programs for some properties. Buyers will not only have more options right now in terms of an increased selection of inventory, they will also have more resources available to help maximize their financing options. Savvy buyers will act quickly before the anticipated uptick in interest rates later this year, and save a large sum of money by doing so.”
The Roanoke Valley Association of REALTORS®’ President Vic Coffey said, “The real estate market is very active in the Greater Roanoke Valley. We are seeing more first-time homebuyers in our marketplace, partly due to pent up demand as well as anticipation of rising interest rates. We are hopeful that this strong start to 2015 will bode well for the entire year.”
“Overall, we see a relatively stable market,” said Southwest Virginia Association of REALTORS®’ President Cindy Hornsby. “For the first quarter of 2015, the pending sales in Southwest Virginia are up significantly. Compared to this same time last year, sales have been stable with a slight increase. These statistics are reflective of the entire Southwest Virginia market area (over 8 counties) but are not indicative to each specific locality.”
The Virginia Association of REALTORS® (VAR) is the largest professional trade association in Virginia, representing approximately 30,000 REALTORS® engaged in residential and commercial real estate business. VAR serves as an advocate for homeownership and private property rights and represents the interests of real estate professionals and property owners in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Note: The term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.
Contact: Jody LoMenzo
Director of Communications and Media Relations
Virginia Association of REALTORS®
Phone: Office 804-525-2948 | Mobile: 804-347-9564