Real Estate Inventories Tightened In October

Fairfax County and the rest of the Northern Virginia real estate market continues to outpace the rest of the nation when it comes to sales and values. Now, it may be a trend setter in another area.

Data compiled by Long & Foster shows the inventory of available property for sale has declined. With fewer homes available, there is more competition for homes on the market and, presumably, prices will stop their decline.

In October, the region saw decreases in inventory of more than 10 percent on average, with some areas experiencing more significant tightening. Alexandria City and Prince William County saw decreases of 25 percent and 22 percent, respectively, versus year-ago levels.

Fairfax County decreased 14 percent year-over-year, Arlington and Loudoun Counties also experienced a tightening inventory of active listings.

After an initial drop at the beginning of the housing crisis, Fairfax home values have mostly recovered. According to the Long & Foster report, median sale prices increased again in some areas in October, including Fairfax, where the median sale price last month rose one percent over October 2010, to $380,000.

Arlington, Alexandria, and Prince William counties experienced small decreases in median sale price versus year-ago levels. Loudoun County median sales price remained unchanged when compared to October, 2010.

The Long & Foster Market Minute reports indicate that the decrease in median sales price in certain areas such as Alexandria City can be attributed in part to a larger percentage of attached and condo/co-op sales. The average price of these properties is typically lower than detached, single-family homes.

Homes continue to sell quickly throughout Northern Virginia, according to October data, with houses selling in less than two months on average. In Arlington County, October’s days on market (DOM) was 42 days. The remainder of the region continues to see houses sell quickly as well, averaging 48 days in Prince William County, 49 days in Fairfax County, 51 days in Alexandria City, and 60 days in Loudoun County. Long & Foster agents indicate that many homes priced competitively in the region sell in just a few weeks, sometimes with multiple offers, a reflection of continued demand and the relative lack of supply in some local areas.

According to October data, year-over-year sales were lower in most areas of the region, likely attributable to the continued decline in available inventory. Alexandria City did experience a 6 percent increase in units sold when compared to October 2010. Sellers throughout Northern Virginia received roughly 98 percent of their asking price, on average.

“We are continuing to see some very positive trends in Northern Virginia, including increases in median sale price in some areas and quickly-selling homes throughout the region,” said Jeffrey S. Detwiler, president and chief operating officer of The Long & Foster Companies.