August home sales dipped slightly in Fairfax and most of Northern Virginia, with experts blaming normal the seasonal slowdown and continued weak inventory.
“With inflation in a soft patch right now, many federal officials still project one more interest-rate increase this year but not right away,” explained Norhtern Virgnia Association of Realtors Chairman Bob Adamson. “The Federal Reserve is in no rush to raise rates, which keeps value pricing intact for those applying for mortgages.
“We had the seasonably expected slight decline in August home sales, with 2,018 sales closing, which is 4 percent lower than last August’s 2,104 closings. When July and August home sales are averaged together, we only have a 1 percent decline in what is our third busiest season for home sellers and buyers, after the busier spring and fall markets,” Adamson said.
NVAR CEO Ryan Conrad pinpoints inventory as the primary stumbling block.
“The missing ingredient in a full housing recovery, locally and nationally, is housing inventory for first-time homebuyers, and our region feels that pinch,” he said. “Regarding our August sales activity, students are all back in school by now, so it is understandable that families do not prefer to move in August,” said Conrad.
Said Century 21 Accent Homes Realtor Ann Yanagihara: “We are so fortunate to live in such a dynamic and healthy real estate market in the metro DC area! The August sales numbers are indicative of what we’re seeing in our competitive market: low inventory, lots of buyers, but with healthy escalation in value from last year. Typically, this time of year, we begin to see a seasonal slow-down of activity. However, this year with a backlog of buyers who were unable to purchase in the brisk spring market, the lack of inventory supports this August dip in sales numbers. However, the sales dollar volume only dipped by 0.55 percent. In other words, less sales for higher prices.”
Yanagihara expects not only new buyers and sellers to become serious during the fall market but to also include the backlog of buyers who did not make their decisions during the brisk spring market.
One year ago
The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors reports on August 2017 home sales activity for Fairfax and Arlington counties, the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church and the towns of Vienna, Herndon and Clifton.
A total of 2,018 homes sold in August 2017, a 4 percent decrease below August 2016 home sales of 2,104.
Active listings decreased in August by 7.58 percent compared with 2016. This past August, there were 4,216 active listings, compared with 4,562 homes available in August 2016. The average days on market (DOM) for homes in August 2017 was 42 days, a decrease of 12.5 percent compared to the 48 DOM for homes in August 2016.
The average home sale price rose to $579,969 from last August’s average of $559,364. This was a 3.68 percent increase.
The median sold price of homes this August, which was $515,000, rose by 5 percent compared to the median price of $490,000 in August 2016.
The 1,900 new pending home sales in Northern Virginia in August were less than one percentage point above the 1,888 new contracts pending in August last year. Total pending sales in August were down by about 9 percent, to 2,261, compared with 2,483 pending contracts in August 2016.