December home sales slip, 2017 finishes up 4%

housing infographicSource: NVAR

December home sales in Fairfax slipped 8 percent in December but finished the year up 4 percent over 2016. Current listings and pending sales have slowed, reports the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors.

“Our Realtor confidence level for a stable local market in 2018 is strong, despite the uncertainty about the tax situation” said Lorraine Arora, the 2018 NVAR Chairman of the Board and Weichert Realtors Fairfax Regional managing broker. “When we review the 2017 year-end sales data in our footprint (Arlington and Fairfax counties; cities of Fairfax, Alexandria and Falls Church), we increased sales by 4 percent. December sales slow during the holiday season, however the NVAR average sales price increased by 3.5 percent.”

Rob Wittman, an NVAR Board member and Redfin principal broker said, “In December, a lack of available inventory contributed to lower year-over-year sales volume. Properties of all types saw increases in sales price signaling high demand in the absence of available inventory.”

The tax question

Regarding the 2017 year-end sales numbers, Wittman said, “Homes for sale continue to spend less time on market, highlighting the need for buyers to act quickly and for sellers to price their homes with guidance from local professionals to help maximize their return.”

The return on investment still favors the homeowner over the renter, Arora explained. This year, buyers need to crunch numbers when deciding on what they can comfortably afford, she advised. “Sustainability must be their guide while considering the impacts from the new tax law,” she said.

Tax ramifications on Northern Virginia homeowners is not totally clear, noted NVAR CEO Ryan Conrad. “The new limitation in the 2018 deductibility of State and Local Taxes (SALT) and property taxes to $10,000 could increase federal taxes for some homeowners since we are in a high-cost market,” he said. “Creditworthy entry level buyers should not feel a tax pinch; we know rents will rise locally.” The local market will gain going forward, Ryan noted. Our lean inventory will likely improve early this year, creating more opportunities in our fast-paced market.

Year-end numbers

A total of 1,437 homes were sold in December 2017, a decrease of 7.77 percent compared to December 2016 home sales of 1,558.

Active listings decreased by about 17 percent this month compared to 2016. This past month posted 2,386 active listings compared to 2,871 homes available in December 2016. The average days on market (DOM) for homes in December 2017 was 58 days, a decrease of about 9 percent compared to the 64 DOM in December 2016.

The average home sale price increased compared with last December, to $591,005. This is 3.54 percent above the December 2016 average price of $570,789.

The median sold price of homes this December was $510,000, which was 5.15 percent above December 2016’s median of $485,000.

The 1,090 new pending home sales in Northern Virginia in December marks a decrease of 9.69 percent compared with 1,207 pending contracts last year in December. Total pending sales in December were down by about 11 percent, to 1,487, compared with 1,678 pending contracts in December 2016.



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Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.