Home sales hit 14-year high in Northern Virginia

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Home sales hit a 14-year high for April last month in the area covered by the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR), which includes Alexandria City, Arlington County, Fairfax County, Fairfax City and Falls Church City.

Multiple offers and escalating prices were more common than not in April, according to NVAR President Christine Richardson. “Sellers and their Realtors were doing a great job of preparing their homes for sale and pricing them well, and buyers rewarded them with contracts at a remarkable average of 99.9 percent of the listed price,” said NVAR President Christine Richardson.

Buyers closed on 2,157 homes in April, the highest number of April total sales since 2005, when there were 2,514 homes sold in the NVAR region. Sales prices climbed to a record regional average of $621,069, which was about 6 percent higher than the April 2018 average of $586,058. The pace of sales was also brisk, with homes selling within an average of 30 days on market (DOM) in April. This was almost 35 percent below the average of 46 DOM in 2018.

Home sales April. Source: NVAR

HQ2 drives prices

In Arlington County, where Amazon has plans to locate its HQ2, the average sale price climbed to $742,355, an 11.16 percent increase compared to April 2018.

Former NVAR Board Member Rob Wittman, with Keller Williams in Falls Church, says his newest listing received 20 offers and sold with a three-week closing for 9 percent over the asking price. “For anyone thinking about selling a home in Northern Virginia, now is the time to get into the market,” Wittman says.

Other NVAR members reported instances of setting offer deadlines and sometimes even cutting off offers after receiving so many that the sellers were overwhelmed, according to Richardson.

“In a market like this, Realtors are working closely with their buyer clients to structure offers in such a way that the seller is more likely to accept it,” says Richardson. “We also have to prepare our clients to be ready to act quickly when the right property hits the market,” she says.

Low mortgage rates continue to motivate homebuyers, with the 30-year fixed-rate average down to 4.1 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac. In 2019, a 30-year fixed-rate home loan has averaged 4.3 percent, compared to an average of 4.54 percent last year. Freddie Mac forecasts this rate to rise to an average of 4.5 percent in 2019, and 4.8 percent in 2020.

“While reduced inventory continues to spark the need for creativity among our Realtor® members with buyer clients, there is underlying good news,” says NVAR CEO Ryan Conrad. “According to our partners at the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis, the regional economy is in great shape. We know that unemployment remains low, wages are rising – particularly for private sector professionals – and the job growth outlook is positive.”

 

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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.