May Home Sales Remain Brisk as Spring Season Ramps Up,
Condo Sales Strong, Moderate Economic Growth Expected
 the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors® 

Fairfax – Americans are paying a little more for housing this year as demand has been brisk, and serious buyers know that stalling a home purchase means higher prices. Northern Virginia buyers get this too, as Fairfax County, Arlington, Alexandria and Falls Church reached a combined 2,459 transactions in May. This movement reflects a slight dip of under 3 percent compared to the 2,526 homes sold in May 2017 in the NVAR footprint.

“With our Northern Virginia local economy in a great place regarding employment numbers, we do not think our region’s economy is at risk to overheat any time soon, said Lorraine Arora, NVAR Chairman of the Board. “Even though the Fed just inched up interest rates, there is still pent up demand. This rate hike will ensure that economic growth remains moderate. Buyers need to prioritize their requirements and make some adjustments of their wish lists to find a home in their price range that checks off most boxes,” she said. Sellers need to adjust their expectations as well since, in this market now, homes sell in days or weeks rather than in hours, she explained.

Education is the most critical issue for buyers right now, as they need to understand market innuendos, explained Gary Lange, Weichert, Realtors® Vienna managing broker. “According to my agents, buyers have a stop-and-go mentality,” said Lange. “[Clients] are hot and heavy looking, then go cold pretty quickly. Some of that may be due to lack of inventory; they are looking for a deal or they just don’t have a serious need to buy.

“Agents must counsel buyers and sellers about the way the housing market works,” he explained. “[Such insight] would help slow down the rate at which buyers back out over minor home inspection issues.  Sometimes buyers have successfully bid for a home, then realize the home really isn’t for them or they paid too much. It is easy to get caught up in the moment when a buyer makes a hasty decision about a home for fear of losing that opportunity,” Lange warns.

Heather Embrey, associate broker at Better Homes & Garden Real Estate Premier, saw tons of action from her serious clients.

“This May market was robust – maybe too robust for buyers,” she said. “Some decided to stay put instead of battling against multiple offers.

“Sellers became over-confident and priced properties unrealistically, only to feel frustrated when savvy buyers passed them by,” she said. Embrey remains optimistic that the June market will have a better balance, especially with her seller clients who have unrealistic expectations.

According to NVAR CEO Ryan Conrad, “May proved to be a strong sales month despite its lateral movement when compared to May 2017. The 1,110 homes that sold under $500,000 comprised 45 percent of all 2,459 sales. Of homes in that price range, 50 percent were condo or co-op in our Northern Virginia region. Demand from millennials, downsizing baby boomers and investors continue to be strong at that price point.”

May 2018 Regional Home Sales Compared to May 2017: Northern Virginia

The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors® reports on May 2018 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 2,459 homes sold in May 2018, a 2.65 percent decrease below May 2017 home sales of 2,526.

Active listings decreased this month compared with 2017. Listings were down almost 12 percent below last year, with 3,788 active listings in May, compared with 4,299 homes available in May 2017. The average days on market (DOM) for homes in May 2018 was 29 days, a decrease of about 9 percent compared to the 32 DOM for homes in May 2017.

The average home sale price rose slightly, compared with last May, to $607,886. This is up about 3 percent compared to May 2017, when the average price was $589,080.

The median sold price of homes this May, which was $537,500, rose by less than 2 percent compared to May 2017, when the median price was $530,000.

The 2,708 new pending home sales in Northern Virginia in May were about 2 percent below the 2,770 contracts that were pending in May last year. Total pending sales of 3,241 in May were down by about 8 percent, compared with 3,530 pending contracts in May 2017.

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