The 2016 Virginia residential real estate market outperformed its prior year performance, with nearly $38 billion in sales, according to a sales report released Tuesday by the Virginia REALTORS association (formerly known as the Virginia Association of Realtors).
Key measures, including total number of sales, value of all transactions, and median sales price, rose from their 2015 benchmarks. Altogether, the sum of all transactions was 8 percent higher than in 2015, which had a transaction value of $35 billion.
The fourth quarter also saw a bump in activity with 26,308 residential transactions closed, a 6.8 percent increase compared to the 24,639 units sold in the last three months of 2015. The value of those transactions totaled $8.5 billion, an increase of 8.9 percent from 2015’s fourth quarter volume of $7.8 billion.
“The fourth quarter sealed a year of impressive strength in Virginia’s housing market,” Claire Forcier-Rowe, president of Virginia REALTORS, said in a statement. “For buyers and sellers, 2016 was a year of opportunity. Particularly as inventory constraints eased in the last half of the year, we saw surges in activity and price. Buyers have been able to take advantage of low rates, even as they rose in the last quarter, and invested confidently at the end of the year.”
The rise in fourth quarter 2016 sales pace was propelled by a surge in November sales, usually a lull month in market activity. Virginia Realtors credited loosened inventory and a swell in consumer confidence following the federal elections —combined with a sense of urgency regarding interest rate movement — for escalating sales.
The trade group said that each quarter of 2016 outperformed its prior year benchmark, just as each quarter of 2015 outperformed those of 2014.
The aggregate median sales price for the fourth quarter was $265,000, an increase of 3.9 percent from the fourth quarter of 2015 ($255,175). Year-over-year median sales price increased in all regions, with the exception of the Southwest region, where price declined moderately.
Compared to the fourth quarter of last year, 2016 fourth quarter home sales increased in all price bands except the lowest under $100,000), where low levels of inventory affect the number of sales possible. Sales increased especially in the $300,000 to $500,000 range.
The average number of days on the market dropped to an average of 69 for the 2016 fourth quarter, 10.4 percent lower than last year’s fourth quarter average (77 days).
The Virginia Home Sales Report is published by the Virginia REALTORS association. Current and past reports are available to members, media, and real estate related-industries through the organization’s website.