14 May 2014

Housing Market Improves

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The Richmond area’s housing market posted increases in sales and prices during the third quarter, according to a report released Tuesday by the Richmond Association of Realtors.

The number of sales in Richmond and Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico counties rose 17 percent to 3,490 in the quarter that ended Sept. 30 compared with the same period a year ago, the trade group said.

The median price here, with half the houses selling for more and half for less, was $213,421, up 10 percent from the three-month period a year ago.

“Inventory scarcity has continued placing some upward pressure on prices,” said Linda Terry, the 2013 president of the association and an auctioneer with Tranzon Fox.

“Demand continues to increase, and the sellers who are moving forward at this opportune time are being rewarded by waiting shorter periods for sales to close and getting very close to asking prices.”

In the broader central Virginia area, the group said 13 of 16 jurisdictions posted year-over-year increased sales during the quarter. The exceptions were Caroline County, Colonial Heights and Petersburg.

Overall sales in central Virginia rose 17 percent to a total of 4,079 in the third quarter from a year ago and the median price rose 9 percent to $209,171, the group reported.

Most sales, or 35 percent, were in the $100,000 to $199,999 range. The next busiest range, with 25 percent of all sales, was for homes that sold for $200,000 to $299,999.

In general, homes continue to sell faster and sale prices inch closer to list prices, which bodes well for sellers, the report states.

Seller confidence seems to be improving and more homeowners are ready to list their houses, according to the report. Fewer mortgages also are underwater — meaning fewer homeowners owe more on their loans than their houses are worth.

The Virginia Association of Realtors reported that sales statewide rose 13.48 percent in the third quarter from the same period a year ago. The median price rose 2.42 percent to $254,000 from a year ago.

All seven regions in the state reported year-over-year double-digit increases in sales from the same period a year ago, according to the state report.

“2013 has been a solid year for Virginia real estate with increased year-over-year sales every quarter as well as increased prices in most regions,” said Stacey Ricks, spokeswoman for the state group.

“The third-quarter numbers show that consumer confidence in the commonwealth is still strong,” Ricks said. “We hope this continues through the rest of the year and that the strength is not shaken by factors like the recent shut-down and the impact of the sequester on Virginia.”

Continued improvements in Virginia’s housing market are expected, but those could be small going forward since Virginia is heavily influenced by government spending, the report states.

Complete Article: Richmond Times Dispatch