The number of home sales in this year’s second quarter fell about 3% across the Charlottesville region, compared with the same time last year, but sales prices were up about 5%, according to the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors’ quarterly report.
The figures are in keeping with state and national trends and experts say fewer homes on the market leads to higher sales prices because of supply and demand.
The six-locality region covered by CAAR saw 1,395 homes sold between April and June, which compares to 1,436 sales in the second quarter of 2018, the report shows. Charlottesville sales dropped 22% between 2018 and 2019 in the three-month period while Greene County sales rose 22% in the year-to-year quarterly comparison.
Home sales prices were up in the second quarter, finishing at a median price of $316,000, compared to $302,365 in 2018, with Charlottesville home sales prices rising 8% on average to lead the region.
CAAR’s region includes the city and Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Louisa and Nelson counties.
“It’s been sort of a weird second quarter with the sales being down, but weather could be a part of that,” said CAAR President Tele Jenifer, of Real Estate III. “The market has done this year what markets normally do, as the spring market was good, but not as high as you normally expect. There is still a lot of demand and mortgage rates remain low, as does unemployment, so the economy is still strong.”
Jenifer noted that while Charlottesville sales were down, city home sales prices were up.
“The fastest growth in prices was in the city of Charlottesville, where prices were up more than $25,000. That seems to be part of the continuing trend of people wanting to live closer to city areas,” she said.
According to the CAAR report, the number of sales was up 22% in Greene, where newly constructed homes recently went on the market. Nelson sales rose 13% and Louisa sales were up 5%.
Albemarle sales dropped by two-tenths of a point in 2019’s second quarter, compared with the same time in 2018, while Charlottesville saw the largest drop in number of homes sold, at 22%. Fluvanna saw sales fall 14%.
According to the report, there were approximately 1,828 homes listed for sale at the end of the second quarter in the CAAR region, about a 2% decrease. That decrease follows trends in recent years and led to the price increases, the report theorizes.
Albemarle had 771 homes for sale in the second quarter of 2019, compared with 804 the previous year, statistics show. Charlottesville had 190, compared with 160 in the previous period, while Greene’s supply was 128 in the second quarter, compared with 105 in the same time period in 2018.
“While the supply of homes for sale has been decreasing in the CAAR area, the rate of decline has moderated in recent quarters. This is largely being driven by an uptick in active listings in some local markets,” the report states. “Greene County, for example, has had an increase in active listings for three of the last four quarters. Charlottesville’s inventory has been trending up since the start of 2018.”
Louisa and Nelson counties also saw fewer homes for sale, while Fluvanna had a slight increase.
The local figures reflect statewide figures, according to the Virginia Association of Realtors’ June 2019 report. Compared with the previous year, state sales were down 6% while prices were up 2%.
“Prices are rising in all regional housing markets and continue to be driven up by strong demand and a declining supply of active listings,” the state report said. “Inventories in markets across the commonwealth continue to shrink, which is a key driver of price growth.”
Median home sales prices — the price at which just as many homes sold for more as sold for less — was $385,000 in Albemarle, a 1% increase over 2018’s second quarter, the report shows. At $349,200, the median sales price in the city for the second quarter was nearly $27,000 higher than the same period in 2018.
Greene’s median home sales price for the period was $260,570; Louisa was $235,000; Fluvanna homes sold at a median price of $230,000; and Nelson homes sold at a median price of $225,000.
Jenifer said that with few homes on the market and solid sales prices, homeowners thinking of selling should take advantage of the market forces.
“It’s always a good time to list and sell a home, but with the mortgage rates low and maybe coming down, it makes it more attractive for buyers,” she said. “There are buyers out there but there aren’t enough sellers.”
Jenifer said sellers ready to enter the market should put a shine on their homes to attract buyers and make a quick sale.
“If you’re selling it, it has to be in tip-top shape,” she said. “You want it to be attractive and ready to go.”