Virginia hopes for better homes sales in 2012

Any way you slice the data, 2011 home sales in Virginia can best be summed up this way: We’re slogging through it.

The median home price in the state fell 3.3 percent to $225,000 and the volume of sales remained essentially flat, up .2 percent, in 2011, compared to a year ago, according a report released Tuesday by the Virginia Association of Realtors.

“We’d like to think we’ll look back at 2011 as the year things finally began to turn around,” the introduction of the report begins. “We might not be ready to say that Virginia’s markets are out of the woods, but in 2011 — without artificial stimulus — we were able to see significant improvement.”

The report looks at each part of the state, with some interesting data points:

Northern Virginia’s median sale price rose 1.6 percent to $315,000 from $309,900. Homes priced between $750,000 and $1 million were the bright spot — with a 3.64 percent increase in sales.

But the big winner was the category for homes priced under $100,000 in the state — they saw 33 percent increase in sales, pointing to likely sales of foreclosures.

The high end of the market, homes priced over $2 million, fell 14 percent in terms of sales volume.

In a state that boasts an unemployment rate lower than the national average — 6.2 percent — the housing market in Virginia and, particularly, Northern Virginia is stronger than the rest of the Washington region.

But economists remain concerned that, despite low interest rates, uncertainty about federal spending cuts, federal policy and the overall economy are keeping many buyers on the fence.

Read the full report: Virginia real estate report

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