Inventory crunch continues to bedevil home sales in Fairfax | news/fairfax

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Month-over-month and year-over-year home sales were down in December, but average home prices were up across Fairfax County, as the market closed out a strong 2021.

A total of 1,348 properties went to closing last month, according to figures reported Jan. 11 by MarketStats by ShowingTime, based on listing data from Bright MLS.

That’s down from 1,546 transactions in November, a signal that the market is returning to the more normal ebb and flow seasonality of the pre-COVID era. And it was down 3 percent from the 1,389 transactions reported in December 2020, when the market was still on a tear after having been derailed earlier that year by the onset of the pandemic.

The average sales price was up 7.8 percent to $708,455, the increase being even more impressive given that there were fewer single-family homes in the overall sales mix when compared to December 2020.

Speaking of single-family homes, the market tiptoed over the seven-figure mark in December, standing at an average sales price of $1,001,445, up 13.9 percent from a year before.

The average price for attached homes was $469,562, up 5.3 percent, and the average price for condominiums was $364,744, up 8.6 percent.

A total of 183 properties went to closing for at least $1 million, with 20 closing at more than $2 million and two at $5 million or more.

Add up the sales and prices, and total volume for the month stood at $954.4 million, up 4.3 percent from a year before.

Homes that went to closing in December spent an average of 26 days on the market, an increase from the 19 days of a year ago, and garnered 99.3 percent of listing price, down a tick from 99.4 percent a year before.

Those complaining of a lack of inventory are correct: There were 617 active listings on the market at the end of the month, a whopping 41-percent decline from a year before and representing a paltry 17-day inventory.

That lack of inventory means the market continues to favor sellers (for the local market to be seen as balanced, there would need to be roughly a three-month supply of homes available). But that same lack of inventory also has caused some potential purchasers to throw in the towel and wait until there are more options on the market, so sellers at least for the near term will have fewer eyes on their homes.

Homes that went to closing in December were financed largely through conventional loans (970), followed by cash (163), VA-backed mortgages (144) and FHA loans (50).

Where is the market headed? Realtors can’t sell what isn’t available, so the depressed inventory likely will mean fewer sales at least for the next few months. The number of pending sales reported in December (870) was down 17 percent from a year before; those pendings generally translate into completed transactions within a month or two.

Figures represent most, but not all, homes on the market. December 2021 figures are preliminary and are subject to revision.

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