Northern Virginia Home Sales End Year on High Note

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December home sales soared by 25.94 percent for the Northern Virginia area, including the City of Alexandria. These encouraging words were reported in January by the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors.

As a result, the total decline for 2008 was a modest 2.56 percent. It was accompanied by a 15.26 percent fall in the average sales price, to $456,319.

The 25.94 percent December hike included double-digit gains in all categories. Single-family dwellings, townhouses and condos all showed increases, at 24.67, 36.53 and 17.89 percent, respectively. The new totals were 667, 441 and 402 units sold.

For November, the rises had been much more modest, at 2.15 and 25.87 percent respectively, joined by a 15.65 percent decline in condos. They added up to a total 3.29 percent increase.

The December median price fell by 22.29 percent, to $340,000. This showed the continuing trend to a more balanced market, with more homes selling at a lower cost. In another hopeful sign, the average number of days on the market declined by 10.68 percent, to 92.

This was about the same as the November report, when the median price fell by 21.18 percent to $335,000, while the average number of days on the market dropped by 8.08 percent, to 91.

The December picture was not quite as bright for the City of Alexandria when looked at alone. The declines were modest, however, at 3 percent for single-family homes and 4 percent for townhouses. Condos showed a slight gain, at 4 percent. The total numbers of units sold were 29, 45 and 70, respectively.

Median prices also dipped slightly, by 5 percent for both single-family homes and townhouses, to $680,000 and $499,900, respectively. They also rose by 13 percent for condos, to $268,500.

The decreases had been much more drastic for November, as compared to the same month last year. Sales had decreased by 46 percent for single-family homes, 38 percent for townhouses and 40 percent for condos, to totals of 13, 28 and 36 units sold, respectively.
Equally dramatic drops in the median prices accompanied the November sales losses. For single-family homes, they dipped by 18 percent, to $550,000. Townhouse prices plummeted even more sharply, by 21 percent, to $454,500. Condos also showed a double-digit decrease, of 18 percent, to $242,000.

Realtors like Chris White, at Long&Foster of Alexandria/Old Town, had offered one reason for the recent upturn. I have been selling real estate here for 20 years, and I have never seen a presidential election that did not cause an uptick in the real-estate market, he said. I think we will probably see a window of opportunity from December through the first months of the year.

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