Soaring Sales Start The Year, NVAR Says


What a difference a year makes.

During the first quarter of 2008, sales dropped by 35.4 percent, with 2,935 homes sold. They rose almost as dramatically during the first three months of this year by 17.5 percent to a total of 3,449, according to the latest Northern Virginia Association of Realtors report for Alexandria and Fairfax County.

The average sale price plummeted by 19.7 percent this year, to $385,285, indicating a growing balance between supply and demand. During the same period in 2008, it declined by 7.9 percent to $479,696.

The number of days on the market fell for the first quarter of this year, by 18.4 percent, to 89, or about 3 months. By contrast, it was 109 days during the same period last year.
Cinderella Condos

March showed a sharp contrast compared to last year, with condo sales jumping from last place among property types to first. In March 2008, they fell by 36.9 percent, to units sold. Townhouse sales dipped by 27.2 percent, to 381. Single-family homes fared slightly better, with a 23.6 percent slide, to 535.

This March, oft-humble condos emerged as the Cinderella of home sales. They became the belles of the sales ball with a 15.3 percent gain to 385. Single-family homes followed, at 10.9 percent, to a total of 593. Townhouses were the only category to fall short of a double-digit increase, with a 6.6 increase to 406 sales.

All of a sudden, the floodgates have opened, and that is a very nice thing, said Dolly Riegert Woodruff of the Old Town branch of Prudential Carruthers.
Condos also took the lead for March in Alexandria. They showed the highest sales increase, at 43 percent, plus the lowest median price drop of 6 percent. This led to 76 sales with a $254,000 median price.

Single-family home purchases rose by 35 percent, to a total of 27, with a 13 percent median price drop, to $585,000. Townhouse sales showed a more mixed picture, with a 33-percent increase, to 48, accompanied by an 8 percent median price decrease to $464,500.