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Real estate market sees progress

Real estate trends across the Heart of Virginia are improving, Realtors and studies say.

According to a study released by the Virginia Association of Realtors (VAR), the Virginia economy and housing market continues to benefit from strong growth in residential real estate sales.

The recently released May Home Sales Report confirms that, across the state, the market is improving in the number of sales, value of transactions, median home price and average length of time homes are spending on the market.

Navona Hart, Realtor for Real Living Cornerstone, confirmed that she has seen more business this year than in the past.

“I think that emotionally … I think the marketplace feels like we’ve had a positive turn,” she said.

According to VAR statistics, there was a 10.9 percent increase in residential sales from May 2014 to May 2016.

Larry Atkins, a Realtor with State Wide Realty, said that he has seen a “good demand” over the past year.

“The last couple years we have a seen a good increase in the demand for real estate, compared to the prior seven or eight years.”

Sherry Honeycutt, of Hometown Realty, said her sales doubled between since last May.

“It’s been really good for me,” she said.

“The housing market has increased. I have felt it personally in our inventory and in the way things are just moving,” said Hart.

In the press release, VAR President Bill White said “residential market performance this May magnifies the trend we’ve seen for recent months.”

According to White, buyers are motivated by low-financing costs.

Atkins, agreed. He said, “Interest rates have stayed low. I think people are less nervous about the economy.”

From April to May, the number of sales rose 14 percent, with the median sale price 4.5 percent higher in May than it was in April, according to the study.

“We tend to have months that are very productive and months that are terrible,” said Hart. “We’re very cyclical in this marketplace, but what I’ve noticed this year, for all the agents across the board, is that we’ve been somewhat steady from the beginning of the year.”

The average time a house is on the market is 7.5 percent less than it was in 2015 and 11.4 percent lower than April, according to state averages.

Atkins said that the state statistics match what he has seen in his business. “I would say that much if not a bigger increase,” he said about houses being on the market for shorter periods of time in 2016 than last year.

According to Atkins, there has been an increase in demand for homes and a slight increase in pricing with the growing market for residential properties.

“I will tell you that we don’t tend to mirror Virginia exactly, Virginia as a whole. We tend to be less productive,” said Hart.

She explained that rural towns do not have the same demand as bigger cities in Virginia, such as Richmond.

Honeycutt agreed. “Whatever Richmond and the rest of the state’s doing we’re not doing. We’re a very unique community.”

Hart said, “we’re just smaller, so we don’t match the statistics, so it’s very difficult to say we match statistically.”

“I think people have gotten tired of sitting back,” Honeycutt said. “I think they’ve been waiting for something to happen and I think they’ve gotten tired of waiting.”

“A lot of people are feeling very positive with the marketplace, and sometimes that’s all you need for people to want to sell and people to want to buy is that it feels good,” Hart said.