Realtors report a ‘steady flow’

Published 10:32 am Thursday, December 29, 2016

According to the Virginia Association of Realtors (VAR), home sales have increased during November compared to past years in the state. The newly released stats, coupled with reaction from local realtors, shows trends are on the uptick in the Heart of Virginia.

Jenny Wortham, a senior vice president of communications and public relations for VAR, said the number of transactions this year compared to last year has remained static for Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward counties — though local Realtors say recent months have been busy.

Jason Meeks

Jason Meeks

There were 22 transactions reported for November in both 2015 and 2016, she said.

Jason Meeks, who serves as president of the South Central Association of Realtors, said “this has been one of the busiest Decembers that we have had and I know the other Realtors in the community are very busy also.”

C.H. “Kip” Lafoon, of Coldwell Banker Lafoon Realty Inc., agreed. “November and December have been exceptionally strong in comparison to recent years.”

Lafoon said his company covers an eight-county area, which includes Prince Edward, Cumberland, Buckingham, Charlotte, Nottoway, Lunenburg, Amelia and Appomattox counties.

“We have enjoyed a significant and steady flow of business during this entire year,” he said. “We are greatly encouraged by buying interest in existing homes, commercial and unimproved properties, as well as sellers that are now seemingly ready to transition into a larger home or another location.”

Meeks said though the local increase is on a more limited scale than statewide statistics, the region has enjoyed strong sales as the end of the year approaches.

“My personal business for the 2016 year-end notably exceeded the activity that I saw in last year’s final months,” said Meeks. “With the prospect of loosened inventory as spring approaches, and rates remaining accessible, we can look forward to a (new year) of opportunity for local buyers.”

C.H. “Kip” Lafoon

C.H. “Kip” Lafoon

Meeks said the National Association for Realtors is predicting a steady growth period for the next 10 years. “That will be encouraging,” he said.

“Inventory has been a challenge throughout Virginia in 2016, and constrained inventory contributes to fewer transactions, as there are fewer units available for buyers to purchase,” Wortham explained.

Statewide statistics show an increase in transactions by 17.8 percent, from 7,020 to 8,269 in just one year.

The local year-over-year volume, which is calculated by combining the sum of all transactions, increased by 1.36 percent this year over last, Wortham said. The volume showed $2,836,100 in 2015 compared to a total of $2,874,831 in sales this year.

The state’s volume of sales exceeded $34.8 billion, which was an increase of 7.9 percent from the 2015 total of $32.3 billion. It was more than 20 percent higher than November 2014 when the total was $28.7 billion.

“Because this metric is a multiplier of the number of units and their sales price, its increase in this period is attributed totally to stronger sales price year-over-year,” explained Wortham.

The average price in The Herald’s coverage area rose by 1.36 percent in 2016 with the average in 2015 being $128,913. This year’s average price is $130,669.

The statewide mean price was $265,000, which is 5.2 percent higher than the median price year prior.

Across the state, realtors saw a 10.3 percent decrease in the number of days a home was on the market. The average wen