In recent months it has been the trend in Hampton Roads for growth of real estate pending and settled sales to outpace that of the active listings. For the most part, November’s statistics followed this same pattern, as active listings continued to decline year-over-year and the change in sales activity held steady in the positive column. One difference, though, is that while Hampton Roads has been able to maintain a balanced market in recent history (typically a 5 to 7 months inventory supply), in November the months' supply dipped below 5 months and has allowed the scales to tip slightly in favor of the sellers.
The number of available homes for sale in the region fell to 10,259 units in November, which correlates to an 8.1% decline when compared to November 2015. This also marks the 5th consecutive month that all of the region’s seven major cities (Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Hampton, and Newport News) showed year-over-year declines in residential active listings. Portsmouth and Virginia Beach experienced the largest drops in active inventory, falling 11.42% and 10.30% respectively.
Residential pending sales remained the strongest housing market indicator in Hampton Roads for November, rising 17.98% year-over-year. The region generated 1,936 pending contracts, the highest number of pending sales during the month of November since 2005 when it registered 2,061 units. All of the region’s major cities yielded positive year-over-year results in pending sales, though growth for some cities varied dramatically. Suffolk experienced a significant rise in pending sales when compared to last year by adding 41.49% more pending transactions, while Newport News saw a more subtle increase of 1.42%.
Residential settled sales continued to increase year-over-year, climbing 13.61% when compared to the same time last year. Of the region’s major cities, Newport News was the only city to experience a decline in the number of homes sold, dropping 10.76% year-over-year. Contrastingly, settled sales were generously boosted year-over-year in Hampton and Suffolk with gains of 34.62% and 27.27% respectively. The remaining major cities all experienced increases that ranged between 3.62% (Chesapeake) and 14.65% (Virginia Beach). The median residential sales price for the area escalated 3.21% from $218,000 in November of last year to $225,000 last month.
The divergence between the growth in sales activity and the shrinking active listing inventory has knocked the months’ supply of inventory for Hampton Roads below 5 months, making the market a bit more advantageous for sellers. At 4.81 months, the current months’ supply of inventory is the lowest the Hampton Roads has witnessed since the statistic began being tracked by REIN in 2009. Additionally, this represents a 15.91% year-over-year decrease from November 2015 and a 4.75% month-to-month decrease from October 2016. At 3.60 months, Virginia Beach is the only major city to display a months’ supply below 4 months.