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The Hampton Roads Multiple Listing Service

Region's Sales Decline for the First Time in Years

For months, the local real estate market in Hampton Roads had defied national trends, with sales remaining strong despite low inventory. But the tide may be turning. September’s residential pending sales are down year-over-year for the first time in 52 months, and settled sales are down for the first time in 12 months. Active listings continue to decline year-over-year for the 38th consecutive month. On the positive, the region’s residential median sales price persists with a year-over-year increase, as it has done for 49 months in a row.

In September 2018, residential active listings for the region were down 8.16% year-over-year with 9,688 available homes, down from 10,549 during the same period of time in 2017. Each of the region’s seven major cities (Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Hampton and Newport News) experienced decreased inventory, except for Newport News which was up 3.57% year-over-year. Portsmouth and Norfolk registered the largest declines at 17.41% and 12.94% respectively. For the month, 3,144 new listings were added to the MLS database, which is 11.29% less than the 3,544 new listings added in September 2017.

September’s supply of residential home inventory in the region is currently 4.17 months, down 13.31% from the same period of time last year. This marks the 41st consecutive time that the months’ supply of inventory has declined year-over-year, a trend that started in May 2015. All seven of the region’s major cities currently maintain inventories below 5 months, suggesting a continued seller’s market.

Though only a modest fall of .29%, residential pending sales experienced a year-over-year decline for the first time in over four years (since May 2014). In September 2018, just 2,080 homes went under contract vs. 2,086 the previous September. Of the area’s major cities, four recorded year-over-year decreases – Hampton (-11.73%), Virginia Beach (-7.72%), Chesapeake (-6.95%), and Newport News (-2.30%). The only city to significantly buck this trend was Suffolk, which was up 33.93% year-over-year for September.

Similarly, residential settled sales experienced the first year-over-year decline in one year (since September 2017). The region’s sales fell 5.80% in September 2018. Among the major cities, all underwent year-over-year declines except for Norfolk and Suffolk, up 7.50% and .71%. Hampton and Virginia Beach recorded the most prominent declines at 14.94% and 13.60%. respectively. Looking at third quarter 2018 vs. 2017, settled sales rose 5.61% year-over-year during the period of July-September.

The median sales price continues to be a bright spot among a changing real estate market. In September 2018, the region’s residential median sales price rose 1.73% year-over-year to $235,000. This is the 49th consecutive month that the median sales price has risen year-over-year (since August 2014). Hampton and Portsmouth were the only major cities to experience declines at 7.16% and .37% respectively. All others rose between .58% to 7.14%.

The number of distressed homes in the Hampton Roads region, those that are either short sales or foreclosures, has significantly decreased. In September 2018, distressed homes accounted for just 8.31% of all residential settled sales, down 1.69% year-over-year. Similarly, distressed homes accounted for only 8.56% of all residential active listings in September 2018, the lowest recording since REIN began tracking the data in August 2009.