The metrics used to measure the health of the real estate market remained encouraging in March, with residential pending and settled sales both demonstrating year-over-year growth for Hampton Roads. The months’ supply of inventory was down when compared to the previous year, but rose from February as we entered the Spring selling season.
Active residential listings fell on a year-over-year basis to 11,158 units from 11,385 in March 2015. This represents a 1.99% decline from the same time last year. As the Spring selling season began, though, the year-over-year decline in active listings has become less significant when compared to recent months due to more Sellers entering the market. Of the seven major cities (Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Hampton and Newport News), Portsmouth, Hampton, and Virginia Beach were the only cities to experience increases in the number of homes available for sale. Portsmouth generated the highest increase, adding 10.15% more homes year-over-year. The remaining cities all declined year-over-year, ranging from 1.79% (Suffolk) and 7.26% (Chesapeake).
The months’ supply of inventory for the region is currently 5.58 months, an 11.57% decline from the same time last year. Though inventory may not be as robust as it was a year ago, the months’ supply has climbed 3.53% from February 2016 when it was 5.39 months. This is also the third successive month that the inventory supply has risen month-to-month as Seller activity becomes more energized in the market. Of the region’s major cities, Virginia Beach continues to maintain the lowest months’ supply measuring 4.39 months for March, and Portsmouth has seesawed back above 7 months and continues to have the greatest inventory supply.
Marking the fifth consecutive month of double-digit gains, Hampton Roads’ residential pending sales for March remained strong, growing 20.48% when compared to the same time last year. Each major city contributed to this significant rise, with all posting positive year-over-year percentages for the month. Displaying the greatest growth, Hampton, Chesapeake and Newport News were trailblazers that respectively gained 33.33%, 27.10%, and 24.20% more pending sales compared to March 2015.
Though February’s residential settled sales statistic was more encouraging with year-over-year gains greater than 20%, the number of homes sold in March still increased 5.3% for the region when compared to March of last year. Suffolk and Virginia Beach were the only two of the region’s seven major cities to present negative year-over-year results for settled sales, falling 2.4% and 0.83%, respectively. In the positive column, Portsmouth increased residential settled sales 16.10% year-over-year, the greatest rise among the major cities,which can partially be attributed to Portsmouth’s elevated inventory that gives buyers a greater variety of homes for selection. Chesapeake followed with a 13.91% rise from the same time last year. The median residential settled sales price for Hampton Roads in March 2016 was $212,000, marking a 1.53% increase from March 2015 when it was $208,800.
First quarter sales and distressed statistics for the Hampton Roads area also instill confidence regarding local market conditions. The number of residential settled sales for Q1 of 2016 was 4,912 units, a 10.04% surge from the 4,464 units sold during Q1 of 2015. The rise in number of homes sold influenced the year-over-year increase of the median residential settled sales price for the quarter from $200,000 in 2015 to $209,450 in 2016. Though the percentage of distressed sales that contribute to the region’s overall sales was a bit volatile in the first quarter (rising from January to February and then dropping in March to 18.20%), distressed sales activity has consistently accounted for a smaller portion of the overall sales when comparing each month of Q1 to the same month in the previous year. Concurrently, the percentage of distressed active units coming onto the market continued to steadily decline both month-to-month and year-over-year in the first quarter for Hampton Roads and, in March, accounted for just 13.85% of total active listings, the lowest level since September 2009 when it registered 12.94% in a down market.