Virginia Reishman Report: NoVa Real Estate Market Softens

The real estate market in Virginia is softening, and that may change the game for buyers and sellers this fall and winter.

The number of active listings in Northern Virginia is up more than 45 percent over last September. There is more inventory now in Northern Virginia than there has been at any point in the past five years, according to RBI.

Specifically, Arlington County has seen a 45.6 percent increase in inventory over last September. Alexandria City has seen an increase of 24.9 percent in inventory over this time last year, Fairfax County is up 46.8 percent, the City of Falls Church is up 43.7 percent and Loudoun County is up 53 percent.

Days on market in the Northern Virginia region have also increased significantly compared to the summer (when homes do typically move a bit faster) and also compared to previous Septembers. Residential properties stayed on the market an average of 30 days in September – almost double the time on market a year ago and the longest time on market data in a September since 2011.

The average median list price in Northern Virginia was $415,000 in September, an increase of just 1.1 percent over September 2013 and the lowest it has been since March of this year. However, localities vary: Loudoun County has seen a 5.3 percent drop in median list price since September 2013, Alexandria City is down 9.4 percent and Arlington County is down 11.4 percent. Fairfax County has remained stable – no change in median list price since last September and median list prices are actually up in the City of Falls Church.

The median sold price is down to $410,000 and pricing ratios (the ratio of list price to sold price) is showing a declining trend.

It seems that buyers might consider being a little bit more aggressive with their offers on homes – particularly those that have been on the market for 30 days. For sellers, pricing their property competitively and focusing more on other moves that can help (professional photography, staging and improvements).