Summer home sales continue to favor sellers as low inventory has raised average prices and reduced time on the market for many regional listings.
In Fairfax County, the number of homes on the market in June decreased by nearly 16 percent compared to June 2012. Similarly, in June the average home price is up 6 percent and the median price is up 7.5 percent compared to June 2012, according to RealEstate Business Intelligence, an East Coast housing think tank.
More good news for sellers is that homes are being purchased quickly after being listed. The average days on market dropped about 43 percent this June compared to last — a shift from 42 days in June 2012 to 24 days in June 2013.
Market statistics may not reflect concerns local residents had of the impacts sequestration would have on Northern Virginia’s economy.
“[Sequestration] is having somewhat less of an effect than expected and that’s because it has been spread out longer [over time] than expected,” said Stephen Fuller, director of George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis. Government agencies and contractors, who are major regional employers, had time to prepare for funding cuts under the sequestration, he said, allowing for less stress on the job market.
“The DOD [Department of Defense] said they were going to have 22 furlough [days] and now they are down to 11,” he said, adding that the department, like many, was able to reduce impacts by freezing hiring.
“The people who are being furloughed already own a house or they rent. But they’re not really in the housing market,” Fuller said. “Because contractors knew [sequestration] was going to happen well in advance ... they were able to prepare for that and shifted their contracts to local governments and private corporations.”
The impact of the sequestration could be that homeowners are not buying up, meaning moving to larger or more expensive homes. This could help explain the low inventory.
“There isn’t inventory, period,” said Lorraine Arora, a managing broker with Long & Foster Realtors in Springfield and Kingstowne. “People are afraid. What are they going to get, where are they going to move to? There is no inventory to move up [in housing]... It’s still a sellers market.”