Northern Virginia homebuyers move to beat higher rates

WASHINGTON — November is typically a slow month for housing sales, but the Northern Virginia market had a stronger-than-usual November, with buyers moving to beat the perception of rising interest rates, according to the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors.

The NVAR covers home sales activity in Fairfax and Arlington Counties, the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church, and the towns of Vienna, Herndon and Clifton.

In that region, the number of homes sold in November was up 5 percent from November of last year. Homes also sold 9 percent faster than a year ago.

The average sales price was up 7.6 percent, to $580,733.

“The residential market in Northern Virginia during November provided some impressive sales statistics, counter to historical trends where the month is generally one of the quietest for selling,” said Tracy Comstock, a broker at SilverLine Realty & Investment.

Comstock attributed the increased sales transactions to the possibility of higher rates, causing hesitant buyers to make housing decisions now.

Like the rest of the D.C. region, buyers in Northern Virginia are challenged by the lack of homes on the market to choose from.

Active listings in November were down by more than 11 percent from a year ago.

“As a buyer’s agent, I’m showing properties at different price points although listings are not abundant,” said Peter Nguyen, an agent with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty.

“This time of year, clients prefer the lack of perceived competition,” he said.

Across the river in the District, the median price of a house or a condo that sold in November tied the highest November on record at $549,000, with sales up 5.8 percent from a year earlier, according to the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors.

In Montgomery County, the median price of $425,000 was up 7.2 percent from November 2016, though the number of sales in Montgomery County was down almost 2 percent.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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