House hunting in Northern Virginia? Forget about sleeping on it

The good news for home buyers looking in Northern Virginia is the number of new listings jumped 38.5% last month. The bad news? Homes are still getting bought almost as soon as they’re listed.

The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors said more than half of the 1,355 homes for sale in its region were only on the market for 10 days or less in February.

“Long gone are the days when buyers could go home and ‘sleep on it’,” said Reggie Copeland, president of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors and principal broker at C.R. Copeland Real Estate.

According to listing service Bright MLS, the number of new contracts signed to buy a home in Northern Virginia in February rose 29.6%, with 1,805 pending sales. As evidence of how tight the market is, the total number of homes for sale at the end of February was 896 active listings, just 4.8% more than January.

That is a contract ratio of 2.27 pending contracts per active listing.

The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors covers sales in Fairfax and Arlington counties, the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church, and the towns of Vienna, Herndon and Clifton. The median price of a sale in those areas in February was $607,375, up 6.6% from a year ago.

There was a burst of potential buyers out looking last month. In the week ending Feb. 27, home showing levels were up 110.5% from the same week a year ago, according to Showing Time Data reported by Bright MLS.

The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors said buyers appear to be actively looking despite rising mortgage rates, or perhaps motivated by it.

And while the average rate on a 30-year mortgage is now one percentage point higher than a year ago, National Association of Realtors data puts that in perspective.

The last time inflation was running as hot as it currently is was back in 1982. That same year, 30-year mortgage rates were averaging 16%.

Below is a snapshot of the Northern Virginia housing market in February, courtesy of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors:

CLICK CHART TO ENLARGE: February 2022 home sales chart for Northern Virginia. (Courtesy Northern Virginia Association of Realtors)
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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