2012 Saw Signs of Recovery in Virginia Beach

The residential real estate market in Virginia Beach lumbered toward a recovery in 2012, but uncertainty remains for the new year.

The median sale price of existing homes in the region climbed 2.7 percent to $190,000 in 2012 from $185,000 in 2011 after declining since at least 2008, according to figures released Tuesday by the Real Estate Information Network, the Virginia Beach-based multiple-listing service.

The number of units sold in 2012 jumped to 12,102 from 11,465 in 2011 – a 5.6 percent increase.

But the share of foreclosures and shorts sales, collectively known as distressed sales, has been inching upward in South Hampton Roads since August. The percentage of existing home sales that were distressed in December broke the 30 percent threshold for the first time since April.

“In December 2012, we still had 1 in 3 homes sold in distressed sales,” said Vinod Agarwal, professor of economics and director of the Economic Forecasting Project at Old Dominion University. “That is still a significant issue for us.”

The increase in distressed sales toward the end of the year appears to be seasonal, Agarwal said, but he has no theories about why this occurs.

He isn’t sure what to expect for distressed sales in 2013 but said the overall market appears to be much healthier.

“All indications are that our market is moving in the right direction,” Agarwal said. “Sales are up, inventory is down, days on market is down, prices have begun to increase.”

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