Hampton Roads home sales fall 16 percent in January

By Dave Mayfield
The Virginian-Pilot
© February 14, 2014

The home sales market in Hampton Roads hit a downdraft in January, and the region’s multiple-listing service speculated that last month’s unusually heavy snows were partly to blame.

Across the region from Virginia Beach to Williamsburg, sales of new and existing homes fell 16 percent in January from the same month last year, according to a report Thursday from the Real Estate Information Network.

Some of the biggest drops were in South Hampton Roads. Sales were off 30 percent in Chesapeake, 27 percent in Portsmouth, 17 percent in Suffolk and 16 percent in Virginia Beach. Norfolk was the lone city on the south side that fared better than average, with a year-over-year decline of 9 percent.

The listing service said snowfalls, especially toward the end of a month, can delay settlements into the following month.

The January tally of 674 existing homes sold across South Hampton Roads and Western Tidewater was down 17 percent from the year before and was the lowest monthly total for that portion of the metro area since February 2010. Prices for existing homes nudged down to a median of $178,000 last month from $181,000 a year earlier.

In addition, 108 new homes were sold in January across South Hampton Roads and Western Tidewater – a drop of 27 percent from the same month in 2013. The median price of new homes sold in that area was about $291,000, down from $310,000 the year before.

The multiple-listing service said home listings totaled 10,222 across the entire metro area in January, barely changed from 10,169 the year before. It said the January inventory worked out to about 5.7 months of supply at current sale rates, down from 6.2 months a year earlier.

Sales of distressed homes remained high in January – about 29 percent of all existing homes sold across the metro area. But that was down from 35 percent of sales in January 2013. Distressed sales include foreclosures and short sales, which occur when a seller owes more on a mortgage than a house is worth.

Dave Mayfield, 757-446-2271, dave.mayfield@pilotonline.com

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