The Virginia residential real estate market has continued year-over-year and longer term improvement according to the Second Quarter 2016 Home Sales Report released by the Virginia Association of REALTORS® (VAR). Both the total number of sales and the value of transactions rose from the same period last year, to 34,688 units and $11.720 billion, respectively. Volume – the sum of all transactions for April, May, and June of 2016 – was 8.6 percent higher than the same period last year, and nearly 20 percent higher than the second quarter of 2014. Annualized residential sales, a rolling sum of the home sales closed in the preceding twelve months, rose from 109,574 units in the last quarter to 112,019 (up 2.2 percent). Year-over-year, annualized sales rose by 7.6 percent (from 104,091 in the second quarter of 2015). Consecutive periods of improvement in annualized sales, as demonstrated in Virginia’s market, indicate sustained market strengthening. Boosted by continued low interest rates and increasing seasonal activity, second quarter 2016 sales also rose 7.6 percent from the same period last year, from 32,243 to 34,688.

Aggregate median sales price for the second quarter was $277,500, a slight .09 percent higher than last year’s $274,900. Aggregate median price is heavily weighted by the high portion of sales in Northern Virginia, where median price declined slightly from the 2015 second quarter benchmark. Compared to the second quarter of last year, statewide 2016 second quarter home sales increased in nearly all price bands, with the most significant increases in sales in the price ranges between $200K to $300K and $500 to $750K. Rising sales across broad price categories suggest higher consumer confidence as buyers enter the market at varied price points, supporting overall market improvement.

“Second quarter strength rests on steady market improvement across key metrics, including rising price and growing buyer participation,” said 2016 VAR President Bill White. “Combined with the natural industry uptick in summer activity, low interest rates are urging buyers into the market and driving sales up throughout Virginia.”

Click here to view the Second Quarter Home Sales Report.

Q2 Sales


New VAR Legal Hotline video: 2016 New Forms Pt.1

July 1, 2016 saw changes to VAR’s Residential Lease & several addenda to the lease brought about by changes to the law and business practices. Laura Farley will cover the following topics in this video:

  • VAR Form 200 – Residential Lease
  • VAR Form 220 – Pet Addendum
  • VAR Form 225 – Assistance Animal Addendum (New Form)
  • VAR Form 250 – Roommate Addendum
  • VAR Form 280 – Service member Civil Relief Act Waiver (New Form)
  • VAR Form 290 – Pool & Spa Addendum (New Form)

For more information on the July 1, 2016 changes to the VAR Standard forms, including a detailed summary of the changes and redline versions of the forms, visit VAR’s website.

Laura will present the Legislative Update during the VAR Annual Convention. This course will answer the most frequently asked topics on contract issues, such as short sale ratification, default, termination, release, and includes an update on changes to VAR Forms as of July 1, 2016. CE VA – Approved 1 Hour Legal Updates w/Flood Content VA CE; 1 Hour Broker Management; No PL.  No MD/DC.

Laura Farley serves as the VAR Deputy General Counsel, monitoring regulatory bodies that effect REALTORS® in Virginia, staffing the Legal Hotline and teaching CE courses. She also serves as liaison to the Standard Forms Sub-committee and the Grievance Committee.



VAR Webinar: Introduction to Radon in Virginia Real Estate Transactions

Radon-Webinar-ArtVAR Webinar: Introduction to Radon in Virginia Real Estate Transactions
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
10:00-11:00 am

Reserve your space and register today!

Guest speaker, Ryan Paris, from the Virginia Department of Health will provide an overview of what radon is, why it is a health risk, how to properly test for it, how to effectively mitigate levels that are too high, and how radon could possibly affect a real estate transaction. Applicable Virginia laws regarding radon will also be discussed. VAR’s General Counsel, Jim Hopper, will review radon-specific provisions in the VAR forms library and Standard Clauses booklet.

Ryan D. Paris, VDH- ORH Radiation Safety Specialist & Radon Coordinator
Since 1993, Ryan Paris has served in several different capacities for the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Radiological Health (VDH-ORH). Ryan has also served as the VDH Radon Coordinator since 2007. His responsibilities include answering various inquiries from the public, government officials and radon professionals. In addition, Mr. Paris has also participated in numerous public education efforts and has worked with advertisers, public schools, REALTORS®, radon professionals, local government officials, home builders and home owner associations.

James “Jim” Hopper, VAR General Counsel
Jim serves as the chief attorney of the association’s legal department and ensures that all information disseminated to association membership is legally correct and compliant with the law. He and his team provide legal guidance to VAR’s members and other association departments. Jim has practiced law for nearly four decades, as a private practitioner and with the Commonwealth of Virginia. Under former Governor Bob McDonnell, he served as the Deputy Secretary for Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security. Subsequently, he became the Secretary. In addition, he previously served in the Office of the Attorney General as section chief of both the opinions and local government section and the financial law and government support section.


Housing stakeholders gather to unlock rural solutions

Written by Jenny Wortham, Director of Community Outreach

Housing stakeholders, including REALTORS®, affordable housing advocates, lenders, and public officials, gathered last week in Martinsville and in Abingdon to share insight on rural housing challenges and opportunities. The events, hosted by the Martinsville, Henry & Patrick Counties Association of REALTORS® (MHPCAR) and the Southwest Virginia Association of REALTORS® (SWVAR), were the first two in a series of five forums that local REALTOR® associations around the state are hosting. Members of all associations are encouraged to participate.

Essential to local economic health, housing is a critical concern for all communities. Housing metrics – availability, affordability, and quality – are especially important considerations in the sustainability of rural communities, where demographic changes are more pronounced because of relatively small populations. Rural communities that are disproportionately affected by aging population, increasing poverty, and lagging employment face significant challenges in adapting their existing housing inventory to the evolving needs of residents. Convening policy makers and industry experts is one step towards addressing those needs. The preliminary results of these conversations will be reported at the annual Governor’s Housing Conference in November.

For more information on these forums, or to register for an upcoming event, please visit the Housing Virginia website here or contact VAR Director of Community Outreach Jenny Wortham at

MHPCAR Rural Housing Forum

MHPCAR Rural Housing Forum

SWVAR Rural Housing Forum

SWVAR Rural Housing Forum



NAR 2016 Q2 HOME Survey Results

Yesterday, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) released the July Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) Survey Results.july HOME

According to NAR, the HOME report was created to monitor consumer sentiment about the housing market. It covers core topics that will be tracked on a monthly basis such as views on housing as a good financial investment, whether homeownership is part of the American Dream, if now is a good time to buy or sell a home and perception of home price changes.

Highlights include:

  • In the second quarter of 2016, 74 percent of people believe that now is a good time to buy a home. Forty-two percent believe that strongly, down from 44 percent in Q1 2016.
  • Only 26 percent of people believe that now is not a good time to buy a home.
  • Sixty-one percent of people believe that now is a good time to sell a home, up from 56 percent in Q1 2016. Thirty-two percent believe that strongly, up from 28 percent in Q1 2016.
  • Forty-seven percent of those 34 years or younger have student loan debt.
  • Respondents that rent or live with someone else more often reported that they have student loan debt than those that own their own home.

Click here to download the full report.


NAR Window to the Law: Video and Audio Surveillance Issues

Modern technology increasingly robs us of our privacy. Our phones are tracking our movements in the physical world. Software tracks our activities as we travel around the internet. Banks and credit cards companies are compiling our transaction history. And now, cameras are everywhere, recording our movements in public places and even in our own home.

NAR Window to the Law video featuring Finley Maxson, NAR Senior Counsel discusses what brokers and agents need to know about using audio or video recording devices in listed properties. Click here to watch the video.

Other resources:

NAR Window to the Law: Video and Audio Surveillance Issues transcript

NAR Video and Audio Surveillance State Law Survey

VAR Legal Hotline video: Recording During Showings

Source: National Association of REALTORS®


A closer look at Rural Housing

Next week, REALTORS® around the state will join elected officials and industry partners to focus on rural housing trends and needs. Partnering with Housing Virginia, a statewide affordable housing advocate chaired by VAR Past President Kit Hale, five local associations will co-host public forums to examine statistics about the rural housing landscape and to welcome discussion about how to improve housing options in rural communities. Research and outcomes of these conversations will be reported at the Governor’s Housing Conference in November, contributing to an action plan to improve housing options and the lives of rural residents.

Each event is free and open to all members and community stakeholders. To attend, register directly through the links below:

July 14th at the Martinsville, Henry & Patrick Counties Association of REALTORS®

July 15th at the Southwest Virginia Association of REALTORS®

July 28th at the Greater Piedmont Area Association of REALTORS®

August 11th at the Chesapeake Bay and Rivers Association of REALTORS®

For more information on this Virginia Association of REALTORS® Community Outreach series, contact Jenny Wortham at


New VAR Legal Hotline video: Antitrust

Legal video Antitrust (Erin)

Click here to watch the video.

VAR Staff Counsel, Erin Barton covers why antitrust laws are important to your business; best risk management practices to avoid a potential violation; and what to do if you find yourself in a situation where you think an antitrust violation might be occurring.

Antitrust is based on a set of federal laws that tries to protect consumers by preventing competitors from coming together to restrain trade, fix prices, and/or boycott lawful business practices or businesses.  These laws are especially important to REALTORS® because the real estate industry has been specifically scrutinized as we are a group of competitors who work together and cooperate on a daily basis. Intent to commit a violation is not necessary to run afoul of antitrust laws and the penalties are severe.

Antitrust laws focus on communications and agreements between competitors – people in different companies – not coworkers. Do not talk about your firm’s business practices with competitors. Specifically, agents should avoid discussing individual firm policies, such as commissions, cooperating broker fees, and duration of brokerage agreements with anyone outside their company. Agents should also refrain from making statements to their clients such as “this is the rate every firm charges” or “no one will show your house if we don’t offer this commission” because this could imply that competitors agreed on those “standards.”

If you find yourself in a situation where it could be implied that competitors are coming together to restrain trade you must loudly dissociate yourself from the conversation. You should state that you are not in agreement, not a part of the action being discussed, and then leave the conversation immediately.

An antitrust investigation or violation is serious. If you are faced with a complaint, you should contact counsel immediately.

Erin is a lawyer and a former REALTOR®. She managed a successful team of REALTORS® and administrative staff while with Keller Williams Realty in Richmond.  She also most recently served as a contract attorney at McGuire Woods; Hancock, Daniel, Johnson & Nagle; and, Williams Mullen where she reviewed cases involving antitrust issues, SEC violations, insurance and fraud.

Resource: NAR Field Guide to Antitrust



Honoring heroes with Homes for Our Troops… will YOU give?

There is no greater gift than freedom. In honor of those who have served our nation and preserved our freedom and comforts, Virginia REALTORS® are building a legacy of support for the nationwide organization Homes for Our Troops. Your partnership in this cause is essential.

With our help, Homes for Our Troops builds mortgage-free homes  specially adapted to the needs of severely injured post-9/11 veterans – the men and women who have sustained regional partnercritical wounds in service to us. In the last twelve years, Homes for Our Troops has built over 215 homes and this Saturday, July 9th, we’ll celebrate the completion of yet another home in Virginia. Marine Sergeant Marcus Dandrea, who lost both of his legs in an IED blast in Afghanistan, will receive the keys to his new home in Haymarket.

This means so much to me and my family. We will never have to worry about the financial burden of finding a home that meets my needs…it will make our lives a lot better.”

Have you given to Homes for Our Troops? If so, THANK YOU. If you are not yet a REALTOR® donor to Homes for Our Troops, please consider making a gift now so that we can continue to honor our heroes and help them return to a life of comfort.

Click here to donate. Your gift makes a difference.


With YOUR help, another hero gets a home

As we approach the celebration of our nation’s freedom this 4th of July, take a minute to listen to Marine Corporal Kevin Blanchard express his thanks to Charlottesville REALTOR® Michael Guthrie on Real Estate Matters news radio. A mortgage-free home, specially suited to Corporal Blanchard’s needs, is a life-changing gift. “Your support will never be forgotten. It will have a very positive effect on me and my family’s life. I hope that one day I am in a position to give back on a similar level.”

In continued partnership with Homes for Our Troops, Virginia REALTORS® – you – have given thousands of dollars to help build specially adapted homes for servicemen and women that were severely injured in service to our nation. Have you given to this year’s cause? Even one dollar can make a difference in continuing to offer homes and restore comfort to our heroes.

Each year, Virginia REALTORS® have pledged $50,000 to Homes for Our Troops to ensure that homes are built for the heroes in our communities. We need your help to meet this goal so that homes continue to be built for our heroes.

Click here to give now in honor of their service and in celebration that YOU make homes a reality. 

Color Guard in Nokesville  regional partner