[Edit: Fixed a type in the first sentence; we accidentally swapped the years! Thanks to Wayne Duke for catching it.]

Virginia home sales were 7.58% higher in December 2013 than in December 2012, making a strong finish for the year.  Compared to the previous three years, Virginia sales were higher in every month of 2013 except for November when sales dipped below 2012 levels. Despite a slow pace in November, quarter four sales were up 2.86% year-over-year. Year-over-year increases in sales are evidence of Virginia’s strong and consistent market recovery.

Lower unemployment and mortgage interest rates likely contributed to increased sales in December. Unfortunately, increases in sales were not experienced throughout the state, raising concerns about limited inventory in some regions. Struggles with inventory may be pronounced because we are entering the depth of the seasonal decline. Based on historic trends, we can expect to experience a slow pace of sales in January and February and then come out of the slow season in March. Second quarter sales will tell us whether we can expect to see the recovery continue or plateau.

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Analysis and commentary by Ted Koebel, Senior Research Associate, and Mel Jones, Research Associate of the Virginia Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech.

Cover 2013-Q4