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After growth in February, year-over-year home sales dip in March

Northern Virginia Association of Realtors sees inventory tightness as holding back transactions

What was up in February was down in March across the Northern Virginia real-estate market.

After having recorded a year-over-year increase in the second month of the year, home sales for the third month of 2024 in Northern Virginia dropped 13.8 percent from the previous March, with a tight inventory coupled with affordability issues as the culprits.

Figures come from the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR), incorporating sales data in Arlington and Fairfax counties and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church.

“We had a reprieve in February as sales grew year over year for the first time since 2021, but March was a return to what we have been experiencing: lower sales from the previous year,” said Christina Rice of Pearson Smith Realty, a member of the NVAR board of directors.

“That said, I think February’s positive news represents a change that is going to slowly transform the housing market, getting us back to more normal market dynamics,” Rice said. “As the year progresses, I expect to see more people start selling their homes, which will help bring more parity between supply and demand.”

Overall, home sales (1,191) were down in March, but they were still up 14 percent compared to February. That suggests typical cyclical trends (weaker in autumn/winter, stronger in spring/summer) are likely to be in play this year.

A reflection of high demand and low supply was that homes stayed on the market only 16 days in March 2024, down from 22 days a year before.

The median sales price of a home selling in March 2024 was $730,000, up 9.8 percent compared to March 2023. This also marked an increase from February 2024, when the median home price was $687,250. Average sales prices also were higher.

The total sales volume across the region in March was $973,604,474, down 8.5 percent from March 2023.

“While the decline in sales in March is consistent with NVAR’s 2024 economic housing forecast, we are seeing less dramatic drops in year-over-year sales than in the past year. Coupled with February’s good news, we expect to see more homeowners ready to sell in the height of the spring market,” said NVAR CEO Ryan McLaughlin.

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