While the holidays can be a busy and expensive time, one part of the American economy can reach a slow point during the last three months of the year: Home sales.
In Williamsburg, an October 2018 monthly indicator report from the Williamsburg Area Association of Realtors shows home sales have slowly dropped off as the end of the year approaches, mirroring a nationwide seasonal trend.
“That’s normal, that’s the cycle,” said Cindy Homewood, chief executive officer of the Williamsburg Area Association of Realtors. “People start thinking about putting homes on the market in the early spring. There’s good weather and families often delay moving until the summer after schools let out.”
The association’s report for October includes data and home listings from its multiple listing service, a marketing system used by cooperating real estate brokers. It includes the Bruton area of York County, Williamsburg and James City County.
Not all Greater Williamsburg Realtors belong to that MLS, Homewood said.
What do the numbers look like?
Home sales in the Williamsburg area have been gradually and slightly decreasing since peaking over the summer.
Detached home sales peaked at 165 in June, and attached sales peaked at 54 in August.
In October, the area’s detached and attached home sales totaled 97 and 47, respectively.
“Sales go up in the spring through the summer, a little heavier in the fall, then in the winter it levels out again,” Homewood said.
According to the Real Estate Investment Network, Hampton Roads remains a seller’s market, meaning there are more home buyers than sellers and, therefore, sellers have the upper hand.
In general, Hampton Roads has defied national trends, with sales remaining strong despite low inventory. The region’s sales declined for the first time in more than four years in September, according to a REIN news release.
The good news
While home sales in the Williamsburg area are following the natural downward seasonal trend, new homes are still being added to the market.
“The best news out of the whole report is the increase of new listings, for an increase of housing inventory brings more buyers to the market,” Homewood said. “Nationally, the housing inventory has been exceedingly low. In October, the existing inventory was up and sales are steady and the overall real estate market strong.”
Compared to October 2017, this October also saw an increase in the median sale price of area attached and detached homes.
Attached homes sold for a median price of $245,000, while detached sold for $357,000 in October. In the last 12 months, detached home prices have fluctuated up and down between $324,953 and $360,000.
“Real estate sales tend to remain steady if the economy is growing and perceived strong,” Homewood said. “Interest rates are also a factor. The availability of securing financing is important. The stock market can also play a factor, and in October the market did experience a setback and… that will sometimes keep people from thinking about moving.”