CAAR report: Slowest first quarter in real estate in seven years

The real estate market began 2023 with lower volumes than recent years according to the latest report from the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors. 

“There were 688 homes sold in total across the area in the first quarter of 2023, down 23 percent from last year, the lowest first quarter sales total since 2016,” reads the executive summary for the CAAR Home Sales Report for the period between January 1 and March 31. “This is the slowest first quarter the CAAR market has had since 2016.”

Sales volumes were down across the six-jurisdiction region covered by CAAR with 40 percent fewer sales in Charlottesville and 43 percent in Nelson. The slowdown is not as sharp in Albemarle and Louisa which both saw 12 percent fewer sales. 

The median sales price for a home for the quarter is $401,200. That’s $11,300 higher than in the first quarter of 2022. The total sales volume dropped by $86.3 million. 

Sales prices in the first quarter were down in Albemarle, Charlottesville, and Nelson County, but increased in Louisa County and Greene County. Fluvanna has stayed about the same. These are important numbers to keep in mind when thinking about what real property assessments will be in 2024. 

Download the report from the CAAR website for more information

At the same time, inventory has increased with 700 active listings as of March 31. That’s a 48 percent increase over 2022.  That number may continue to improve. 

“There have been 202 total building permits issued in the region so far in 2023 (through February), which is the second highest January and February total since 2015,” the report continues. “About 53 percent of the permits so far have been for single-family detached homes.” 

Houses are also on the market longer with an average length of 45 days, 15 days longer than in the first quarter of 2022. 

The report also notes that mortgage rates were up and down in the first quarter with an average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was 6.39 percent. This afternoon the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Bank increased a key rate.

“The Committee seeks to achieve maximum employment and inflation at the rate of 2 percent over the longer run,” reads a press release that went out today. “In support of these goals, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 5 to 5-1/4 percent.”

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the May 3, 2023 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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