Fourth quarter housing trends show steady economic growth

Despite a brief slowdown in mid 2019, the Lynchburg area economy has been growing strongly during the past 12 months. The health care and social assistance sector continues to be an important driver of economic growth in the region.

Consumer confidence remains strong, though there are indications of growing uncertainty about future economic conditions. Interest rates have remained relatively unchanged for the past few weeks and are expected to remain low into 2020.

For the 3rd consecutive quarter, there were more sales transactions in the Lynchburg Association of Realtors housing market compared to on year prior. All of the sales growth in the fourth quarter occurred in Campbell County and Lynchburg.

Home prices are rising in most local markets in the Lynchburg Association of Realtors footprint. The median sales price in the region rose $5,800 in the fourth quarter compared to last year. Amherst County had the largest median price growth, up more than $18,000 from one year ago.

The supply of active listings in the region at the end of the fourth quarter is 17% lower than it was last year. The inventory in the LAR housing market now is about half of the level it was in the fourth quarter of 2015.

The Lynchburg area has experienced relatively strong job growth during the past 12 months, although there was a decline in jobs in mid year. Between June 2018 and June 2019 (the latest data available), the Lynchburg region lost 118 jobs; however, this decline follows five months of steady job growth in the area.

The region’s health care and social assistance sector was a bright spot in the Lynchburg economy, adding 579 new jobs between June 2018 and June 2019. There also were gains in the sectors of construction, with 235 jobs added; arts, entertainment and recreation, with 109 jobs added; and real estate with 219 jobs added. The Lynchburg area experienced a drop in manufacturing jobs, as well as declines in the numbers of jobs in the sectors of accommodation and food services, educational services, and professional and technical services.

The 2019 Housing Trends Report for the fourth quarter was received from Dr. Lisa Sturtevant, chief economist of Virginia REALTORS®, and provided to the Lynchburg Association of REALTORS®.