The Lynchburg – area economy continues to be healthy, with strong job growth in the region’s health care sectors. Strong job growth is a good predictor of a stable housing market. While the Lynchburg – area unemployment rate is somewhat higher and more volatile than the state’s rate, unemployment has been falling consistently in the Hill City for several years.
Interest rates remain very low, and it is likely mortgage rates will stabilize or head even lower before the end of the year. The total 3rd quarter sales transactions in the Lynchburg Association of Realtors region was near the same level as a year ago, inching up just 1%.
The median sales price in the LAR market rose, climbing nearly $4,500 from one year ago, a 2% uptick in the 3rd quarter. The median sales price in the region now is $28,000 higher than it was at this time four years ago, which reflects the shrinking inventory and continued demand in many local markets. Homes sold a week faster, on average, in the LAR housing market in the 3rd quarter, continuing a downward trend that has been consistent every quarter since midway through 2015.
The Lynchburg – area housing market continues to expand, though activity in some local markets moderated in the 3rd quarter. The number of sales transactions region – wide was flat from a year ago; however, price levels rose in most of the region. The higher sales prices led to a $10 million increase in the overall sold volume for the LAR footprint in the 3rd quarter compared to last year. Homes sold a week faster, on average, during the 3rd quarter, and the inventory of active listings continues to shrink rapidly, falling 17% in the 3rd quarter compared to last year.
The region’s economy continues to grow with more jobs being added, and the unemployment rate continues the fall. Interest rates are historically low and may continue to drop, which should provide good financing options for qualified buyers interested in entering the market.
Sales activity in the LAR regional housing market was relatively flat in the 3rd quarter compared to last year. There were 983 sales throughout the area – 10 more sales than a year ago, a modest 1% increase.
Flat and declining sales activity in the region’s largest local housing markets are driving the flat sales trends in the LAR footprint overall. There were signs of a slowdown in the three largest local markets – Lynchburg and the counties of Bedford and Campbell all had a drop in sales this quarter compared to last year. This is the first time all three of these jurisdictions had a sales decline in the same quarter in more than four years. Other parts of the LAR region had strong sales growth this quarter; both Amherst and Appomattox counties had more sales transactions in the 3rd quarter compared to last year.
This information was compiled for the Lynchburg Association of Realtors by Virginia Realtors Quarterly Housing Report.