Pace of local home sales continues to moderate

By Kaye Kohler
Special to the Rappahannock News

The 2019 First Quarter Report on the Rappahannock Housing Market is out, at least as seen through the opaque lens of the regional Multiple Listing System (MLS). The Greater Piedmont Region (GPR) of Rappahannock, Fauquier, Madison and Culpeper continued to show signs of softening demand in the first quarter. Sales activity region-wide declined for the fourth time in a row compared to last year. It’s not Washington folks, it’s Little Washington.

However, the number of Rappahannock County home sales rose compared to last year… by an astounding two (2) sales!

Summary highlights from GPR market data this quarter indicate the pace of home sales continues to moderate compared to last year, the median sales price continues to climb, and homes are taking longer to sell compared to last year in many areas.

The MLS recorded a staggering 18 home sales (I actually counted 19, but who’s counting) in Rappahannock County in the 1st quarter of 2019. The county has had more sales than the prior year in only two out of the last seven quarters, indicating a downward trend in activity.

At $384,000, the first quarter median sales price in the county is up $82,000 from a year ago, a whopping 27 percent gain. Rappahannock County had the highest median sales price in the GPR footprint during the 1st quarter. However, with only 18 sales as a statistical body, one large farm can skew the median, so don’t get too excited and call the mortgage broker to refinance.

There were 85 active residential listings in the county at the end of the first quarter, 6 percent fewer than the same period last year, a drop of five listings. Interestingly, the supply of listings in the county has been trending down for three quarters. An ebb and flow without clear definition.

For the third quarter in a row, the average days on market continues to trend down. On average, homes sold in 149 days during the 1st quarter, 49 days faster than last year! Not exactly a bonanza, but certainly interesting and a delightful ray of sunlight filtering through the skittering clouds.

I must add that these statistics do not include Rappahannock land sales. Factoring in land (as recorded by MLS) raises the total number of sales from 18 to… drum roll… 21. Black Jack!

But, blue skies are breaking through in the second quarter. To add a hint of excitement, there are a total of 13 sales to date in this quarter with 5 more under contract. There are also three land sales plus five under contract, so the second quarter is picking up steam. Choo Choo Chooboogey.

Sales may be frothing in the DC metro area, but in Rappahannock no two homes are alike, nor any two views, streams, meadows or mountains. It’s the reason we love it, protect it, and hold it close to our hearts. It’s why there are fewer sales and why people want to remain once they truly and fully discover it. Thankfully, we are still a bit too far for commuters, but we welcome farmers!

— The writer is a broker with Kohler Realtors, LLC, in Washington.

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