Local housing market still hot as home sales outpace record year in 2020

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Home Sales

By Randy Arrington

LURAY, Aug. 3 — In terms of home sales in Page County, 2019 was considered a “banner year” with 191 homes purchased. Then 2020 became a record year, with 233 sales marking a 22-percent increase over the previous 12 months. Now, halfway through 2021, home sales in the county have grown another 39 percent compared to last year, with 125 homes sold in the first six months.

“We had a peak back in 2004, 2005…but this has been different,” said local realtor Bill Dudley. “The turn around, the low inventory, the low interest rates are all hitting at one time.”

The broker/owner of Bill Dudley and Associates Real Estate in Luray has been heavily involved in the local real estate market for nearly 35 years, and he says he’s never seen the market as active as it is now — and that’s with low inventory.

In the first quarter of 2021, the number of available homes for sale in Page County dipped as low as 13, according to Dudley. There are currently 31 houses on the market. Yet despite the low inventory, the number of homes sold through the first six months climbed from 90 last year to 125 this year.

The 31 houses currently on the market represent about a six-week inventory, according to Dudley, who says the local market “is absorbing about 20 houses a month.”

“The [inventory] has stayed down lower than I’ve ever seen it,” Dudley said. “Normally, we would have 75 to 80 houses on the market.”

With the reduced inventory, demand increased and the average number of days that properties sat on the market dropped from 135 days last year to 49 this year. The median “days on market” (or DOM) dropped from 52 in 2020, down to just 11 days so far in 2021.

The real win for property owners looking to sell has been the 17-percent average increase in value, as the average sale price of a home in Page County rose nearly $40,000 — from $222,102 a year ago, to an average of $260,789 over the last six months. The median sale price increased by a similar margin (20 percent), from $193,750 to $232,830.

One of the telling factors about the current real estate clientele is the near doubling of homes sold in the county with a value of more than $250,000 — from 26 sold last year, to 51 this year (through the first six months). The urban exodus driven by the COVID-19 pandemic is certainly a factor in the Page County real estate market with its proximity to densely-populated northern Virginia, Washington, D.C. and southern Maryland.

“People are coming out of the city,” Dudley said, noting a more affluent buyer. “They don’t have to go to a brick-and-mortar office any more, and they are looking for a more rural setting.”

Over the past decade, the third-highest year for home sales came in 2016 (behind 2019 and 2020), with 177 homes sold. The low point came in 2010 on the heels of a recession, with only 99 homes sold.

In 2019, the county saw more homes sell for a higher average price over fewer days on the market than at any point in the previous decade. That same year also produced the highest number of homes selling for more than $250,000 than at any time in the previous 16 years.

Well 2020 surpassed all of those marks — and now 2021 is on pace to set even higher records.

~ Current data for this article was taken from Bright MLS, the primary Multiple Listing System for Page County, and it was provided by Bill Dudley & Associates Real Estate Inc. in Luray, Va.

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Annual 12-month comparisons for Page County, Va.

Homes sold

163 — 2018

191 — 2019

233 — 2020

Average Sale Price

$173,272 — 2018

$203,941 — 2019

$237,917 — 2020

Median Sale Price

$159,900 — 2018

$185,000 — 2019

$215,500 — 2020

Average days on market

143 — 2018

109 — 2019

96 — 2020

Median  days on market

66 — 2018

54 — 2019

32 — 2020

Sales $250,000+

26 — 2018

44 — 2019

83 — 2020

•••

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