January 20, 2022 - Robin Spensieri
The Virginia REALTORS® Confidence Survey gathers information from REALTORS® on local housing markets based on their experiences with real estate transactions in the prior month. This month’s Confidence Survey was conducted between September 29 and October 3, 2021, and reflects housing market conditions in September 2021. A total of 682 Virginia REALTORS® members responded to the survey, including 598 who had participated in a home sales transaction in the prior 30 days.
Current Market Conditions
According to Virginia REALTORS®, housing market conditions continued to cool in September. The Buyer Activity Index was 66 in September, down from 68 in August and 77 in July. The seller activity index fell to 35 in September, a drop from 38 in August and 41 in July.
About 42% of REALTORS® rated the level of buyer activity in their local market as “high to very high” in September, which is down from 48% in August. The share of REALTORS® rating local buyer activity as “low to very low” remained about the same in September as it was in August (10.5%).
According to survey respondents, about a third of home buyers in Virginia in September were first-time buyers, which is about the same share as in July and August. About 20% of purchases were all-cash purchases during the month, and about 16% of buyers were purchasing a home for a non-primary residence use (e.g., rental property, second home, vacation home).
The September survey shows that REALTORS® are seeing a slowdown in seller activity, as well. Only about 14% of respondents reported that seller activity was “high to very high” in their local market in September, down from 18% in August. The share stating that seller activity was “low to very low” increased from 41.6% in August to 43.3% in September.
In this month’s survey, we asked about buyer concessions and compared conditions in September to what we heard from REALTORS® back in April. According to Virginia REALTORS®, buyers are much less likely to be offering concessions now compared to in the spring.
- In April, nearly 9 out of 10 REALTORS® said it was “very common” for buyers to offer over list price. In September, that share had dropped to 4 out of 10.
- Last spring, more than half of REALTORS® reported it was “very common” for buyers to waive the home inspection, but that share dropped to just 20% of REALTORS® in September.
- In April, about a third of REALTORS® said it was “very common” for buyers to waive the home appraisal, but in September, only 10% of REALTORS® said this as a “very common” concession.
The Virginia REALTORS® who responded to this month’s REALTOR® Confidence Survey expressed more reservations about the market over the next three months.
About 28% of respondents indicate that they thought buyer activity would be strong in their local market in three months, which is down from 35% of the August respondents. About 9.5% indicate they think buyer interest will be weak in three months, a slightly higher share that last month’s survey (8.3%).
Only 11.4% of Virginia REALTORS® report that they think seller activity will be strong in three months, which is down from 16.4%, as reported by last month’s survey respondents. A much smaller share of REALTORS® feel like seller activity will be strong in three months; about 28% believe seller activity will be weak in their local market over that time frame.
Survey respondents continue to be less optimistic about price growth over the coming months. About 37% of survey respondents expect prices to rise in their local markets, which is down from 44% of August respondents. More than a quarter of Virginia REALTORS® responding to the survey (26.8%) think that prices are going to fall. More than a third (34.9%) report that they think prices will remain stable over the next three months.
A note about surveys: This is not a randomized sample survey of Virginia REALTORS® members. However, the number of responses and the geographic coverage of respondents make it possible to draw conclusions about the opinions and expectations of Virginia REALTORS®. These statistics from this survey have a margin of error of +/- 4.0%.
Responses to our surveys are confidential. We do not look at individual responses but rather report data in the aggregate.
Click here to send any comments or questions about this piece to Virginia REALTORS® Chief Economist Lisa Sturtevant, PhD.