Highlights

 

Amid the national financial uncertainties and news about the economy and stock markets, the Virginia economy and housing market are out-performing the country and it is expected that the state’s economy will continue to have moderate growth in spite of the national economic turbulence.

 

After nearly a year of market slowdowns and home price depreciation, the housing market in the Commonwealth of Virginia exhibited signs of strength in the 3rd quarter of 2008. Sales activity was down only slightly in the 3rd quarter of 2008 compared with the 3rd quarter of 2007. Statewide, prices were up 1.4 percent over the year.

 

Much of the increased sales activity in 3rd quarter 2008 occurred in Northern Virginia

markets where a strong economy and drastic price drops continue to attract buyers.

 

Prices in many markets outside of Northern Virginia have risen slightly in the 3rd quarter of 2008 compared with the 3rd quarter of 2007. A notable slowdown in new construction

across the state in the first eight months of 2008 will put additional upward pressure on

prices.

 

Virginia Economic Trends

 

Virginia’s economy continues to perform generally well despite the national situation, although the state’s economy is moderating. A major factor in moderating job growth is the effects of the slowdown in the housing market. Following robust job growth years of 2004-2006, job growth moderated to +34,200 in 2007 and in 2008 is growing at an annualized rate of 17,000 through August. The rate of job creation appeared to moderate further in May and June, but in July and August jobs were added at an annualized rate of 19,000 per year Job growth continues to be very healthy in the services sectors and in state and local government. Sectors affected by the housing market slow down are construction, finance and real estate, and retail trade. All three sectors are contracting significantly. The Construction and Finance/Real Estate sectors are directly related to the housing downturn, while part of the retail trade decline is related to the national consumer confidence situation as well as lower sales due to fewer house refinancing.

 

 

 

 

Source: VAR

Foreclosures in Virginia

 

The foreclosure issue is a major one at the national level, and Virginia has not avoided the issue. However, the foreclosure problem is concentrated in the three largest metro areas of Northern Virginia, Tidewater and Richmond, and Northern Virginia is clearly experiencing the worst of this problem. As of October, 81 percent of foreclosure activity in the state was concentrated in Northern Virginia. Other metropolitan areas of the state have experienced very little of the foreclosure problem. From the chart below it is easily seen that the majority of foreclosures in the state are concentrated in Northern Virginia, and that in Northern Virginia and Tidewater foreclosures edged higher in October as compared to July. The Richmond metropolitan area has seen a decline in foreclosure activity since July. It is expected that the foreclosure problem will abate somewhat near the end of 2008 as the sub-prime mortgage resets begin to decline.