2014 New Home Report Finds Sales in Region Down, but Prices Up

RICHMOND, Va., Feb. 13, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The new home industry in Central Virginia saw a drop in sales and building permits in 2014, according to a new report from the Home Building Association of Richmond (HBAR) and Commonwealth Partnerships (CWP). New home prices were a bright spot and increased from 2013, reflecting a shift toward high-end home sales.

Data provided by Integra Realty Resources-Richmond (IRR-Richmond) indicates that the number of new home sales in Central Virginia was down 6 percent and permits dropped 8 percent in 2014 compared to 2013. However, the average new home price in the region rose 7 percent and reached $365,352. These mixed results reflect findings from the 2014 Mid-Year report released in August 2014 and highlight the uneven nature of the new home industry's recovery.

"The Year in Review report underscores the long road we have to a full rebound," said Craig Toalson, Chief Executive Officer at HBAR. "We expect improvement in 2015, but are still at only 45 percent of a normal market. Given the homebuilding sector's vital economic role, we must remain focused on reaching a full recovery."

"Although activity in the local new homes market declined during 2014, several factors should support the recovery in the local housing market going forward. Such factors include the recent and pending development of several new communities and the near-term continuation of historically low mortgage rates. Declines in the number of vacant lot sales and single-family building permits issued during 2014 may portend further declines in new home sales going into 2015. Yet, activity should begin to rebound later in the year," added Tom Tyler, Director of Housing Markets at IRR.

The multifamily construction boom also showed signs of slowing in 2014 as the number of multifamily permits issued dropped 18 percent from 2013. However, Chesterfield County registered a large increase in multifamily permits. Also note that Henrico County tracks multifamily building differently and the report found one permit was issued in 2014, but the number of units associated with it are unknown.

"Multifamily housing remains strong in many areas," said Andrew Ryan, partner at CWP. "However, the large increase in multifamily housing permits in Chesterfield was surprising and raises questions about the level of demand and the potential for a multifamily bubble in the county."

The RVA New Home Market Report highlights a number of key indicators and provides an accurate and unbiased look at state of the industry in Central Virginia. For a full copy of the report visit: www.hbar.org/news or www.cpgroupllc.com/homereport. The next edition of the report is scheduled for release in August 2015.

About Home Building Association of Richmond (HBAR)

The Home Building Association of Richmond is the professional trade association of the home building industry in Central Virginia, serving builders and service providers. HBAR is dedicated to the American dream of homeownership by providing resources and support to the home building community and home buyers. For more information, visit www.hbar.org.

About Integra Realty Resources-Richmond (IRR)

IRR-Richmond provides complete real estate valuation and advisory services, including market and marketability studies, highest and best use and feasibility analyses, site location, acquisition and development counseling, zoning and land use consultation, investment analysis and tax appeal, and litigation support. The firm also publishes the Integra Residential Report, released quarterly since the late 1980s, which provides a comprehensive analysis of the housing market in the Richmond region with an emphasis on the new construction segment of the market. For more information, visit www.irr.com.

About Commonwealth Partnerships (CWP)

Commonwealth Partnerships teams with clients to develop and implement strategic marketing, communications, and community relations campaigns for industries that support economic development, including real estate, A/E/C, professional services, nonprofit, senior living, and transportation. With award-winning experience, we focus on eight areas of service: branding and creative, content marketing, public relations, advertising, website development, social media, community relations, and research and analysis. For more information, visit www.cpgroupllc.com.

CONTACT: Andrew K. Ryan akryan@cpgroupllc.comSource: Commonwealth Partnerships