Home sales in Virginia dropped for the seventh consecutive month in March, while home-price growth returned to a more normal pace, according to the Virginia Association of Realtors.

Closed sales totaled 10,088 in March, down 12 percent from 11,464 sales in March 2005. Closed sales year to date totaled 23,871, down 13 percent from 27,719 for the same period last year.

Areas showing increases in closed transactions for March included the Dan River Region, Lynchburg, Martinsville/Henry County, Chesapeake Bay & Rivers, Roanoke Valley, Richmond, Southwest Virginia, Williamsburg, and the Greater Augusta County area.

Virginia’s median existing-home price for March was up 4.7 percent to $176,093, compared with $168,125 for March 2005. The median is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

“A good sign for buyers is the fact that home-price appreciation is cooling with a single-digit change in median price appreciation from last year,” said VAR President Kit Hale of Roanoke. “There is better inventory on the market for buyers to choose from, and less urgency to make an offer in the competitive environment we had been experiencing…”

The average number of days on the market in March was 106, up from 92 days for the same period last year.

The Virginia Association of Realtors represents more than 37,000 Realtors active in all phases of real estate brokerage, management, development and appraisal.

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