Although home sales across Virginia slowed for the 15th straight month in November, low interest rates and plentiful inventory seem to be drawing buyers back into the market, the Virginia Association of Realtors reported.

According to statistics, there were 7,942 sales of existing single-family homes in November, down 18.4 percent from 9,735 sales a year earlier, but Richmond Metro, the Eastern Shore, Martinsville-Henry area, Chesapeake Bay & Rivers, Dan River Region, New River Valley and Southwest Virginia all posted sales gains in November compared to a year earlier.

“Buyers are seizing new opportunities in the housing market,” said VAR President Melanie Thompson, of Fredericksburg, in a statement, “and we’re seeing several areas in the state that continue to show increased activity. Many people forget, in comparing this year’s market to last year’s boom, that figures still show that 2006 will be one of the top sales years on record.”

Thompson said that sellers are now pricing their homes more in line with the current market, as inventory is still running high compared to 2005 levels.

As a result, Virginia’s median existing-home price for November gained just 3.1 percent from a year earlier, rising from $209,575 to $216,000. The median is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

“Interest rates have remained low, and that creates added affordability for first-time buyers,” Thompson said. “Inventory is plentiful, and sellers are accepting market-based pricing. All these factors are creating very favorable conditions right now for buyers.”

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