New home closings dropped year-over-year in December in the Richmond, VA market, and the market seemed to be worsening in light of the percentage fall steeper than November 2015. New home closings saw a 23.7% decline from a year earlier to 158. This came after a 1.6% decline year-over-year in November.

A total of 1,742 new homes were sold during the 12 months that ended in December, down from 1,791 for the year that ended in November.

As a percentage of overall housing closings, new home closings made up 10.1%. This is down from the a year earlier when new home closings made up 14.2% of total closings. Following a decline in November year-over-year, closings of new and existing homes increased year-over-year in December.

Pricing and Mortgage Trends

In December, the average price for new home closings was $354,620, a 1.2% drop from last year. This decline is a drop off from the 4.4% fall in November from a year earlier.

Average mortgage size on new homes declined year-over-year in contrast to new home prices. In December 2015, the average mortgage size on newly sold homes saw a 2.7% fall from a year earlier. It went from $314,752 to $317,235 from November 2014 to November 2015.

Other Market Trends

As a share of new home closings, single-family home closings have climbed from last year while the share belonging to attached units has fallen. The share of new home closings belonging to single-family homes jumped from 79.7% in December 2014 to 97.5% of closings in December 2015. Conversely, the share of new home closings belonging to attached units declined to 2.5% of closings from 20.3% of closings.

There was a 9.1% fall year-over-year in the average unit size of newly sold homes to 2,531 square feet in December 2015. The average size of newly sold homes moved from 2,800 square feet in November 2014 to 2,914 square feet in November 2015.

Foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) closings declined in December from a year earlier, but remained a drag on the market. Combined, foreclosures plus REO closings accounted for 27.2% of existing home closings, below 32.5% a year earlier. The percentage of existing home closings involving foreclosures dropped to 13.6% in December from 16.0% a year earlier while REO closings as a percentage of existing home closings slid to 13.6% from 16.4% a year earlier.

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