Hampton Roads home sales rise in May

Hampton Roads home sales rise in May

Home sales rose in South Hampton Roads in May and prices ticked up after months of easing foreclosures, according to a report released Tuesday.

The Real Estate Information Network, a Virginia Beach-based multiple-listing service, reported that 1,208 existing homes sold last month, up 5.5 percent from May 2011. Meanwhile, the median price was $198,000 in May, up 4.8 percent from a year earlier, the listing service reported.

The report was more good news for the housing market, which in recent years has struggled to gain solid footing. May marked the third consecutive month of year-over-year increases in median existing home prices. The median is the point at which half of all sale prices were higher and half were lower. Until March, year-over-year median prices had not risen in South Hampton Roads since November 2010.

Distressed sales, which have played a major role in Hampton Roads in recent years, have been sliding as a percentage of all homes sold in recent months. Last month, foreclosures and sales by homeowners whose homes were worth less than their mortgage balances - known as short sales - accounted for 26 percent of all sales, down from 31 percent a year earlier.

Foreclosures and short sales as a portion of all sales reached a high of 42 percent in March 2011.

Last month, the number of homes for sale across the region rose to 11,802 - up slightly from April but down 18 percent from a year earlier, according to the report.

By Josh BrownThe Virginian-Pilot©