The Virginia Association of REALTORS® (VAR) released its January 2015 Home Sales Report today confirming that sales are continuing to track higher in year-over-year comparisons on a monthly basis.

While January is typically the slowest month of the winter selling season and the slowest month of the year, sales and sale prices improved year-over-year, resulting in an 8% increase in sales volume (dollar value) year-over-year.

“Going forward, Virginia can expect to see steady increases as the spring selling season begins. Mortgage interest rates and the Virginia unemployment rate continued to decrease in January and December, respectively,” said Deborah Baisden, president of the Virginia Association of REALTORS®. We expect the combination of those two factors to have a strong positive effect on spring sales,” she added.

The average 30-year fixed mortgage interest rates decreased to 3.67% in January. This decrease in interest rates represents a 17.2% decrease year-over-year. The combination of low mortgage interest rates and low unemployment will likely have a strong positive effect on sales this spring. Virginia’s unemployment rate continued to decrease in December 2014. Virginia has seen a steady and consistent decrease in unemployment of about 0.2% per month over a four-month period.

More good news is that the median sales price in January 2015 ($239,900) is 4.76% higher than the previous year, January 2014 ($229,000) and 6.62% higher than the median sales price in January of 2013 ($225,000). Virginia prices declined 7.7% over the previous month, which is typical for January. The recent spate of cold weather and snow may keep February sales down a bit, but should not affect the spring sales season.

The Virginia Home Sales Report is published by the Virginia Association of REALTORS®, with analysis provided by the Virginia Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech.