CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Tight inventory and increasing prices continue to put strain on the area housing market.

The Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors released its First Quarter 2024 report on Monday.

Across CAAR’s service area, home sales inched up one percent over a year ago with six more homes selling.

Home prices are still going up in most of the localities, climbing nearly $34,000 or eight percent from the same time last year.

And inventory dipped another four percent, tightening the market that is still seeing high demand.

A big factor in all of this is the volatility of mortgage rates, which have increased to 7.1 percent after they dropped to the mid-six percent range earlier this year.

CAAR says this trend is likely to continue, which could deter some people from entering the buyer’s market during a time of the year when the market is usually very busy.

The association says sales activity was relatively flat compared to a year ago, with active listings continuing to shrink and upward pressure from increasing home prices.

The report says these factors are likely worsening already bad affordability issues in the region.

Across the region, most local markets reported increases in prices, reflecting a low supply on the market and pent-up demand from first-time buyers and move-up buyers.

For the state, the median sales price was $385,000, up six percent from a year ago, but the state is also seeing an increase in listings, which have gone up by 10.3 percent from 2023 to 14,950 active listings at the end of the first quarter.

And homes are lingering on the market for three days more than they were a year ago, with the average number of days on the market in CAAR’s region being 48.

On the locality level within CAAR’s service area, Albemarle County and Fluvanna County reported declines in the number of sales, eight percent and 19 percent respectively.

The largest jump in sales was in Louisa County where sales activity went up by 23 percent. Charlottesville came in second with a 16 percent increase while Nelson County grew by five percent and Greene County saw an increase of four percent.

Only one locality saw median home prices drop for the first quarter: Greene County where the price dipped by six percent or $24,900 to $365,000.

The largest increase was reported in Charlottesville, where home prices soared 28 percent, up $104,500 over the first quarter of 2023. The current median sales price is $482,000

In Nelson County, the price increased by 18 percent, jumping $60,000 to $385,000, and in Albemarle County, prices rose 15 percent, climbing more than $68,000 to $526,900.

The median price in Louisa County grew by four percent, reaching $384,425, and in Fluvanna County, the increase was one percent, bringing the median price to $341,000.

Two localities reported an increase in active listings for the first quarter: Louisa County and Nelson County. By the end of the quarter, Louisa’s inventory had gained 13 percent while Nelson’s surged by 29 percent.

The largest decrease in inventory was in Fluvanna County where 39 percent fewer homes are currently for sale.

Greene County saw its inventory drop by 19 percent and both Charlottesville and Albemarle County went down by nine percent.

When it comes to how many days a home stays on the market, Albemarle and Fluvanna counties both saw homes selling five days faster than a year ago, averaging 40 days and 39 days respectively.

Homes in Nelson County are waiting another 19 days before they sell for an average of 61 days on the market.

In Louisa County, it’s taking an extra 13 days for a home to sell, sitting for an average of 63 days, and homes in Greene County are taking 10 days more, waiting to sell for an average of 61 days.

In Charlottesville, homes are taking one extra day to sell, usually selling by their 36th day on the market.

In contrast, the local job market is still very strong, with the unemployment rate in CAAR’s region dipping by 0.1 percent to 2.5 percent.

Across Virginia, the unadjusted unemployment rate was unchanged from a year ago, holding steady at 2.9 percent.

The report says there was an influx of 10,600 jobs in February, which was the largest month-to-month increase Virginia had seen in more than a year. 

To read the full report, click here.