Triangle home sales up 24 percent in third quarter

24 percent jump in sales marked the third consecutive quarter that the Triangle has recorded a double-digit increase

dbracken@newsobserver.comOctober 15, 2012 

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Triangle home sales dipped slightly in April compared to the same period a year ago, but the inventory of homes on the market ticked up for the first time in more than a year.

CHRIS SEWARD — cseward@newsobserver.com

The Triangle housing market continues to show signs of mounting a sustained recovery, with sales increasing 24 percent in the third quarter compared to the same period a year ago.

There were 5,559 homes sold in Durham, Johnston, Orange and Wake counties in the three months that ended Sept. 30, Triangle Multiple Listing Services data show. Pending sales were also up 24 percent while showings increased 12 percent.

The average days on the market of the homes that sold in the quarter was 111 days, down from 126 days during the third quarter of 2011. The average sales price of the homes that sold was $239,000, up 1 percent from a year ago.

The 24 percent jump in sales marked the third consecutive quarter that the Triangle has recorded a double-digit increase. The market had year-over-year gains of 20 percent in the first quarter and 19 percent in the second quarter.

The third quarter results continue a trend that has been in place for months now: While the number of sales keeps steadily rising, the number of homes listed for sale in the region continues to fall.

There were 8,825 homes listed for sale at the end of quarter, down 21 percent from the same time a year ago. The Triangle now has a five-month supply of homes on the market at the current sales pace, down from a seven-month supply a year ago.

The declining inventory levels are in part the result of a slowdown in new home construction. The declines may also reflect the fact that some people who bought near the peak of the market are reluctant to sell because their homes are now worth less than they paid for them.

Ed Willer, a broker with Prudential York Simpson Underwood in Raleigh, said it remains very much a buyer’s market – one in which sellers must make the necessary improvements to their homes and price them aggressively if they hope to find a buyer.

“There’s some houses that are market queens that hang on forever, it seems like,” he said. “And there are others that come and go in 30 days. It all depends on the price and the location.”

Transactions can also take longer to complete because of all the additional steps now involved in the process, Willer said. Lenders now demand much more documentation from buyers, and it’s become more common for an appraisal to come in below an agreed-upon price, he said.

Stacey Anfindsen, a Cary appraiser who analyzes MLS data for area real estate agents, said buyers remain both patient and picky.

“They’re still driven by deal mentality,” Anfindsen said. “And they’re still driven by ‘I’ve got to have it move-in ready.’”

Bracken: 919-829-4548

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