Triangle home sales up 15 percent in February

dbracken@newsobserver.comMarch 12, 2013 

Home sales in the Triangle increased 15 percent in February as the market maintained strong momentum heading into the busiest selling season of the year.

But the extended stretch of solid sales activity still hasn’t resulted in an increase in homes being listed for sale. There were just 7,515 homes on the market at the end of February, down 20 percent from the same period last year and off 40 percent from two years ago, Triangle Multiple Listing Services data show.

The region now has a five-month supply of homes on the market at the current pace of sales.

The good news for sellers is that rising demand and dwindling supply is making it easier for them to sell their homes. The average days on the market of the homes that sold in February declined 15 days to 117.

The bad news is that prices remain largely flat and buyers continue to demand that a home be in very good condition. Those two factors help explain why many owners may be reluctant to put their homes on the market, said John Wood, a Re/Max United agent in Cary.

“The big change continues to be sellers still realize they’ve got to really make their houses look great,” he said. “And they’re not getting a ton of money for them. Prices have not really gone up – there are some pockets where prices are starting to move up – but not across the market.”

The average price of the homes that sold in February was $218,000, up 1 percent from the same period a year ago.

The only market that hasn’t seen a dramatic decline in inventory levels is higher-priced homes. There is now a 14-month supply of homes priced between $600,000 and $800,000 on the market and a 27-month supply of homes priced at more than $800,000.

“High-end is still not flying off the shelves at all,” Wood said.

Stacey Anfindsen, a Cary appraiser who analyzes MLS data for area real estate agents, said the fact that the days-on-the-market metric is now falling noticeably should ultimately bode well for sellers.

“The next couple months you’re just going to see the pendulum continue to swing towards the seller,” he said.

Bracken: 919-829-4548

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