Triangle home sales up 3 percent in first quarter

dbracken@newsobserver.comApril 15, 2014 

Triangle home sales were up 3 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period a year ago as the number of homes on the market continued to fall.

The combination of rising sales and shrinking inventory reduced the time it took for many people to sell their homes in recent months.

The average days on the market of the homes that sold during the first quarter was 85, down from 112 days during the same period last year, Triangle Multiple Listing Services data show. Forty-three percent of the existing homes that sold during the quarter closed in 30 days or less.

Most housing analysts expect the Triangle to post annual sales growth this year in the low single digits after sales jumped 24 percent last year. Sales in March were flat compared to the same period in 2013, while pending sales were down 2 percent.

“If we’re holding our own from last year with some small improvements, that’s going to be another great year in the market,” said John Wood, a Re/Max United agent in Cary. “ ... The good news is interest rates have continued to remain reasonable – give or take in the 4.5 percent range – prices are creeping up but they’re not jumping up. Even in the areas where there’s high demand they’re still pretty reasonable.”

The average sales price of the homes that sold in the first quarter was $248,643, up 8 percent from the same period in 2013.

The falling inventory levels continue a trend that has been in place in the Triangle for more than a year. New home listings during the quarter were up 19 percent compared to the first quarter of 2013, but the number of existing homes for sale was down 7 percent.

There were just 7,474 new and existing homes listed for sale in Durham, Johnston, Orange and Wake counties at the end of March, down 3 percent from a year ago and off 23 percent from two years ago.

Wood said the tightest markets are in the heart of Cary and central Raleigh.

“As you get a little out of town ... there is inventory,” he said. “It’s coming and going but there’s inventory available.”

Twenty-seven percent of the 82 price points within the Triangle are now considered to have an undersupply of homes, meaning they have three months or less of supply, according to Triangle MLS. Twenty-seven percent also have an oversupply of housing – meaning they have 10 months or more of supply.

Bracken: 919-829-4548; Twitter: @brackendavid

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