Triangle home sales down slightly in April

dbracken@newsobserver.comMay 14, 2014 

HOMESALES02.NE.031412.CCS

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

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

There were 2,195 homes sold in April in Durham, Johnston, Orange and Wake counties, down 2 percent from April 2013, Triangle Multiple Listing Services data show.

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.

“The only way the market is going to move forward in more than 1 or 2 percent increments is if we get job growth at more than 1 or 2 percent,” said Stacey Anfindsen, a Cary appraiser who analyzes Triangle MLS data. “That’s not happening.”

Anfindsen said last year was somewhat of an anomaly because the region’s job growth didn’t support the rise in sales that the market experienced.

“I think that’s what we’re seeing this year,” he said.

The number of homes on the market rose 1 percent in April, the first time since December 2010 that the Triangle has experienced a year-over-year gain in the number of homes for sale. The slight increase was driven largely by an increase in new homes for sale.

New home listings were up 23 percent in April compared with the same period a year ago, while existing home listings were down 4 percent. The number of homes for sale in the Triangle is still 38 percent below the level of two years ago.

Inventory levels have been stuck at historically low levels as many homeowners have been reluctant to put their homes up for sale for a variety of reasons. Some owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth or are simply unsatisfied with what buyers are willing to pay.

Also factoring into the shortage is that new home construction, while ramping up in the Triangle, is still below normal levels. New home listings have historically accounted for about a third of the inventory on the market in the Triangle at any given time. They now account for 20.5 percent, according to MLS.

The average sales price of the homes that sold in April was $248,600, up 3 percent compared with the same month last year.

Bracken: 919-829-4548

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