Triangle home sales up 2% in second quarter as new home inventory rises

dbracken@newsobserver.comJuly 10, 2014 

Triangle home sales increased 2 percent in the second quarter as the inventory of homes on the market got a big boost from new home listings.

New home listings were up 20 percent for the three-month period ending June 30 compared with the same period last year, Triangle Multiple Listing Services data show. The number of existing homes on the market remained flat, with overall inventory up 4 percent.

Stacey Anfindsen, a Cary appraiser who analyzes MLS data for area real estate agents, said the rise in new home listings may be a sign of softening demand.

“Last year they were just trying to catch up, but now I think that’s related to demand,” he said.

The average days on the market of the active new home listings during the second quarter was 117, up from 71 during the same period a year ago. There were also 275 new home sellers who dropped their list price during the quarter, a 77 percent increase compared with the second quarter of 2013.

Despite the increase in new homes for sale, inventory levels in the Triangle remain at historically low levels. Several areas of the Triangle – North Raleigh, inside the Beltline and Cary, Apex and Morrisville – continue to have an undersupply of housing. Seventeen percent of the existing homes that sold in the quarter did so in 30 days or fewer.

Anfindsen said for the first time ever the Cary/Apex/Morrisville area had zero inventory of single-family housing priced under $150,000. The trend reflects both shifting demographics and rising home values in that part of the Triangle and the unwillingness of owners of homes in that price point to put them up for sale.

With so few existing homes on the market in some areas, finding and putting a property under contract requires both quick action and the cash to outbid competitors.

“It seems more volatile than last year and the lack of inventory is part of it,” said Frank DeRonja, owner of Frank DeRonja Real Estate in Raleigh. “ ... If the listing hits on Friday at 5 p.m. you’ve got to be ready to go out there.”

One of DeRonja’s recent clients found that out firsthand as they looked for a house in the $300,000 range in an active-adult community in west Cary.

“It was their seventh multiple offer and we finally got them a house,” DeRonja said.

There are signs that home prices continue to rise in the Triangle. The average price of the homes that sold in the second quarter was $258,000, up 3 percent compared with the second quarter of 2013. The average price of the homes put under contract during the quarter was even higher, $274,000.

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

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