Despite a dwindling supply of inventory, the Triangle housing market posted a 10 percent increase in sales in 2015.
The increase marked the fourth consecutive year of annual sales growth in Durham, Johnston, Orange and Wake counties, Triangle Multiple Listing Services data show. Year-over-year sales surged 23 percent in 2012, 24 percent in 2013 and were up 4 percent in 2014.
The boost in activity in 2015 came as the number of homes listed for sale continued to fall. There were 5,384 homes on the market at the end of December, down 12 percent from the same period a year ago and off 41 percent from four years ago.
Inventory levels have now fallen for 16 straight months on a year-over-year basis.
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The lack of listings means the region’s housing market enters 2016 facing many of the same questions it did a year ago.
Will homeowners, who have been reluctant to put their homes up for sale, finally wade into the market in large numbers? And will the pace of new home construction, which has been slowly rising over the past year, pick up enough to raise inventory levels?
“It’s the same old song and dance, the lack of inventory at certain price points is really hurting a lot of folks,” said Frank DeRonja, owner of Frank DeRonja Real Estate in Raleigh.
Inventory shortages are particularly acute for homes priced under $300,000, and extend to even higher price points in some of the Triangle’s most desirable neighborhoods, he said.
The lack of supply is helping to boost prices, which in turn should lure more sellers into the market at some point. The average price of the homes that sold last year was $268,500, up 5 percent.
It’s also shortening the time it takes for homes to sell. The average days on the market of the Triangle homes that sold in 2015 was 52 days, down from 61 days in 2014. Last year, 59 percent of existing homes sold within 30 days compared with 49 percent in 2014.
One of the more perplexing characteristics of the Triangle market continues to be the frequency at which sellers are offering financial concessions.
While bidding wars for well-priced homes in good locations were not unusual in 2015, financial concessions were offered on 67 percent of all sales completed last year, up from 51 percent in 2014.