Triangle home sales were up 3 percent in the third quarter compared with the same period last year, as much of the region continues to deal with a lack of inventory.
The number of homes for sale in the region fell 3 percent in the quarter, Triangle Multiple Listing Services data show. While the number of new homes on the market jumped 15 percent, listings for existing homes fell 8 percent. There are now 7,727 homes for sale in Durham, Johnston, Orange and Wake counties, a 44 percent decline from four years ago.
The exception to the region’s inventory shortage is in Orange County, where a 17 percent drop in closings in September combined with a 19 percent increase in supply has led to an oversupply. The county now has a 10-month supply of homes on the market at the current pace of sales. Ten months or more is considered an oversupply, while three months or less is considered to be an undersupply.
Durham and Wake each have a three-month supply while Johnston has a four-month supply.
The third-quarter numbers continue a sales pattern that has been in place for much of the year. After surging 24 percent last year, demand has leveled off. Sales are up 2 percent through the first nine months of this year compared with the same period last year.
One bright spot is that pending sales in September were up 9 percent. The average price of homes that sold during the quarter also rose 3 percent to $257,300. But there are signs that pricing in some areas of the Triangle may be softening.
The percentage of new home listings that have had at least one price reduction is now 24 percent, up from 17 percent during the same period a year ago.
Stacey Anfindsen, a Cary appraiser who analyzes MLS data for area real estate agents, said a big run-up in the average list price of new homes over the past three years may be a factor. The average list price of new homes is now $367,900, up from $309,800 in 2011.
“That could be where we’re starting to see some of the softness come into it,” Anfindsen said. The average list price for new homes is still well below its peak of $395,000, reached in 2008 before the market crashed.
Anfindsen said the housing recovery has occurred at different speeds in different parts of the Triangle, which makes it hard to make blanket statements about the region.
“I think it’s one of those cases where, regardless of price, there are parts of the Triangle where the new home market is soft and there are parts where it is rocking and rolling,” he said.