Triangle home sales increased 5 percent in October, as a lack of inventory continued to push up prices and reduce the time it takes for many sellers to find a buyer.
There were 2,288 homes sold in Durham, Johnston, Orange and Wake counties last month, Triangle Multiple Listing Services data show. Although the October sales numbers did not equal the double-digit increases that the market frequently recorded earlier in the year, area home sales are still up 10 percent through the first 10 months of the year.
The average days on the market of the homes that sold in October was just 46 days, with 60 percent of the existing homes selling within 30 days.
The total number of homes for sale continues to fall, declining 7 percent compared with October 2014 to 6,742.
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The Triangle market has now recorded 14 straight months of year-over-year inventory declines and 18 straight months of year-over-year sales increases.
John Wood, a Re/Max United agent in Cary, said he’s still trying to figure out how those two trends have continued for so long. By this point, he said, most presumed that rising prices would have enticed more people to put their homes on the market.
One possible explanation for the reluctance is that homeowners looking to move are worried about their ability to find their next home.
“The sellers who want to move locally are scared to put their home on the market until they have some comfort that they’ve got a house to buy,” Wood said. “If they’ve got a good house in the right area that could sell quickly, they could be on the street, so to speak, and we’re seeing that happen.”
Kelly Cobb, a real estate agent with Fonville Morisey in Cary, said she recently had a seller write into a contract that the sale was contingent on their own offer being accepted on another house.
Although Triangle inventory levels are at historic lows, the most acute shortages are for homes priced under $300,000 in the most desirable neighborhoods in places such as Cary, North Raleigh and inside the Beltline.
Other areas of Wake County continue to have plenty of inventory, Wood said.
“There are certain parts of Holly Springs that you can’t keep your home on the market for a week and other parts that are going for months,” he said.
The dynamic of dwindling supply and steady demand is helping to boost overall home prices. The average price of the homes that sold in October was $268,000, up 6 percent from the same period a year ago and 19 percent above the average sales price in October 2011.
Homes that are in a good location and in good condition continue to solicit multiple offers.
Cobb said she listed a client’s 15-year-old house in Apex for $399,000 on Friday. She immediately got four offers, two of which were well over the list price.
“And I just got a back-up offer,” she said. “ ... We’ve got houses but not enough houses.”