Triangle home sales increased 13 percent in October compared with the same period a year ago as the market showed signs of a strong finish to 2014.
There were 2,176 homes sold in September in Durham, Johnston, Orange and Wake counties, Triangle Multiple Listing Services data show. Pending sales were up 10 percent, the first double-digit increase reported in a month this year.
Through the first 10 months of the year, sales in the Triangle are up 2 percent compared with the same period in 2013.
The jump in sales in October helped further shrink the region’s already low inventory of homes on the market. There were 7,216 homes on the market in October, down 6 percent from the period a year ago and down 45 percent from four years ago.
“I think overall our biggest obstacle is the right inventory – quality inventory – remains limited, especially below $400,000,” said John Wood, a Re/Max United agent in Cary. “But what inventory is hitting the market that’s priced right and in the right condition is really selling quickly.”
The average days on the market of the homes that sold in October was 58, down from 67 days a year ago.
The number of closings in October amounted to 30 percent of the Triangle’s overall inventory. Four years ago October sales accounted for just 8 percent of the total inventory on the market.
Wood noted that in the past such an imbalance in supply and demand would have led to prices skyrocketing. But that hasn’t happened in the Triangle.
While prices have inched up over the past year, the increases haven’t been substantial enough to entice a larger number of sellers to put their homes up for sale. The average sales price of the homes that sold in October was about $250,000, up 1 percent from a year ago.
“There’s been a lot of people staying in houses because their values haven’t recovered from 2008 enough,” said Ed Willer, an agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices York Simpson Underwood Realty in Raleigh. “ ... The economy overall is just not back yet.”
Wood said what’s going on in the housing market now is a reflection of just how deep the recent downturn was for many people.
“I really think that this is the effect of the Great Recession,” Wood said. “We’re going to see more conservatism in what people are willing to do.”
Many would-be buyers in the Triangle also continue to assume that it is a buyer’s market, and are demanding concessions from sellers that many are no longer willing to provide.
“I think we’ve still got some buyers that are struggling to understand that they’re not 100 percent in control of what goes on, what a seller’s going to do for them,” Wood said.
“They just get cast aside,” Willer said of those folks.