HOLLY SPRINGS - Carol Perriccil thinks her home in Holly Springs will sell quickly – and she figures she better move fast, before the competition arrives.
“I live on a golf course, but they’ve got new houses on the golf course,” she said. In fact, there are new homes all over town.
Real-estate data shows that western Wake County is picking up new construction faster than the Triangle on average, and southwest Wake in particular is seeing a sharp increase in residential construction this year. So, while real-estate agents are optimistic about improving sales and declining inventories of homes new and old, resellers like Perriccil may face more competition as a boom of new houses finishes construction this year.
“It’s still very much a buyer’s market,” said Stacy Anfindsen, a Cary appraiser. “An (existing) house has to have everything that a new home would have, and if it doesn’t it will sit.”
The stretch of towns from Morrisville to Fuquay-Varina saw 35 percent more home starts in the second quarter of 2012 compared to last year; the Triangle as a whole saw a smaller gain of 25 percent. Of those towns, it’s Holly Springs, Apex, and to some extent Fuquay-Varina that are seeing the fastest acceleration, compared to their numbers last year, said Jay Colvin, director of Raleigh’s Metrostudy.
It’s a response, market watchers say, to the shrinking supply of Wake County homes available for purchase. The number of homes available across Wake County has declined by about a third since last year, and smaller towns such as Holly Springs and Apex have land ready for new housing, according to Colvin.
For example, while the much-larger Cary is seeing more new houses in total, Holly Springs’ growth is seeing faster acceleration this year. Cary issued 10 percent more construction permits in the most recent quarter compared to last year; in that same period, Holly Springs saw 35 percent more residential construction year-over-year.
“Cary and Morrisville, people still want to live there, it’s still a really high-demand area, but it’s just that the amount of land and available neighborhoods are constrained by land costs,” Colvin said. “It’s pushing some (new houses) down to Holly Springs and the Apex area.”
Holly Springs is seeing single-family growth at five-year highs, according to town staff. This year’s local home construction already has passed the total from all of 2011, and it may match 2006 levels by year’s end, staff said.
“But that might not be great news for resellers,” said Stu Barnes, owner of Barnes McQuade Realty in Holly Springs. “A lot of people are buying new construction for the same or a little less” than resold homes, he said.
Despite the increased competition from new houses, though, Barnes has seen some good news for resellers in Holly Springs. In total, the number of used houses on the Triangle market has dropped 25 percent since last year, while real-estate agents have reported more interest in their properties. Regionally, houses aren’t selling quicker, and prices are still dropping slightly, but buyers and sellers are steadily inking deals.
“In the past two and a half months, there’s been an uptick in showings,” Barnes said. “A lot of Realtors have been saying this, crossing their fingers.”
Anfindsen, the Cary appraiser, told The News & Observer that the market appears to be settling into a new normal after several years of fluctuating sales levels linked to the influence of the federal tax credits
“The new-home inventory has gone down dramatically, so I think resales have become even more desirable,” said Brenda Carroll, a real-estate firm owner in west Cary. “I think that a lot of people have gotten tired of waiting, and with the low interest rates they’re taking advantage of the opportunity to jump in.”
But to compete with new homes coming online, she tells her clients, existing homes will need to match all the features of a fresh piece of real-estate. Carol Perriccil, who’s putting her home back on the market this week, is doing it all for a photo-perfect showing, down to the new faucets.
“I’m cautious by nature, so it’s still unnerving,” she said. “But I have a feeling like this is going to work.”