Triangle home sales rise 18 percent in October

dbracken@newsobserver.comNovember 15, 2013 

Triangle home sales continued to rebound in October, rising 18 percent compared with the same period a year ago.

The double-digit jump in sales coincided with a 10 percent decline in the number of homes on the market. There were 7,639 homes for sale in Durham, Johnston, Orange and Wake counties at the end of October, which translates to a four-month supply of homes at the current pace of sales, Triangle Multiple Listing Services data show.

The average number of days on the market of the homes that sold in October was 67, down from 114 during the same period last year.

The year-over-year monthly increases in the Triangle have been shrinking and should be reduced to the low single digits by the beginning of next year, predicted Stacey Anfindsen, a Cary appraiser who analyzes MLS data for area real estate agents.

“Inventory is just kind of stuck at the level it is,” he said. “New homes are going as fast as they can, we’re getting lower foreclosures, and you still have people trapped by what they paid for” their homes between 2007 and 2010.

Frank DeRonja, owner of Frank DeRonja Real Estate in Raleigh, said it’s still a bifurcated market with some sellers in hot areas – such as Cary, North Raleigh and inside the Beltline – fielding multiple offers, while others are unable to get an offer they’re willing to accept.

“Not every seller is super motivated,” he said. “There’s a lot more uncertainty in how offers will be received.”

After a very strong September, DeRonja said he did notice that activity tapered off some in October.

“Everything seems to be anecdotal in terms of what the cause is,” he said. “Are we seeing seasonality again, or is there something else going on? It’s hard to pin it down.”

Anfindsen said the market is returning to its traditional seasonal patterns, and by most measurements, this October was a strong one. Showings were up 10 percent, and pending sales increased 17 percent. The average price of the homes that sold in October was $250,500, up 7 percent.

“We’re doing better than average from an October standpoint,” Anfindsen said.

One puzzling characteristic of the recovery is that the percentage of existing home sales that include financial concessions by the seller – such as paying some or all of the closing costs – has remained at about 50 percent throughout the year.

Given that inventory levels are so low, Anfindsen said he would have expected fewer concessions than the number being offered now. The historical norm for this region is concessions offered on between 20 and 30 percent of sales.

“To me, it’s illogical that concessions are still being offered,” Anfindsen said.

Bracken: 919-829-4548; Twitter: @brackendavid

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