Friday, November 2, 2007

Chapel Hill with increasing jobs, excellent schools and controlled growth, has fewer homes on the market than other areas of the Triangle

Job growth, attractive schools and a slow-but-steady rate of community development are saving the greater Chapel Hill area from being swamped by the housing crisis that has stymied the rest of the nation.

"The North Carolina market — Chapel Hill included — remains relatively stable, but soft by comparison to the previous six years," Kent said. From 2001 to 2006, North Carolina saw record home sales. Year-to-date, however, the number of North Carolina home sales are down 8 percent. Chapel Hill home sales are down 4 percent.

The average list price for a home in Chapel Hill stands at $469,000, up 4 percent from last year and way above everyone else in the county and the entire Triangle. However, the sold price is up less than 1 percent.

"We want prices to go up but be sustainable," said Stacey Anfindsen, managing partner of Birch Appraisal Group and preparer of the market update for the Greater Chapel Hill Association of Realtors.

The good news is that homes continue to appreciate in North Carolina. According to the market update, comparing the first quarter of 2006 to the first quarter of 2007 the rate for housing appreciation in the United States was 4.3 percent. In North Carolina, it was 7.99 percent. Since January 2005 the average for re-sales in Orange County is 7.54 percent.

The work force in Orange County increased 3.1 percent since May 2006. The large number of newcomers to the area raises the demand for housing near the universities and Research Triangle Park.

Many new employees looking to relocate families come to Chapel Hill because of the schools. During the 2006-07 school year, all schools met their Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Newsweek ranked East Chapel Hill High School 105 in America’s top high schools for 2007.

Currently, there are fewer houses available for sale in Orange County than in nearby counties.

Anfindsen agrees. "Durham and Wake Counties are exploding, but not Orange," he said. That is not to say that Chapel Hill is a no-growth area. The Town Council takes time and careful planning before allowing new building in the area. "The [Chapel Hill] Town Council is very deliberate and thorough," Perry said. "As long as you’re doing something that is a benefit" the town welcomes new growth.

The inventory of homes in Orange County has risen 23 percent, and more are up for sale. In July 2006, 695 houses were listed. In July 2007, 856 homes were listed. A home stayed on the market for an average of 45 days in July 2006. In July 2007 the length was 53 days.

Realtors remain hopeful for the fall market.

No comments: