Market watchers say the data signifies a major turning point in the local housing economy.
In the Triangle, 2,009 homes were sold in October compared to 1,709 homes sold the same month the year prior, according to Triangle Multiple Listing Service. Triangle MLS tracks new and existing home sales data in Wake, Durham, Orange and Johnston counties.
The dollar volume of homes sold last month also grew, by 8.3 percent, to $441.8 million in October compared to $407.9 million in homes sold the year prior. That’s the first gain in sales volume since October 2008, says residential real estate analyst Stacey Anfindsen.
“We’ve hit the floor, and at least we know how low we can go – hopefully -- and operate our business off of that,” Anfindsen says.
Anfindsen gave two reasons the market improved. First, the federal $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit program, which expires at the end of November, helped convince many buyers who were on the fence to take the plunge. The federal government since has instituted another tax credit program that offers a $6,500 tax break to qualified homeowners looking to move up to middle-market homes that cost no more than $800,000.
Second, home sales in the Triangle started their free-fall in late 2008, so the market today is in comparison to one of the slowest housing markets in decades.
“October, November and December should be really good because everything kind of shut down this time last year,” Anfindsen says. “We’ll probably see the market grow 5 to 10 percent and have nice comparisons until about February when we will see it start to normalize.”
All is not well, though. The average Triangle home sale price was down by 8 percent in October compared to October 2008, and it took four more days on market to sell than the year prior. But the inventory of homes for sale also declined, by 13 percent, and the number of new listings including Raleigh real estate declined by 2.5 percent, meaning there is less competition for the homes on the market for sale.
In Wake County, 1,141 homes sold in October compared to 967 home sales the year before, which is an 18 percent increase. Total dollar volume of homes sold in the county was $270 million, which was up by 5.5 percent from the year prior.
In Durham County, 269 homes sold in October compared to 210 homes sold the year before, which is a 28 percent increase. Total dollar volume of homes sold in the county was $52 million, which was up by 23.4 percent from the year prior.
In Orange County, 91 homes sold in October compared to 62 homes sold the year before, or a 47 percent increase. The total dollar volume of homes sold in the county was $28.3 million, which was up 43 percent from the year prior.
In Johnston County, 193 homes sold in October compared to 176 homes the year before, or a 9.7 percent increase. Total dollar volume of homes sold in the county was $32 million, which was up by 5 percent from the year prior.