April housing sales up 4% in N.C., 2.9% nationally

Posted May 27, 2009

— Sales of previously occupied homes rose modestly from March to April as buyers who were brave enough to dive into the market took advantage of prices that were 15.4 percent below year-ago levels.

In North Carolina, sales increased 4 percent in April from March, according to the North Carolina Association of REALTORS.

However, sales were 26 percent less from one year earlier, and prices fell 9 percent to an average of $193,837.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that home sales rose 2.9 percent to an annual rate of 4.68 million last month, from a downwardly revised pace of 4.55 million in March.

In the Triangle area, where statistics include new and existing home sales, tarnsactions improved 6 percent in April from March. Prices were 9 percent lower from a year ago at an average of $207,562.

Month-to-month sales also increased in Fayetteville (4 percent) and Pinehurst (27 percent) but dropped 24 percent in Goldsboro and remained flat in Rocky Mount.

The national results slightly beat economists' forecasts. Sales had been expected to rise to an annual pace of 4.66 million units, according to Thomson Reuters.

The median sales price plunged to $170,200, down from $201,300 in the same month last year. That was the second-largest price drop on record after January, when prices fell 17.5 percent.

The number of unsold homes on the market at the end of April rose almost 9 percent from a month earlier to nearly 4 million. That's a 10-month supply at the current sales pace.

"We still need a continuing and consistent rise in home sales to get the inventory down," said Lawrence Yun, the group's chief economist. Only then, economists say, will prices stabilize and eventually recover.

Another big problem, Yun noted, is the lack of activity at the higher-end of the housing market, among properties priced at $750,000 or higher.

Interest rates are much higher for loans above $730,000 that cannot be purchased by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. And that's sapping demand for expensive properties.

"It's just stalled. completely stalled," Yun said. The Realtors group is pushing for the Federal Reserve to start buying up those loans, even if they are not backed by Fannie and Freddie. It also wants the higher loan limits to apply to the whole country, not just expensive areas like California and New York.


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  • winonedog May 27, 2009

    "Hey Shaleen, we remember how we got here! You delusional republicans drove the economy into the ground!!!!!" nerdlywehunt

    How did they do it?

  • nerdlywehunt May 27, 2009

    Hey Shaleen, we remember how we got here! You delusional republicans drove the economy into the ground!!!!!

  • nerdlywehunt May 27, 2009

    Down 15% I though the board of realtors said prices were holding steady at -3%. More lies from the real estate thieves!!!!!!

  • miketroll3572 May 27, 2009

    I hope shaleen comes back and reads these posts cause she needs the education.

  • winonedog May 27, 2009

    if Bush was in office, the article would have read "Home sales down 26% from last April". with Obama in office thing are looking up. if you don't print it that way WRAL will not get their reports in the White House. they will be blackballed.

  • chevybelair57sd May 27, 2009

    Funny, Chatham county gets around this by inflating the property values and slightly dropping the rate by a couple pennies to fool the sheeple and still bring in more money every 4 years. They raised my value by 40% this time, not 9% less!! This way nobody has to vote on a tax raise. Seems to me their circumventing some laws? Bah Bah Bah

  • Gatsby May 27, 2009

    "Another big problem, Yun noted, is the lack of activity at the higher-end of the housing market, among properties priced at $750,000 or higher."

    This quote from Larry Yun is the smartest thing I have ever read that came from his NAR purchased wind pipes. A $750K house is a BIG problem because in the real RE world (Not the bubble RE world) even those who could afford that much SF do not want the tax/insurance burden that comes with it unless they can keep it 2 years and flip it for a $200K profit.
    The new reality ...A home is a place to LIVE for the next decade or more, not to use as your personal ATM machine.

    Be very sure you like everything about it before signing those documents because if you decide its not the love nest you thought it was after a year or two you will be short selling out of it.

  • 4tarheels May 27, 2009

    This modest type of growth is what is normal and healthy. The crazy growth of last 15 years was unsustainable and nothing but an example of people borrowing more than they could afford and a housing industry more than willing to accomodate this reckless spending on credit.

  • Caveman93 May 27, 2009

    "However, sales were 26 percent less from one year earlier."

    What they never say is what is sold and what replaces it. I know where I work 2 homes are sold short and we get 3 more foreclosures pending. Do the math. This is going to hurt for a very long time.

  • TeresaBee May 27, 2009

    Staged homes sell faster and for more money. If there are 5 homes on one street for sale, the staged home gets sold first. So important in this stressful time of selling homes.