Local News

Housing Market Worsens in Triangle

Posted October 22, 2007
Updated October 23, 2007

— There were more signs Monday that the national housing slump has hit the Triangle.

According to the North Carolina Association of Realtors, sales of existing homes dropped 24 percent for the month of September compared with the same period last year.

The slump has hit high-priced neighborhoods the hardest.

“In certain price ranges, we're seeing quite a lot of stagnation,” real estate agent Gilbert Hensgen said.

Hensgen added that not only are sales slowing, but the market has become more competitive, with an overflow of listings in certain neighborhoods.

“I've actually turned more pessimistic about the economy in the next six months. I think these numbers show the real estate slump has really hit the Triangle,” N.C. State economist Mike Walden said.

Walden said the Triangle real estate market traditionally has been steady, but the recent sales drop argues against that. He said he has worried the decline would spread to other sectors of the economy.

“We're in for a very tight six to nine months," Walden said.

So far, overall home prices haven't suffered that much. The median price of a Triangle home jumped 6 percent from $229,000 to over $242,000.

“Buyers are being very smart with picking and choosing and making sure they're priced right. And not everyone is pricing them right,” Hensgen said.

While Triangle sales are off, it could be a lot worse. It takes an average 73 days to sell a home in the Triangle, compared with a national average of nearly 120 days.

Across the state, 9,267 homes were sold in September. Total sales for the month were $2,113,546,343, and the average existing home price was up 8 percent from a year ago, to $228,072.

Jacksonville remained the municipality least affected by the housing downturn, with an 8 percent sales increase, followed by Wilson with a 6 percent increase.

Coastal areas improved, with the Outer Banks and Greenville posting 2 percent and 1 percent increases in sales, respectively.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • dogmama Oct 23, 2007

    All you have to do is look at what happened with housing in Southern California and Dallas. Too much building, too fast, and you get a housing slump.

  • seeingthru Oct 23, 2007

    GOOD it needs to stop altogether and has for a long time now!!

  • elcid89 Oct 23, 2007

    "That makes for one massive bubble...its going to take YEARS of price drops to let the air out of this one. Buy a home now...Lose you shirt later!"

    LOL, not exactly. Have a look at Southern California and what happened there in the last bubble. Some areas had homes losing 50% of their value in a period of 6 months to a year. People simply walked away from mortgages they were never going to get out from under.

  • Gatsby Oct 23, 2007

    "Real estate values went up 200-300% over a 5 year period begining aroun 2000."

    That makes for one massive bubble...its going to take YEARS of price drops to let the air out of this one. Buy a home now...Lose you shirt later!

  • wakemom Oct 23, 2007

    the real problem here is the pricing. this is still hot area of the country right now to live in.

  • TheWB Oct 23, 2007

    "We as a state have gone from a US ranking of #36 in total tax burden from local/state taxes in 2000, to #19 this year. The bargain NC used to be is disappearing quickly in total tax burden."

    So, let's keep electing those spendocrats into office election after election reap what you sow, ya know.

  • elcid89 Oct 23, 2007

    ""I view this all as a "correction" in the loan industry which ultimately shows up in home sales."

    That is no doubt the biggest cause, but we'll see what else is driving this change eventually. The increased tax burden NC has imposed on residents isn't helping either."

    The correction is more aptly placed in the home pricing figures. Home prices have outpaced wage growth for years, and that is simply not sustainable because it results in (and depends on) people willing to flip houses over for profit in order to preserve the artificially inflated values. Those values are now being corrected to reflect reality, and I suspect there's more of it ahead of us than behind us. The lumber industries (which typically lead a recession by 6 months to a year) are already in crisis state and are battening down the hatches, laying off workers and trying to weather the storm. Expect the larger economy to begin to reflect that in the next few quarters.

  • jimbo56 Oct 23, 2007

    I am late to the game, for sure, but a few comments have ruffled my feathers. National housing slump. Fact; in the majority of the East Coast, real estate values went up 200-300% over a 5 year period begining aroun 2000. The current slump is not the result of sub-prime lending, but rather a market that became artificially inflated. Income and inflation didn't keep pace with rising prices. It's just easier to blame someone else for poor decisions.

    Secondly, Ray-Ray from Napa, to some degree your argument is correct. However, in a market of increasing prices, demand outweighs supply. In these instance, which existed on the East Coast for the past five years, it mattered not what a house looked like, just location. In a declining market, other factors come into play.

  • Gatsby Oct 23, 2007

    Ever notice how these real estate stories that paint the actual picture of housing in the triangle don't stay on the front page long?

    Why is that? Its a hot topic and something that effects us all but they barely give viewers time to see them like its goning to make the bubble go away...funny

  • Nancy Oct 23, 2007

    TheCommentor - and it's very true that in 7 years, our local and state tax liability has dramatically increased, no matter how you choose to ignore those numbers.

    The link I provided last wasn't Americans for Prosperity - but you chose to ignore that one?

    If you're happy with the higher tax burden, I'm happy for you.

    The majority in NC are not.