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Slipping House Sales Build a Buyers' Market

Posted January 29, 2008

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— The housing market nationwide is slipping, and Wake County is no exception.

The number of houses sold in December dropped more than 20 percent from the same month a year ago, and it is looking like a buyers market.

James Parker is searching for the right new place to call home.

Right now in Wake County, there are 30 percent more homes for sale than there were at this time last year.

“Our closings in … December were the worst in four years,” real estate agent Terry Aitken said.

Aitken, who is with the Fonville Morisey & Barefoot agency, says that even though so many people are moving to the Triangle area, the national trend is having a direct impact on the local market. Those people cannot sell their houses in the towns they are leaving.

“All the people that can't sell their homes elsewhere” are caught in the middle, Aitken said. “I have clients in that position that can't buy their house yet, but they're looking and they're ready to jump if they get the opportunity.”

Listing prices may not be dropping, Aitken said, but buyers have more leverage and are often able to drive down the price for which homes sell.

“Sellers are having a harder time because there's more competition,” Aitken explained.

In this market, Parker is glad to be on the outside looking in. He says it's all about timing.

“Yes it is, and it's a good thing I'm not selling a house right now,” Parker said.

Last month, for the first time in 2 1/2 and a half years, the average closing price countywide was lower than it was in the same period the year before. The price dropped from $259,000 in December 2006 to $253,000 last month.


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  • Beachnut Jan 30, 2008

    We've seen this coming for at least a year. National builders have been pulling back, selling lots, etc. So why are local builders continuing in their mode of "build it and they will come"? For example, "Rennaisance at Regency" a mega dollar housing development in Cary is building McMansions like it's some kind of competition. There must be about 20 homes complete or nearly complete, yet according to Wake County records, none has closed a sale yet. These are all local custom builders. They are either foolhardy or know something the rest of us don't. Building megabuck homes speculatively in this market just seems like a really bad idea...

  • Handle With Care Jan 30, 2008

    I have a house that has been on the market for 60 days.In the first 6 days we got an offer and the day before closing the buyers loan did not go through.So now my home has lost its "new to the market status" BTY stormy it's a wonderful one story,being so at 30,000 less than tax value. That new tax value is a rip-off! Thanks Wake County for making sure that we get the two things in life that are guaranteed. I think they are trying to make one cause the other!

  • Stormy13 Jan 30, 2008

    Prices are still way to far out of reach for some first time home buyers like myself. Whatever happened to the modest three bdrm, two bath, all on one level home? Why all the mansions?