Area home prices report prompts skepticism

Posted November 9, 2012 5:20 p.m. EST
Updated November 9, 2012 6:47 p.m. EST

— A report from the National Association of Realtors that shows median home prices soaring in Durham and cratering in Raleigh has prompted some skepticism among area real estate agents.

The group reported Wednesday that sales prices were up 14.1 percent in the Durham market in the third quarter, to a median of $190,400. Meanwhile, prices in the Raleigh market were reported to be down 16.1 percent in the Raleigh market during the period, to a median of $188,200.

"This is not an indication of home values," said Phyllis Brookshire, a real estate agent with Allen Tate Realtors and a past president of the Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors.

Brookshire said the quarterly report is an indication of the types of homes being sold.

"It's taking a small snapshot here, when we have data to the contrary," she said. "Median home prices are actually up a little bit, somewhere between 1 and 2.5 percent."

Bram Luknight, the president of the Durham Regional Association of Realtors, also threw cold water on the national report, saying median prices for home sales there are up only about 3 percent.

A spokesman for the National Association of Realtors said there are times when analyzing periods for the same metro area is like comparing apples to oranges. Local real estate agents would have a better understanding of the market, he said.

"The takeaway from the report is it's interesting data to see the country and the real estate market as a whole," Brookshire said. "Rising tides carry all boats. We need the market to be strong."

Nationwide, median sales prices rose 7.6 percent in the third quarter, to a median of $186,100.

Durham resident Jeremy McParlan finds Brookshire's take frustrating.

"We're thinking about potentially making a move, but we want to do it when the time's right," McParlan said, noting that he thought the quarterly report on home prices was a sign he should scout Raleigh for a new house.

"You see the numbers like we're seeing this week, and it's time to sell," he said. "It's not a small gap at all."

Now, he says, he needs to educate himself further about area housing markets.

"Seeing that report kind of made me think we have our answer, and we don't, apparently," he said.