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New Residents With High Salaries Fueling Explosion In Expensive Triangle Homes

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RALEIGH, N.C. — It seems new residents are moving to the Triangle daily by the bus load: In the first four months of this year, Triangle real estate agents closed deals on 8,734 homes.

During the same period last year, the number was just over 7,500, which is a 15.5 percent increase.

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Many of the buyers have fat wallets and that is leading to an explosion in big, expensive homes.

Willie "Lightning" Simon has been delivering bricks to construction sites in Wake County for some 40 years -- and he can't believe the changes he's seen.

"Fifteen years ago I never imagined Wake County would be like this," Simon said. "I say, 'My goodness, where's all these people coming from?' "

They're apparently coming from other states and locals are buying up -- spending big money on homes.

"Its directly related to the incomes in our market and the people who are moving here and the jobs being created here," said home appraiser Stacey Anfindsen. "We're creating jobs at $75,000 to $100,000 (salaries) per year. They're gonna buy a $400,000, $500,000, $600,000 house."

Anfindsen conducted a study that found an explosion in housing priced above $400,000 in the Triangle.

That number of homes has grown 61 percent since 2003, with the majority of percentage growth in the past year.

"It keeps us very busy," said Rochelle McCoy, a real estate agent. "I think it's a very positive move towards (price) appreciation in the area. We're moving very rapidly."

Experts say as long as the big, expensive houses keep getting built they don't see any end to the rise in housing prices. Three places people want to live in this market are North Raleigh, Cary and inside the beltline.

The amount of vacant land for development is shrinking there and as that shrinks the price of the land goes up and when price of land goes up the housing on it has got to go up too.

Anfindsen thinks houses priced below $100,000 will soon become a thing of the past. His study reveals that price point has the least amount of inventory, about 6 percent.

That puts the Triangle in the company of cities like Atlanta and Dallas.

In New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, only 1 percent of the homes are priced under $100,000.

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