Local News

Local Housing Market Holding Its Own

Posted August 16, 2007 6:58 p.m. EDT
Updated August 16, 2007 7:01 p.m. EDT

— New-home construction across the nation continues to crumble, hitting some of its lowest levels in more than a decade.

But local experts say the real estate ceiling is holding somewhat firm in the Triangle. The reason: It never rose to national highs.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the national market for new homes is down nearly 21 percent from last year. But in the Triangle, the decline is much smaller - about half that.

"Last year, we were running at about 100 mph," said Tim Minton, executive vice president with the Homebuilders Association of Raleigh-Wake County. "Now, we are running at 85 mph – but we are still speeding."

North Carolina State University economist Mike Walden credits a growing population following a growing number of education-based jobs in the Triangle.

"We have people wanting to move here because the jobs are here and the jobs are going to be here," Walden said.

In other areas, the population boom that the Triangle is seeing would normally hurt other real estate markets, experts say. But locally, they say, there is plenty of room for growth.

"We didn't have the big price run-ups in houses, because we have a lot more land here," Walden said.

But in Cary, planning director Jeff Ulma says developers are having to move their new projects to the outside walls of the town. There is still enough space, though, to last a while, he said.

"It's a big balancing act," Ulma said. "A lot of our plans look out at least 25 years."

The Triangle could continue to walk in new homes for years to come. On average, home prices continue to rise in the Triangle at about 4 percent.