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Slipping House Sales Build a Buyers' Market

Wake County is feeling the same effects as the rest of the nation, and slumping house sales are affecting prices and making for a buyers' market.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — 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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Bruce Mildwurf, Reporter
Ron Gallagher, Web Editor

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