Local News

Housing permits, closings down, so far, in 2009

Posted May 11, 2009 6:52 p.m. EDT
Updated May 11, 2009 6:57 p.m. EDT

— Numbers released Monday show home closings are down nearly 40 percent over this time last year and that building permits are down nearly 60 percent.

The latest figures from the Market Opportunity Research Enterprises show that for the Raleigh-Durham region, there were 3,898 home closings in the first quarter of 2009; down from 6,238 from the same period in 2008.

There were 1,032 building permits issued in the first quarter of 2009; 2,566 were issued for the same time period in 2008.

"Clearly, there is a pullback when you're looking at the number of permits," said Tim Minton, director of the North Carolina Homebuilder's Association. "There are several factors. One is just the state of the economy itself. Second, from a construction loan standpoint, it's much more difficult now to get a loan."

Real estate agent Rex Osborne said that to sell a home in today's market, agents have to make homes stand out.

Because the market is down, builders are throwing in extra perks to attract home buyers, such as finishing bonus rooms at no extra cost and maintaining lawns, Osborne said.

Minton said that although the market is still not so good for sellers, it's great for buyers.

"Right now, if you want to buy a home or get a great price for a home, right now is the time to buy," he said.

Minton said that because there is less home construction, there are fewer homes on the market and less competition for sellers. That, he said, is what needs to continue to happen to turn the market around.