Local News

Triangle housing market still in 'recovery mode'

Posted April 23, 2010 6:29 p.m. EDT
Updated April 23, 2010 6:40 p.m. EDT

— With more than 18,000 homes for sale throughout the area, real estate agents say they are more optimistic but say the market is still very much in a recovery mode.

According to the latest data from Triangle MLS, which covers real estate listings in 16 area counties, new listings for homes were up nearly 28 percent in March from the same time last year.

Closings during the same time-frame increased nearly 11 percent.

"We're seeing pending sales are up. They have been for quite a while," local ReMAX real estate agent John Wood said. "I think that's proof people are starting to understand where our market is."

But homes are staying on the market longer – 106 days in 2010 compared with 78 days in 2007 – and price listings are down from previous years.

The amount that homes are listed for have dropped from $238,000 in 2008 to $217,000 this year.

"I don't anticipate prices will go up in 2010, but it doesn't look like they're falling much more, if at all," Wood said Thursday.

In 2007, Triangle homes sold for 98 percent of the original list price. Through March of this year, sellers are getting just more than 96 percent.

"Some sellers are going to continue to own their homes for longer, waiting for the market to come back to them," Wood said.

The numbers deal only with the low- to mid-range market. Experts say houses above $500,000 have taken a hit, with prices commonly dropping as much as $100,000.

Nationally, home sales jumped 27 percent last month, bouncing off the previous month's record low and blowing past expectations as better weather and government incentives boosted sales, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

It was the strongest month since last July and the biggest monthly increase in 47 years.

It's still unclear how much, if any, of the recent increase is because of the federal tax credit for new homebuyers, which is set to expire next week.