Another year of a strong real estate market is in the books with 39,951 homes sold (up 0.2% from 2017). Both the median & average sales price increased for the fifth straight year across the region. In 2018, the average price of a home sold across the Triangle topped $300k while the median price topped out at $266k.
Sellers again saw a decrease in the number of days their home remained on the market in most areas, and on average a home sat on the market for only 30 days in 2018, down 14% from 2017. The price range with the shortest time on market is $137k to $198k; approximately 18 days on the market. Homes priced over $309k exhibited the lengthiest amount of time on the market before being sold - 42 days on average. However, there were more homes sold $309k and up than those under that price point. This shows that while values are increasing, buying power for these homes has increased as well.
One negative aspect of this market is the overall decrease in affordable homes, especially those under $136k. This price segment saw the largest decline in inventory this past year, roughly a 25% drop in segment inventory for sale in 2018. Major cities nationwide are beginning to increase their focus on affordable housing initiatives - and Raleigh is not far behind (Raleigh Affordable Housing).
The good news for home buyers is that inventory is slowly starting to increase across the region. For the first time in almost five years housing inventory had a slight gain, up 2.6% over 2017, at the end of the year. Although this is not a huge jump or an obvious marker of shifting into a buyer’s market, it is a sign that more options are becoming available.
Buyers also saw mortgage rates take a roller coaster ride throughout the year as the economy made steady gains in almost every sector. Rates have cooled off heading into the early part of 2019 but are expected to inch higher throughout the year. Raleigh Mortgage Group has great resources for buyers that will explain how mortgage rates are determined and the right steps for buyers to take when purchasing a home.
New construction is seemingly everywhere as builders are now beginning to catch up with the demand left during the ‘07-’08 downturn. September saw the highest month of new home inventory, just shy of 4,000 homes across the entire region. The top five areas for new construction sales in 2018 were Garner (46.1% of all homes sold), Johnston County (43.6%), Knightdale/Wendell/Zebulon (42.6%), Wake Forest (39.1%) and Chatham County/Hillsborough tying for fifth (33.5%). This market will remain attractive for buyers who are looking into master planned communities or larger neighborhoods.
Looking ahead into 2019 shows steady builder and consumer confidence. Mortgage rates are expected to increase throughout the year but are still well below their historical averages for 30-year fixed rates (Freddie Mac 30-year fixed). As inventory levels increase across the Triangle, housing prices (coupled with slightly rising rates) will begin to settle slightly when compared to recent pricing trends. Moreover, Raleigh and the surrounding areas are still a hotbed for families relocating from outside of North Carolina. This is due in part to the growing cultural scene in Raleigh along with the strong local economy.
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