Tag Archives: Triangle NC

Has the Triangle’s housing market plateaued?

The triangle has enjoyed years of growing home sales and new home construction, but third quarter numbers from a real estate data company provide further evidence that those trends could be slowing.

While the number of new homes that sold from August to October continued to surpass last year, new home construction, also known as home starts, was flat, according to Metrostudy.   “The word of the day is ‘plateau,’” says Amanda Hoyle, Metrostudy’s Raleigh-Durham director.

The report adds to the evidence that the third quarter was a rough stretch for the Triangle housing market. Last month, a report from appraiser Stacey Anfindsen found that the number of homes listed on the market and the number of pending home sales actually dropped in the third quarter.

The reports differ because Metrostudy only looks at new homes, while Anfindsen includes sales of existing homes in his data. But combined, the third quarter numbers paint a picture of a housing market that could be showing the first signs of a slowdown that has taken hold in other parts of the country.

Housing analysts in the Triangle are quick to point out that Hurricane Florence disrupted the homebuying market for more than a week in September, likely contributing to the lower sales volume.

But the rising cost of homes, coupled with standard 30-year mortgage interest rates approaching 5 percent, could be dampening buyer enthusiasm, according to some analysts and homebuilders.

“Our third quarter was quite a bit off,” says Brant Chesson, president of Homes by Dickerson. “Even the buyers we are seeing, they are very reluctant buyers and it takes them a lot to get them over the finish line.” That has translated to buyers being more aggressive in negotiations and, in some cases, people backing out of contracts. That’s not something you usually see.

Rising prices also make it less likely for people to consider moving, because there is no guarantee that a homeowner will be able to cash out of an existing home and get a larger, nicer or better-located home by spending a little more. “There are just not good choices for people to move up,” Chesson says. “I think this pricing pressure has caught up with [the Triangle].”

To make up for potential losses, Hoyle expects homebuilders to start offering more incentives to prospective buyers, such as lower closing costs. Builders may also put more effort toward building at lower prices, but that has been a difficult task in the face of rising land costs and labor prices, builders and analysts say.

But the news isn’t all gloomy. New home closings, excluding resales, were still up nearly 12 percent in the third quarter, and job reports continue to be strong, Hoyle says. And builders continued to be attracted to the Triangle market.

By , Triangle Business Journal

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As the Triangle drifts, a growth tsunami looms

Wake Up Wake County, the advocacy group that promotes careful development in one of the nation’s fastest growing counties, held a seminar last week at WakeMed. It took place in the hospital’s conference center, but maybe it should have been in the Emergency Room. When it comes to growth, the Triangle is in serious condition.

Advocates and county and municipal officials turned out for the seminar titled: “Our future: Growing smart with housing and transit.” The keynote speaker was Chris Zimmerman, an economist and former Arlington County, Va., elected official who is now with the organization Smart Growth America.

Between the slides and hopeful talk of well-designed growth, it was hard to stifle a sense of gloom. Transit boosters, local officials and planners are trying to get ready for the people to come, but the truth is Wake County and the Triangle aren’t ready and may never be.

Wake County alone is projected to add more than 200,000 people in the next 10 years. The Triangle’s overall growth could double that. One doesn’t need to be a sentimentalist clinging to the disappearing, small-city Triangle to look ahead and think, “uh-oh.”

67 people a day

We are already familiar with the oft-repeated statistic that Wake County is growing by 67 people a day. Now the greater Raleigh area has made the cut for the top 20 places where Amazon wants to build its second headquarters. If we win, it will bring growth of truly Amazonian proportions – 50,000 jobs and probably the same number of cars. The jobs will pay well, but also will drive up rents and home prices.

Most experts think the Triangle won’t win the bid because we are still too small and lack a mass-transit system. But Bloomberg News reported last week that North Carolina is in the running for another giant headquarters: Apple. If Apple builds its fourth headquarters in North Carolina, it may well come to the Triangle.

Growth isn’t a bad thing in itself. I was a newcomer once, arriving here in 1991. Wake County has grown by a half million people since then. I’ve seen the changes, most of them good – better stores, restaurants, entertainment and culture.

But now the national economy is soaring and growth here is accelerating faster than it can be accommodated. Wake County and the Triangle are attracting both aspiring millennials and retiring boomers. In between are young families with children adding to a Wake County school system that is growing by more than 2,000 students annually.

Signs of trouble

In the face of this growth there are signs of trouble. The Triangle has failed to create a regional government that can coordinate growth. The Raleigh City Council is at Ground Zero of the boom, but can’t manage to approve such obvious steps as allowing smaller backyard dwellings to increase housing density. And the state is going ahead with plans to complete the 540 Loop in southern Wake County. That 28-mile, $2.2 billion highway extension will fuel sprawl even as the Republican-led General Assembly is sharply limiting its support for light rail.

Zimmerman said growth can’t be stopped, but it can be managed. He said that requires that local officials think far ahead, innovate and move fast. Once the surge is on top of you – when traffic is gridlocked and affordable housing is available only on the far outskirts of a city – it’s too late.

In North Carolina, local responses to growth are limited by state law that gives the legislature final say over such tools as impact fees and affordable housing requirements. Zimmerman said Virginia’s cities face the same restraints, but Arlington worked around them by offering developers more of what they wanted in return for more of what the city needed. Arlington was also able to control growth by concentrating new offices and mid-rise housing around Metro rail stops. Wake County lacks a light rail system, but could concentrate new development around a coming network of rapid transit bus lines.

Transit is a key to smart development, Zimmerman said, but what people young and old want most are “things closer together.” They want to walk, whether from home to work, or restaurant to theater.

“What it really comes down to,” he said, “is walkability.”

What it needs to begin with, on the part of government and residents alike, is urgency and flexibility.

By: NED BARNETT, News & Observer

Ranking the Triangle neighborhoods with highest same-home resale value

In Franklin County’s Lake Royale subdivision, prospective homebuyers can find larger lakefront properties for sale behind the community’s private gates. In Raleigh, at the Harrington Grove neighborhood, home hunters can tour residencies that are just minutes from Research Triangle Park but also a short drive from the city’s restaurants and night life.

Both areas are near the top of the list of Triangle subdivisions that have seen the highest appreciation of resale homes through the first nine months of 2017.

There’s one caveat, however. The analysis looks at houses that were first sold between 2013 and 2016 — and then resold this year through September. The apples-to-apples comparison presents a picture of the market value of the same house over a period of four-plus years.

Residential home sales observers note that examining appreciation for resales of the same homes in specific subdivisions provides a closer and more exact look at how the residential market is changing in some areas. The list is filled with subdivisions near and far, both luxury and starter homes, and paints a picture of the different attributes homebuyers are looking for in the Triangle, especially those who may be new to the area.