Tag Archives: wake county

A look at Triangle home prices at 2018 halfway point

Home sale trends continue to deepen throughout the Triangle at the halfway point of the year, with median prices rising 7 percent over last year.

The median price home now tops out at $265,000, up from $248,000 at this time in 2017, according to data tracked by the Triangle Multiple Listing Service.

The price increases come as the home market remains tight across the region. The number of new listings has risen, but only slightly, at just 1.8 percent over this time last year.

Anfindsen’s analysis of only the second quarter found an increase in new listings as well, but the uptick was mostly due to new homes and not the “needed” resale inventory priced under $400,000, according to the TARR report.

Demand for the limited inventory remains strong, with the average number of days a home sat on the market in the Triangle dropping from 37 through June of last year to 31 this year.

The trends aren’t unique to the Triangle. Home prices continue to rise across the country, especially in large metro areas. The trend is being driven by increased demand, fewer homes for sale and more expensive labor and materials costs for new construction.

Nowhere in the Triangle are the price increases as steep as Durham County, where the median sales price has jumped more than 11 percent over last year, rising to from $228,000 to $253,000. Average days on market also remain the lowest in Durham County, where the time it takes a home to sell has sunk from 29 days to 21.

Troubles with low inventory remain in Durham and Wake counties, where the number of new listings is about the same or just below last year. That is not the case on Johnston and Orange counties, where new listings have increased more than 10 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

The Triangle still ranks favorably in housing affordability compared to its peer cities, but that could be changing in the near future. Data analytics firm CoreLogic continues to rank Raleigh and the Durham-Chapel Hill metro area as having housing markets that aren’t over-valued, but the company’s economists believe that could change in the next five years as prices and interest rates rise. “Between house prices rising and mortgage rates going up, the monthly mortgage payment to buy a house rises faster than the monthly income of local residents,” CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft says.

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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

Triangle homes selling at ‘historically’ rapid rate

Home sales in the Triangle’s 16-county region were up nearly 4 percent in October, and the median sales price is 8 percent above the same time period last year. Meanwhile, the average number of days a home stays on the market sunk 10 percent to 44 on the year, compared to 49 at this point in 2016, according to Triangle Multiple Listing Service.

In a separate report for the month of October, appraiser Stacey Anfindsen found that within the four core counties of Wake, Orange, Durham and Chatham, a house stayed on the market for an average of just 36 days.

“That’s historically low,” says Anfindsen, whose publication is titled the Triangle Area Residential Realty report. “It’s gone down in increments. We’re kind of at the bottom of that now.”

While homebuyers are snapping up houses at record rates, housing supply also continues to narrow. In October, the Triangle’s four core counties had an average of two months of housing inventory available. Typically, market equilibrium for inventory is considered to be about 6 months of supply.

In particular, inventory is low for homes under $400,000, and that can stifle sales, Anfindsen says. These trends aren’t new – it’s been this way for the last two years. And they seem to be holding across the board for each of the Triangle’s core counties.

The story is slightly different in Wake County, where home sales inched up 1.5 percent in October and 2.5 percent on the year. Still, the median sale price is up 8.8 percent, at $284,000. In Orange County, home sales are more sluggish. They are down 2 percent on the year, and the median home price dipped slightly, by 0.3 percent, to $306,000.

By , Triangle Business Journal