The traditional Spring season surge in residential real estate activity will soon be underway. The flowering of thousands of trees in the community signal Winter’s inevitable surrender as dogwoods and magnolias bathe Charlotte in long-awaited Spring beauty….and the new growth shows in the area’s housing trends as well.
Modest Increases in Median Selling Prices
In contrast to warming weather, there’s evidence that median selling prices in the greater Charlotte area have cooled off to a degree. For example, February’s median selling price of $182,000 is just 2.2 percent higher than one year ago. By comparison, January prices were 7.8 percent higher than those of January 2015. However, the average selling price in February was $230,943, or 4.2 percent higher than one year ago. The difference between the median and average selling prices often hints at strength in upscale home sales, which skew the average upward. By comparison, January increases in median and average selling prices were very similar.
Strong Uptick in Sales Trends
February statistics compiled by the Carolina Regional Realtor Association show a clear uptick in pending home sales. In February 2015, there were 3,122 pending sales, and this February there were 3,814, an increase of 22.2 percent. Closed sales are up just 1.4 percent, but the surge in pending sales bodes well for the weeks and months to come.
Charlotte’s residential real estate market hungers for adequate inventory, as evidenced by a number of key parameters. Inventory dropped 26.4 percent compared to February 2015, to just 9,935 homes. Last year at this time, there were about 3,500 more homes for sale than there are now. Not surprisingly, there’s only a 2.8-month supply of available, and that’s down by more than 1/3 year-over-year.
This inventory shortage tends to benefit sellers. In January, sellers received an average of 94.7 percent of their asking prices. In February, this already high figure increased to 94.9 percent. Sellers further enjoy the prospect of quick sales. The average home is on the market for only 72 days before it sells, a decrease of 10 percent year-over-year.
Although some buyers would appreciate a greater selection of homes, they still enjoy mortgage rates that refuse to climb to any significant degree. Bankrate.com reports that, as of March 2, the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate stood at 3.82 percent, down six basis points from one month earlier.
As the surge in pending sales results in more closed sales in March and beyond, further evidence of Charlotte’s hot real estate market will accumulate. When desirable listings hit the market, buyers are often ready to snap them up at close to the full asking price. As the Spring selling season unfolds, those that have considered selling should jump in to the market to take advantage of the fact that demand often outstrips supply.