As we ring in the New Year, Charlotte’s real estate trends point to a market that continues to stabilize. Price changes are modest, and mortgage interest rates remain low.
Although the holiday season is traditionally a slower time in the market, seasonal fluctuations in the market are responsible only up to a point. Comparisons of one December to the next minimize the impact of this variable.
Modest Price Movement
December’s trends suggest some good news for Charlotte area home buyers. The median sales price of a single-family home in December was $190,000, a modest 2.8 percent increase year-over-year. Despite the fact that buyers are competing for properties in relatively short supply, the prices being paid are close to those of a year ago. Since mortgage interest rates are still quite low, buyers that find the homes they like often enjoy an attractive combination of modest prices and low interest rates.
Prices Soft Among Larger Homes
For prospective buyers of larger homes, there’s more good news. Trulia’s breakdown of median sales prices for the last three months suggests relative weakness in the selling prices of larger three and four-bedroom residences. One bedroom selling prices are up 5.2 percent and two-bedroom prices are up 4.2 percent. By contrast, Trulia reports that the three-bedroom median selling price has actually declined 4.5 percent year-over-year, while the four-bedroom price has dropped 20.5 percent. Buyers looking at larger residences may want to seize the opportunity these figures represent.
More Sellers Needed
There are many ways to illustrate the ongoing shortage of homes for sale in the greater Charlotte area. For example, in December 2014, there were 13,782 homes for sale, according to the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association. Twelve months later, the number of homes for sale had dropped 24.2 percent to 10,445. Prospective buyers had 3,300 fewer homes to consider than one year earlier.
The number of new listings suggests that this trend will continue in the near-term. There were 2,396 new listings in December 2015, a decrease of 11.7 percent year-over-year. There is now only a 3-month supply of inventory in the Charlotte residential real estate market, a decline of 33.3 percent from the already low levels of one year ago.
Average Seller Gets Close to Asking Price
When homes do come on the market, they are often snapped up by eager buyers. The average days on the market decreased by 16 percent year-over-year. On average, a home is sold just 64 days after being listed. As a result, sellers are often in a position to resist lower offers. In fact, an average seller received 95 percent of his/her asking price in December 2015. This is even higher than the 93.8 percent average attained in December 2014.
As 2016 gets underway, it remains to be seen whether average selling prices for larger homes will rebound. Buyers begin the New Year with an opportunity to score good buys financed at very modest interest rates.