As the weather warms up across the Charlotte metro area every spring, the residential real estate market does as well. In March, selling prices of single-family residences heated up, but at a relatively modest pace. According to the Carolina Regional Realtor Association, the median selling price of a Charlotte area home in March was $198,000, which represents a price increase of 3.7 percent over March 2015. Zillow projects a further price trend increase of 3.3 percent for 2016.
Pending Sales Trend Up, Inventory Shortfall Remains
What is not heating up is the volume of available inventory. There were just 10,145 Charlotte area homes for sale in March 2016, a dramatic year-over-year decrease from the 14,046 homes for sale in March 2015. Available inventory has decreased 27.8 percent since March 2015.
At the same time, the number of pending sales is up substantially from the previous March. The 4,964 pending sales reported for March 2016 represents a significant 20-percent increase. With inventory low and pending sales up, it is not surprising that the supply of homes for sale now stands at just 2.8-months worth, down 36.4 percent year-over-year.
Many Sellers Enjoy Quick Sales at Close to Desired Prices
As buyers compete for the most attractive properties, sellers are often in a position to get close to what they are asking. This is more true now than ever. Sellers now receive an average of 95.5 percent of the asking price, a further year-over-year increase of 1.0 percent above already high levels.
Sellers also benefit from the fact that, on average, homes are not on the market all that long. In March 2015, Charlotte area homes remained on the market an average of 78 days until they sold. The figure in March of this year is just 69 days, a decrease of 11.5 percent.
Modest Price Increases and Low Interest Rates Good for Buyers
Despite the low levels of inventory, home prices are not rising all that much. This fact, coupled with low mortgage rates, is positive news for buyers. Since the first of the year, mortgage interest rates have continued an overall downward trend. The benchmark 30-year rate is now around 3.8-percent. And, almost half of the mortgage experts that Bankrate.com surveyed on March 31 believe rates will continue their gradual downward slide. This is great news for buyers.
Low interest rates and modest price increases combine to provide many successful buyers with very manageable mortgage payments. Buyers should remain vigilant as attractive new properties appear on the market, so they can move quickly in Charlotte’s competitive residential real estate environment.