Prices Up / Sales Down – Market Settling?

Its already the end of February and the spring selling season is just around the corner.  In January we saw single digit temperatures and last week we had one of the largest snow storms our area has seen in years.  Not too surprising that market stats for home sales and pending sales are lower now than they were this time last year.  But how will things shape up for Charlotte real estate this spring?  Will this year be a frenzy just like last year was?  Yesterday, temperatures in Charlotte approached 80 degrees.  As the weather changes quickly, so can the real estate market.  But will it?

This week we’ll be sending out our monthly E-Newsletter announcing our brand new website,  On that site you’ll be able to find the Charlotte market stats that you’ve come to love from us over the past 10 years.  Be sure to bookmark that page for later reference.  Here’s a quick summary of the stats for February as compared to the prior month and again to February last year:

– Home sales are down 16% from last month and 5% from last year.

– Average sales price is down 9% from last month, but up 12% from last year.

– Median sales price is down 7% from last month, but up 8% from last year.

– Average time on market is down 2% from last month and 8% from last year.

– Pending sales are up 15% from last month, but down 11% from last year.

– Supply is up 7% from last month and down 16% from last year.

– Mortgage rates are down to 4.43% from 4.46% last month and up from 3.41% last year.

– The average mortgage payment based on interest rates and average sales price is down 9% from last month, but up 30% from last year.

There are some real mixed signals in the data above.  But in looking closely at the data, much of it makes sense and is a simple case of cause and effect.  Prices are up dramatically which has caused affordabilty to decrease by 30% in a year.  As such, the pace of sales seem to be slowing.  This is just a normal part of a stabilizing market.  Over the past few years, we have seen some dramatic ups and downs.  It is likely that what we are now experiencing is just a basic leveling off of the market back to what we once new as normalcy.

In my own professional opinion, I think 2014 is going to be another good year for real estate in Charlotte, NC.  But I don’t think the statistics going forward will continue to show dramatic price increases.  Sales will level off and so will prices.  Historically and outside of the last 5-10 years, homes have appreciated at a rate of about 3-4% per year.  I believe we are slowly heading back to that as a norm.  Spring is coming and we will soon find out.

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