With housing inventory down, Triangle experts expect prices to go up

Jan. 28, 2013 @ 06:07 PM

A drop in the months of housing supply on the market should cause prices to stabilize in some areas, and increase in others, a real estate expert said  Monday.

Stacey Anfindsen, past-president of the Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors, a residential real estate appraiser and a market analyst, spoke at a meeting of the Greater Chapel Hill Association of Realtors. The meeting was held to provide a 2013 real estate update.

In Orange County, 617 homes were on the market at the end of the quarter, according to Anfindsen’s presentation. That total was down from last year, and down from a peak in 2010. Chatham County’s inventory was down in 2012 year-over-year, and down from a peak in 2009.

For the four Triangle counties of Durham, Orange, Wake and Johnston, the total number of active listings at the end of fourth quarter was down 19 percent to 7,345, according to a fourth-quarter Triangle Multiple Listing Service report edited by Anfindsen. New home inventory levels were down 17 percent, and resale inventory was down 20 percent.

There was a four months supply at the end of the fourth quarter last year for those four counties, according to Anfindsen’s report. That’s down from seven months of supply at the end of 2011.

Orange County overall had a six months supply in 2012. But the county had 11 months of supply for homes priced at $1 million and above, he said.

For Chatham County overall, there was a nine months of supply last year, down from 2009, when the county had 14 months of supply. That’s the first that there has not been an over supply in Chatham County overall in a “long, long time,” he said.

However, he said that seven of 11 price brackets in Chatham County have an oversupply. “It’s still really challenging” for homes priced above $400,000, he said.

Orange County closed sales last year were up 13 percent to 1,277 compared with the prior year, beating 2008 sales. However, the total is still below 2006 and 2007 levels. Chatham County, whose housing market is “beginning to heal,” he said, had 711 closed sales in the year, up 21 percent year-over-year, but down from a 2006 peak of 878.

Pam Davis, an appraiser who also spoke at Monday’s meeting, said she believes inventory declines will help push prices up, if not this year, then next. Davis said that since 2007, most homes have declined in value, with the value of townhomes and condos declining faster than single-family homes.

“Chatham County has seen a huge decline in land values and … prices,” she said, adding that she purchased land in the Chapel Ridge community in Chatham County for about $19,000. She said the previous owner had paid about $135,000 for it in 2006.

“I don’t think there’s very many subdivisions in Chatham County that have gone down that much,” she said. “You do see whole subdivisions in foreclosure, or subdivisions that never really got started. You see one, or two or three houses, and nothing else.”