Wake County home sales down, but sellers still getting top dollar

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Wednesday, August 24, 2022
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The latest housing data for Wake County shows the number of closed sales is down to the lower number since February, but sellers are still more than their asking prices.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The latest housing data for Wake County shows the number of closed sales is down to the lowest number since February, but sellers are still getting top dollar.

Wake Forest resident Sue Sareno feels blessed how she was able to get into her home.

She rented her place for two years before buying it and was cut a deal in an effort to preserve the neighborhood.

"My landlord was a saint," said Sareno. "There's a lot of investors coming in, buying houses and then renting them, which you want a neighborhood of families"

Others buyers aren't so lucky and are paying premium prices.

Hyperlocal housing data shows the median price in Wake County is higher than the national average.

The median price is $470,000 and that's down by $10,000 in July from June.

Data also shows that 59% of July sales went for above the asking price.

Compass Realtor Danni Dichito said sellers are experiencing a huge shift in another area of the market.

"June's average days on market were six days. July is showing 12 days. So that's almost doubled, which means buyers are taking a little more than a pause," said Dichito.

A Fuquay-Varina resident noticed the changes in her community. A neighbor had to wait a while for the home to go under contract.

"She actually had to reduce the price by $10,000," said Jimena Martinez. "It was sitting for a month, where a year ago there was nothing sitting. Everything was going so quick."

Nationwide home sales also down

Nationally, sales of newly constructed homes fell by 12.6% in July from June and were down 29.6% from a year ago, according to a joint report from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the US Census Bureau. It was the second consecutive month of declines.

Only 511,000 new homes were sold last month, at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, down from a revised 585,000 in June. That's the lowest sales number since January 2016. A year ago, 726,000 newly constructed homes were sold.

Meanwhile, the median price nationally for a new construction home rose to $439,400, up from $402,400 the previous month.

A challenging road ahead

New home sales have been trending lower as prospective buyers see their budgets stretched thin by long construction times, mounting costs and rising mortgage rates. The average interest rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was above 5% for all of July, having risen more than two percentage points since January.

"Sales of new homes continue to crumple under the weight of high prices and higher mortgage rates," said Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union.

As inventories of new homes rise, a pullback in prices is probably coming, Frick said, although there's a limit to how low they can go given the cost of materials, land and labor that get baked into builders' costs.

"Given builders are pulling back plans to construct more homes, we won't be building our way out of the current housing crisis for years," said Frick.

The latest data continues to paint a challenging picture for the US housing market, said John Fish, CEO of Suffolk Construction and chairman of the Real Estate Roundtable.

"While the Federal Reserve attempts to reduce inflation, rising construction and land costs, supply chain disruptions and the labor shortage are contributing to the growing gap between housing demand and supply," he said.

In the short term, Fish said, controlling inflation will be an important step toward improving the housing market and broader economy. But there are structural issues that need to be addressed for a successful economy in the long-term, Fish said, like developing land-use policies that are aligned with federal and local governments, developing more housing, and investing in technologies that will help lower the cost of construction to make development more attractive.

"We're witnessing a housing recession in terms of declining home sales and home building," Lawrence Yun, the chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, said last week after new data showed that existing home sales had fallen for the sixth month in a row. "However, it's not a recession in home prices."

CNN-Wire contributed to this report