The Durham, NC residential real estate market showed signs of recovery in the 4th quarter of 2009 after experiencing significant declines over the past two years. Homes sales in Durham County were up 27.8% for the quarter after showing period over period declines in each quarter beginning the second half of 2007. A big reason for this surge in sales, though, was the first time homebuyer tax credit, originally scheduled to expire on November 30, 2009 but extended by Congress through April 30, 2010. Home sales in October and November were up dramatically, but sales in December, after the scheduled expiration, were flat when compared to 2008.
For the year, sales of residential properties in Durham ended down 7.8%. Home sales were down 18.1% through 3 quarters, falling 9.3% in the third quarter when compared to 2008, after declining 15.6% in the second quarter and 33.8% in the first quarter. This follows the calendar year 2008 when sales were down 29.1% when compared to 2007.
Despite soft sales, home prices in Durham have held up relatively well. The average price of homes sold in 2009 was $196,310, flat when compared with 2008 average prices of $196,259, and down only 1.1% from the average sales price of $198,452 recorded in 2007. The median price of homes sold in 2009 was $171,200, also flat compared to 2008 median price of $171,250.
The average price for all homes on the market including resales as of Dec. 31 2009 was $237,159, down 2.6% from $243,462 at the end of 2008. The average price of new homes on the market as of Dec. 31, 2009 was $279,205, down 5.2% from the average price of speculative (new) homes of $294,528 at the end of 2008. A decrease in average list price while the average sold price remained steady indicates sellers have realized they have to compete on price to get their homes sold. Resale homes make up approximately 3/4 of the available inventory of homes.
Slowing sales have created more of a buyers' market in Durham. The best homes, in terms of location, price and condition, still sell within a reasonable amount of time. With a lower absorption rate for the available inventory of homes, as evidenced by a increase in months in inventory to 7 months as of Dec. 2009 versus 6 months at the end of Dec. 2008, and therefore increased competition in some segments and locations, it is taking longer to move some homes.
Sellers looking to put their home on the market need to understand that they must have the home in tiptop condition and priced correctly. For buyers, this is an excellent time to buy a home as inventory and thus choices are high while interest rates are still near historical lows. Meanwhile home prices in the area have held fairly steady, so there is no need to wait for lower prices that probably won't come.
For additional information on Durham real estate or the Durham community please contact me at 919-536-0323 or by email email@example.com or check me out on the web at www.larrypulley.com.