The real estate market in Chapel Hill and Orange County showed dramatic improvement in the fourth quarter with sales up 46.1% when compared to 2008. Much of this increase is attributable to the federal first time homeowner tax credit which was scheduled to expire November 30 before Congress extended and enhanced the program to include existing homeowners. This is evidenced by the fact that November 2009 home sales were more than double sales in November 2008, while in December closed sales were up only 6.7%.
For calendar year 2009, home sales in Orange County ended down 10.6%. Sales through the first three quarters of 2009 were down 22% from 2008, after falling 28% for calender year 2008 when compared to 2007.
The average price of Orange County homes sold in 2009 was $317,847, down 1.2% as compared to 2008. For Chapel Hill-Carrboro, the average sales price for 2009 was $371,431 down 1.6% from $377,549 in 2008. Average sales price in all of Orange County for 2008 was $322,477, down 5.9% from 2007 figures of $342,740.
The average prices of sold homes in Chapel Hill and Orange County was still well above the average sold prices in 2009 of $196,310 in Durham County and $243,516 in Wake County (Raleigh/Cary), the other two primary counties comprising the Triangle region.
The median price of homes sold in Orange County for 2009 was $258,000, up 1.2% from 2008. The median price of Chapel Hill-Carrboro homes closed in 2009 was $308,000. up 2.7% from 2008. The median price of sold homes in calendar year 2008 was $255,000, up 7.6% from 2007. These numbers indicate prices of smaller homes are holding up very well
The demand for homes in Chapel Hill and Orange County priced under $300,000 is still quite high, putting a floor on the price of homes in the area, but economic conditions have forced builders and sellers of more expensive homes to negotiate a little more as the percent of original list price received by the seller dropped from $97.2% to 96.7% in Chapel Hill-Carrboro. It appears though that builders are raising prices again as the average price of newly constructed homes on the market rose 8.5% from Dec. 2008 to Dec. 2009 (see below).
For the entirety of Orange county the average price of all homes on the market as of December 31, 2009 was $460,173 versus $453,388 at the end of 2008, a 1.5% increase, while the average price of new homes on the market was $578,418 as compared to $532,997 at the end of December 2008, an increase of 8.5%. The December 2008 average price represented an increase of only 0.3% from average prices of $452,184 at the end of December 2007.
Inventory of available Orange County homes in all price ranges stood at 8 months as of December 31, 2009, with available homes up 5% from Dec. 2008. Inventory of homes priced under $300,000 was only 6 months, though. Inventory of homes in all price ranges in Orange County was at 7 months at the end of 2008. Orange County had only a five month supply of homes at the end of December 2007 The number of speculative (new) homes on the market in Orange County as of Dec. 31, 2009 had fallen to 164, down from 194 a year earlier, a decrease of 14% as new home builders reduced their standing inventory.
In summary, after months decreasing sales, the real estate market in Chapel Hill and Orange County rebounded nicely in the fourth quarter. Inventory levels are still high compared to levels at the end of 2007 and prior years, particularly in homes priced above $400,000 so we'll have to wait and see if builders are able to sustain recent price increases in the coming months.
If you are interested in purchasing a home in Chapel Hill or Orange County in the near future, now seems to be a great time while interest rates are still low and inventory relatively high. Home prices might be higher in Chapel Hill and Orange County compared to the rest of the Triangle but the desirability of the school system and the lure of the college environment make Chapel Hill an appealing choice for many executives, professionals, and retirees relocating to the Triangle area. They don't call Chapel Hill the "Southern Part of Heaven" for nothing.
For additional information on Durham real estate or the Durham community please contact me at 919-536-0323 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org or check me out on the web at www.larrypulley.com.