Orange County (Chapel Hill) NC-Market Update for Qtr Ending 3/31/2010

By
Real Estate Agent with Fonville Morisey Realty

Closed home sales in the first quarter of 2010 were up 13.7% over the same period in 2009. Home showings were also up for the quarter with an increase of 17.4% versus first quarter 2009. The average sales price of homes in Orange County for the quarter was $349,290, down 19.8% from 2009. The median sales price of homes sold in the first quarter was down 21.1% from $360,000 to $284,000.

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 was undoubtedly 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.

Despite a strong 4th quarter, home sales in Orange County NC ended the year down 10.6%. Sales through September 2009 were down 22% from 2008. Sales for calendar year 2008 were down 28% when compared to 2007.

The average price of all Orange County homes sold in 2009 was $317,847, down 1.2% as compared to 2008. For Chapel Hill-Carrboro, the average sales price through December 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. (Source-Triangle MLS)

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. (Source-Triangle MLS)

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 (Source-Triangle MLS)

The demand for homes in Chapel Hill and Orange County priced under $300,000 is still high, putting a floor on the price of homes in the area, but economic conditions and slow sales are forcing 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 in 2009.

Inventory of available Orange County homes in all price ranges stood at 19 months as of March 31, 2010, up from 8 months in inventory at the end of December. Inventory of homes priced under $300,000 was at 10 months at the end of March. Inventory of homes in all price ranges at stood 7 months at the end of 2008. (Source-Triangle MLS)

For the entirety of Orange county the average price of all homes on the market as of March 31, 2010 was $454,537 versus $476,079 at the end of March 2009, a 4.5% decrease, while the average price of new homes on the market was $574,293 as compared to $617,781 at the end of March 2009, an decrease of 7%.

The average days on the market for sold homes in Orange County in the first quarter was 125 days, the same as the first quarter of 2009. (Source-Triangle Multiple Listing Service)

 

Local Economy-

The unemployment rate for Orange County stood at 5.9% at the end of April 2010, an improvement from 6.2% at the end of December and the high of 7.1% in July 2009. Orange County gained 1,646 workers in the first quarter after losing 2,980 workers during calendar 2009. The unemployment rate in Orange County was 4.8% at the end of December 2008, and only 2.9% at the end of December 2007.

The statewide seasonably adjusted unemployment rate for N.C. was at 10.8% at the end of April while the national unemployment rate stood at 9.7%. (Source- Employment Security Commission of NC) While the employment picture in Orange County worsened over the past couple of years, the local economy is showing signs of life and is in a much better position than the rest of the state or the nation as a whole. This is primarily because education and health care are the primary industries of Chapel Hill.

In summary, after months decreasing sales, the real estate market in Chapel Hill and Orange County continues to improve after rebounding nicely in the fourth quarter. Inventory levels are still high compared to levels at the end of 2007 and average and median sold prices have dropped dramatically. The cause of the drop is primarily that the federal homebuyer tax credits stimulated sales in the lower price ranges, but not the upper price ranges. Two plus years of diminishing sales has put downward pressure on all prices though, so with interest rates still near historic lows it's a great time to by a home in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Orange County!

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 the market in the Chapel Hill and surrounding area or to discuss buying or selling real estate in Orange County, please contact me at 919-536-0323 or send me an email to larry@larrypulley.com. Thanks and I look forward to assisting you.

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