Charlotte area home sales see early boost

Credit: AP

FILE - In this July 24, 2009 file photo, a pending home sale in Palo Alto, Calif., is shown. Home resales are expected to show a 2.5 percent increase in November, as the housing market received a lift from buyers aiming to close their sales before the original expiration date of a tax credit for first-time homebuyers. Now that the deadline has been extended until April 30, sales are expected to drop significantly during the winter months. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)


by BOBBY SISK / NewsChannel 36 Staff

Posted on March 9, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 9 at 5:41 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- More homes in the Charlotte area are selling and they’re selling for slightly more money as well.

New numbers released Friday by the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association point to an improving housing market.

“A second month of positive housing trends only further confirms that we’re seeing our local market continue to stabilize,” said Realtor Jennifer Frontera, the association’s president.

In February, residential closings increased 21.8 percent compared to February of 2011. In all, 1,614 properties changed hands. Pending contracts are also up nearly 22 percent.

“We’re hearing our members tell us they’re showing more houses. They’re busy, sometimes for the first time in a while,” said Frontera. “They’re writing contracts. They’re selling houses. They’re going to closings which are all positive signs.”

In addition, both the average and median sales prices are up. But here, the gains are slight.

“I feel like prices are stabilizing and even if they go up a little bit or down a little bit, I feel like consistently over the last year we’ve seen that prices have been relatively stable and that is the important factor,” she explained.

The average price in February increased 2.1 percent to $184,775. The median price, which measures trends over time, was up half of one percent to $180,940. Sellers are getting more as well, now at 90.4 percent of original list price.

Overall inventory continues to decline. The region now has an 8.9-month supply, compared to a nearly 12.5-month supply in February 2011.

Typically, the spring housing market picks up in March or April. The busy start to 2012 is encouraging, said Frontera.

“We’re seeing that in January and February and we are just now getting into spring market, so that is a good sign that we’re going to have an even stronger spring.”