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Charlotte market sees jump in home sales

The Charlotte housing market ended 2017 with just a 2-month supply of homes for sale — an inventory issue that continued to plague the region through all of last year.

Although the area’s level of housing stock never exceeded a 2.6-month supply in 2017, sales throughout the year rose 5.9% to total 47,353 compared to 44,734 closings in 2016 as demand held strong, according to the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association’s year-end report, which is based on Carolina Multiple Listing Services data. The national inventory level is hovering at about a 4.6-month supply — still below the 6-month level that is deemed a balanced market between buyers and sellers.

Local sales activity, however, ended the last month of 2017 down 8.4% over the previous year. Just more than 3,400 residential properties sold in December versus 3,720 in the same month of 2016.

“Even though sales declined in December, it’s reassuring to see overall sales and contracts for the year outpace 2016 sales, especially given the inventory shortages we faced in 2017 and expect to continue into 2018,” said Jason Gentry, the association’s 2018 president, in the report. “Looking ahead, buyers will continue to face the same headwinds of limited inventory for homes priced below $300,000, as well as price increases, faster days on market and the possibility of rising mortgage rates.”

“However, positive job growth over the last year and a healthy local economy continue to boost consumer spending and housing demand from young professionals, which should help sales remain steady throughout 2018.”

The trend of rising home prices in the Charlotte market also continued in 2017, according to the association’s report.

The year ended with homes selling for an average $272,900, up 5.8% from 2016. And the median sales price rose 9.2% to $226,000.

The number of local homes under contract for the entire year of 2017 also increased: up 6.3% to 48,100. New residential listings jumped by an annual 5% to 58,378.

Homes sold faster in 2017, spending an average of 45 days on the market.

Earlier this week, Charlotte’s housing market was projected as one of the “hottest” in 2018 by Zillow. Charlotte landed at fourth on the list, which took into account several factors such as home value and rent forecasts, income estimates, population growth, current unemployment rates and data on job openings.

Here’s a look at how local sales have changed over the past year:

December 2017: down 8.4% from a year ago

November: up 2.9%

October: up 2.6%

September: down 7.8%

August: down 3.8%

July: up 3.1%

June: down 3.8%

May: down 0.3%

April: down 6.3%

February: up 0.5%

January: up 14.8%

December 2016: up 4.5%

By   –  Associate Editor/Online, Charlotte Business Journal