The number of homes sold in the Wilmington area jumped by more than 27 percent last month compared to March 2016, according to the latest statistics from the Cape Fear Realtors.
CFR's numbers show 893 homes sold in New Hanover, Pender and northern Brunswick counties in March this year, compared to 700 last year. March 2017's total was the highest ever recorded for March in the CFR statistics, which go back to 1998. The second-highest number of units sold in March, according to CFR records, was 842 in March 2005.
The median sales price also increased in March, by nearly 5 percent, rising from about $205,000 to $215,000, CFR's database says.
Quarterly comparisons track with the monthly gains -- the number of units sold during the first quarter of this year rose nearly 24 percent -- 1,663 to 2,062, compared to Q1 last year, the CFR statistics show.
Lisa Mathews, a Realtor and broker with RE/MAX Essential in Wilmington, said home sales in the region typically peak between March and June although August and December can also be busy months.
Looking at her own numbers for the year so far, Mathews said, "It's amazing the difference from the first quarter of 2016 compared to 2017. It was quite the difference, and certainly across the board, I'm seeing at least a 25 percent increase and in some areas even more just because of the demand."
She said while retirees and baby boomers have been coming for years, another demographic has increasingly joined the mix.
"I'm seeing more and more young people who are still in the workforce moving here because more and more people are able to live anywhere they want and work from home," Mathews said. "So they're moving here because they want to be on the coast, and they want to raise their children in the South."
Inventory remains tight at certain price points, particularly in the under $300,000 and under $250,000 ranges. The number of new listings in March barely budged from the same month a year ago, up by just 5, according to CFR's statistics. Meanwhile, the days on market (DOM) figure fell nearly 16 percent in a month-to-month comparison.
Cape Fear Realtors regional statistics for March
|Total units sold
|Avg. sales price
|Median sales price
|Days on market