Real Estate - Residential

Wilmington Area Home Sales Hit Historic High In January

By Cece Nunn, posted Feb 13, 2017
Home sales in the Wilmington area made history in January, a regional Realtors' group reported Monday.

The total number of units sold last month increased by nearly 41 percent from January 2016, according to a Cape Fear Realtors announcement.

"The figures continue to confirm how active, healthy and robust our real estate market is today," said Neal Johnson, president of Cape Fear Realtors, in a news release. "January 2017 had an incredible record-setting 601 total units sold; this is the highest number we have ever seen in our January history [since numbers began to be reported in 1998], up over 40.75% when compared to January 2016."

Johnson said the fact that this January's numbers "blew last January's out of the water" highlight the level of consumer confidence in the region's economy.

"I think it's a true sign that they're comfortable with how things are going from an economic standpoint," he said.

The numbers are pulled from the N.C. Regional Multiple Listing Service and include home sales in New Hanover, Pender and northern Brunswick counties. Johnson said January ended with a nearly $140 million total volume, a 42 percent increase over last year. The median sales price increased slightly, by 1.7 percent, while the average sales price was up by 1.13 percent.  

January is typically a slower month than December, according to numbers from the past few years. The January statistics this year showed a typical, though not-as-steep, decline from December, with the number of units sold down by more than 19 percent and the median sales price by about 9 percent in a comparison between December 2016 and last month.

In January, the sweet spot when it came to the price ranges of homes in the region remained in the $150,000 to $299,000 range, but the largest number of units under contract and closed and sold were in the $150,000 to $199,000 range, Johnson said.

Cape Fear Realtors on Monday also released a new report that includes separate January comparisons of some sales numbers for each of the three counties.

In New Hanover alone, the median sales price was up by almost 9 percent, to $213,000 compared to $196,000 last year. The median list price had increased over last January by 11.32 percent, to $329,504. The median number of days on the market for homes in New Hanover was down by nearly 19 percent, to 48 days compared to 59 days in January 2016.

"What is also interesting to note is the continued decline in the absorption rate of homes in New Hanover County," Johnson said in Monday's release. "It dropped 28.4% in January 2017 to 3.64 months compared to January 2016 of 5.08 months. In the real estate industry, it is widely considered that anytime the absorption rate drops below five months we are in a Seller’s Market. We have also noticed similar trends for both adjacent counties, Pender and Brunswick."

Brunswick County's absorption rate decreased by nearly 23 percent, from 8.93 months in January 2016 to 6.92 last month, while Pender's declined by nearly 37 percent, from 8.23 to 5.2, according to the Cape Fear Realtors' statistics. 

Cape Fear Realtors regional statistics for January 2017
  Jan. 2016 Jan. 2017 % change
Total units sold 427 601 40.75
Avg. sales price $230,036 $232,638 1.13
Median sales price $194,208 $197,500 1.7
Days on market 104 95 - 9
New listings 897 880 -1.9

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