Area real estate agents report that 2021 was an outstanding year for home sales, with some indicators in record-setting territory.
“Sales prices reached new heights, inventory remained record low, and homes sold in record time, often for well above asking price,” officials with Cape Fear Realtors announced in a news release Wednesday. “Looking ahead, experts anticipate many of the housing market trends of 2021 will continue in 2022 with strong buyer demand and inventory shortages likely to persist.”
December’s listings, like those in other desirable locations across the U.S., continued to shrink, with new listings in the three-county Wilmington market nearly 20% lower than in the same month in 2020.
With fewer single-family homes, townhouses and condominiums on the market, prices were up, Cape Fear Realtors reported.
“Median sales price continued to increase in the double-digit territory . . . throughout the year, ending 2021 with another record-breaking high of $325,000, an increase of 14%,” the release continued. That compared with a national median sales price of $375,000, a year-over-year increase of 10%, according to realtor.com.
The release compared the following December 2021 numbers with those of December 2020 (shown in parentheses):
- Closed sales: 1,160 (1,309)
- Pending sales: 851 (934)
- New listings: 726 (905)
- Days on the market: 33 (65)
- Median sales price: $325,000 ($285,000)
- Months’ supply of inventory: 0.8 (1.8)
“In December, we saw a typical seasonal slowdown in closed and pending sales due to the holiday frenzy. However, buyers were still more active in December than in previous years,” 2022 CFR President Ea Ruth said in the release. “Despite the challenges of rising prices, limited inventory and fast-paced sales, market activity maintained a lively pace throughout 2021 and buyer demand continues as more sellers plan to enter the market."
Ruth said that rising mortgage interest rates likely will not have a major impact on the area market.
“Interest rates are ‘anticipated’ to rise to just under 4% which, for some buyers, may be out of reach, so we may see a slight number of buyers drop-off; however, these rates are still attractive to a majority of buyers and investors that are in the market to purchase in 2022,” she wrote in an email Thursday.
Asked if she believes buyer demand may decline if Covid-19 becomes less of a concern, she acknowledged that the virus led many people to explore their options.
“I do believe that trend will continue at least through 2022,” Ruth said in the email.
Some buyers were from out of state and were indeed looking for a location that offered an enhanced quality of life, she added. But other buyers were local, driven by a desire to upgrade or downsize, depending on their life circumstances.
Were 2021 buyers looking for particular features in Wilmington-area homes?
“In 2021, the home functioned in a way that hadn't been needed previously, such as home office, gym, school, restaurant, etc., leading buyers to look for homes that had additional rooms that suited the whole family and more outdoor space as families spent time in the home together,” Ruth said in the email. “Technology is also becoming much more attractive with smart home devices and touch-less/voice-activated options. Southeastern North Carolina is still a top destination for people due to the pace of life, friendly nature, and our outdoor activities, with easy access to beaches and waterways.”