Real Estate - Residential

In May, Housing Market Shows Some Gains, Slight Loss In Homes Sold

By Cece Nunn, posted Jun 18, 2024

The number of homes sold in the Wilmington area fell slightly in May compared to the same month last year, while new listings and the median sales price recorded increases, according to Cape Fear Realtors.

Closed sales decreased by nearly 1.4% last month in the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area, falling from 1,152 units sold in May last year to 1,136 this year. New listings rose 11% in May in the MSA, which includes New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties. CFR reported the numbers using statistics from the N.C. Regional Multiple Listing Service. The median sales price jumped nearly 5%, from $405,000 in May 2023 to $425,000 in May. Pending sales were also up in May, rising about 11%.

“Interest rates are the most challenging reasons we are not seeing more sales,” said Tim Milam, CEO of Wilmington-headquartered residential real estate firm Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage. “We do, however, see an upward trend in contracts, and our belief is that consumers do realize the rates in the 6.5%-and-above range are most likely going to be that way for the remainder of 2024.” 

He said 6.5% “is still a ‘historically attractive rate’ when you look at the history of interest rates.  The overall economy is hurting, and I believe the ‘lagging data for the economy’ is finally catching up.”

According to CFR’s report, the average cumulative days on the market rose nearly 13% in May, from 55 to 62. 

Inflation continues to affect real estate.

“Groceries, gas, and consumer goods are simply higher than what consumers are used to, thus creating a little more hesitancy in the market overall,” Milam said.

Some buyers remain on the fence as they wait for expected interest rate drops, he said. 

“I say that because when the rates do decline, there will be much more competition in the market, thus driving prices even higher,” Milam said. “Now is a good time to get in the market and work with a Realtor who will guide you through the many options that may make it more affordable, with less competition of buyers to compete with.”

He expects increasing sales numbers in the months ahead.

“The busiest contracts of the year for us are typically August through October, and we anticipate this year to be a little better than last year,” Milam said. “With the election coming up, that always has some effect; however, we are seeing more homes come on the market. Thus, we expect sales to increase slightly over 2023.”

A statement from CFR said summer is a highly anticipated time in the Wilmington MSA’s market. Amanda Parmer, this year’s CFR president, said she predicts similar real estate trends will continue through the summer as they did during the spring months. According to the statement, the spring market (March-May) for the Wilmington MSA was marked by a steady increase in median sales price, a consistent number of active listings and a heightened number of closed sales compared to the winter months (December-February).

“The Federal Reserve voted on June 12, 2024, to keep its key interest rate unchanged,” Parmer said in an email. “In our current market, most sellers are not willing to give up a lower interest rate to transition into a new home, which perpetuates the unique inventory crunch for the Wilmington MSA.”

CFR’s statistics on the organization’s website include a breakdown by county of the year’s performance so far.

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