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Greetings AND Welcome to the 2013 Year in Review;

Here's the six word summary: Sales Up, Prices Up, Inventory Down


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Home Sales
My prediction at the end of 2012 was that we would see another solid increase in home sales in 2013. After all, 2012 was a whopping 28% up from 2011. I did temper my optimism by saying home sales would be up again, but not by over 20%. Sales began with a roaring start and while it tempered some later in the year, this year's sales were up 9% over 2012.
So the past two years, sales have been up 28% and then 9%. The number of homes sold in 2013 is the highest since 2007. Indications are that a lot of the pent up demand that was on the sidelines jumped back in when prices fell. We are still a long way from 2005, when 6500 homes were sold.
My prediction for 2014 is for another solid increase in home sales in 2013. I would suggest a cautiously optimistic figure below 10%.

Home Prices
At the beginning of 2013 I predicted prices would go up 3 - 5% compared to 2012. That was pretty close, average sale prices were up 5% and average sale prices per sq foot were up 6%. The average price per square foot of a sold home in 2012 was $122, and it was up to $129 in 2013. That's the highest number since 2010, when it was $134, and a far cry from 2007, when it was $170.
A lot of the momentum behind prices moving up was the diminishing inventory, especially at lower price points. There was a time this year for several months when people were competing over homes that came on the market for under 200k, because they didn't have options.
Total sales volume for the year was 15% from last year, a big jump but less than the 26% from 2011 - 2012.

I think that prices have definitely stabilized but I don't see them going up quickly. The days of rubber stamped appraisals are over, so explosive price growth could only come from a lot of cash buyers. Still, a continuingly low inventory and fewer foreclosures hitting the market are still pushing prices up. If I had to put a number on it I'd say it will go up 3 - 5% in 2014.

Days on the Market
The average number of days to sell in 2013 fell for the second straight year to 123. Still a long time to sell a house, but the market is definitely improving for sellers.

Inventory is always a driving factor for New Hanover County, because it is a small county with not a lot of room to build. For the last several years, inventory has been on a downward spiral, falling every year since 2008, from numbers in the high 3000s down to this year, where the average was just below 1900.
I talk to people all the time who would like to sell their home, but aren't willing to do it for what the market is willing to pay right now. I expect that as prices rise, you will see a lot of this shadow inventory moving onto the market. Still, I don't see the numbers getting above 2500.

Random numbers of a somewhat intriguing nature:
The biggest, the smallest, the priciest, the cheapest, the oldest, and much more,
go here to find the extremes of what sold in NH County in 2013

Wade Wilson,

NC License #253396


Ashley Wilson,

NC License #275182


Lindsey Bridges,

NC License #294445


Barbara Crawford,

NC License #298134