The number of home sales was up strongly again in 2016. There were close to 5000 homes sold in New Hanover County in 2016, around 9% more than in 2015, which was up 16% from 2014. The last time the numbers were this high was back in 2006, when 4933 homes were sold, and 2005, when 6500 homes were sold. My prediction at the beginning of 2016 was for a 7-11% increase, and while I hate to brag, I nailed that pretty good.
My prediction for 2016 will be another solid increase in home sales, I will say 8 - 12%. The economy appears to be moving ahead strongly, and this area continues to be a popular place for people relocating or retiring.
At the beginning of 2016 I predicted prices would go up 5% compared to 2015, and somehow that prediction came in too high. Despite added demand and lower inventory, home prices only moved up around 3% in 2016. The average sales price for a home in New Hanover County was up 3% in 2015, to around 277k. The Price Per Square Foot, which is probably a more accurate measure of home prices, also increased by 3% to $142.
Honestly I feel pretty darn good about a 3% increase in home prices, and I hope it continues to stay that way every year. When it doesn't go up too fast, it doesn't suffer corrections.
But based on the steady demand and inventory not keeping up, I cannot imagine that this is the year that prices may start to move up faster. I would project a 4-6% increase in 2017.
Days on the Market
The average number of days to sell in 2015 fell for the fifth straight year, by 15% to 81. More evidence that this is the best time for sellers in several years.
Inventory is always a driving factor for New Hanover County, because it is a small county with little space to build. I have been checking the inventory of homes for sale in New Hanover County every month since 2008, and the numbers are eye poppingly low. From 2008-2010, inventory hovered in the 3000s. From 2011 - 2015, the inventory was typically around 2000. But in 2016, the inventory moved down even further. The highest it has been during 2016 was 1829, and in January of 2017, the number hit 1437. The average for 2016 was around 1700.
It is inevitable that with more people buying houses and less houses being available to buy, that prices will start moving up faster.
I expect that inventory will continue to move up this year, and perhaps confidence has reached the level where existing homeowners sell their homes and move up, which has been largely missing for the past several years.
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 2016
Click on the links at left to navigate the 2016 Year in Review