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Charlotte-area home prices climb 6 percent

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  • Sales of new U.S. homes slip 4.6%

    Sales of new homes fell in February after climbing to the highest level in more than four years in January.

    Sales of new homes dropped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 411,000 in February, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. That is a decline of 4.6 percent from the January level of 431,000, which had been the strongest sales pace since September 2008.

    The decline in February still left sales 12.3 percent higher than a year ago. While sales remain below the 700,000 level considered healthy, the housing recovery is gaining strength and is starting to look sustainable. Steady job creation and near record-low mortgage rates are spurring sales.

    Rising demand for homes has encouraged builders to boost construction. Builders started work at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 910,000 in February, the second fastest pace since June 2008. Applications for building permits rose to 946,000, the highest level since June 2008. AP



Charlotte-area home prices rose on average 6 percent in January from the same month last year, joining 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas that saw home prices increase during the same period, according to the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday.

Compared with December, Charlotte’s home prices rose by a much smaller amount, 0.2 percent.

Since last March, every Case-Shiller monthly report has shown Charlotte home prices to be up when compared with the same month the year before.

But the 6 percent increase for Charlotte in January was the largest year-over-year gain the city has seen since last March.

Frank Adams, a broker for the Myers Park office of Helen Adams Realty, said he was not surprised by Tuesday’s Case-Shiller figures. Adams said Charlotte’s inventory of homes for sale is at a 10-year low and the area is experiencing a seller’s market.

“There’s still pent-up demand for buyers that have been on the sidelines for the past few years,” he said. “Sellers are finally in a good position to be able to make some demands.”

Adams, who mainly sells homes in uptown Charlotte and the surrounding neighborhoods, said that sellers are increasingly receiving multiple offers from prospective buyers. Adams said he had a buyer who was one of about eight bidders on a Myers Park home about three months ago.

“Business really has picked up so much,” Adams said.

Last month, when it released January data for the Charlotte metro area, the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association reported only a 0.6 percent increase in the average sales price compared with January 2012. According to the association, that price was $189,007, up from $187,803 a year earlier. The association also reported a 40 percent year-over-year increase in Charlotte-area home sales, which totaled 2,163 in January.

Kim Walker, spokeswoman for the association, said Tuesday that its Charlotte metro area figures are based on a roughly 17-county region.

Case-Shiller spokesman Dave Guarino said the index’s Charlotte figures stem from housing data collected in the federally designated metropolitan statistical area for Charlotte. That area is defined as Cabarrus, Gaston, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Union and York counties – a smaller footprint that the Realtors association examines.

Nationally, home prices were up 8.1 percent in January over a year ago, according to the Case-Shiller report.

Phoenix, with a 23.2 percent year-over-year gain, led all cities, followed by San Francisco, where prices increased 17.5 percent.

Roberts: 704-358-5248 Twitter: @DeonERoberts
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