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2 reports show Charlotte-area housing market picking up

Two reports released Tuesday show a Charlotte-area housing market that continues to strengthen in favor of sellers after buyers had the upper hand during the economic downturn.

CoreLogic, an Irvine, Calif.-based company that provides monthly reports on housing prices, said they rose 7 percent in the Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill area in March from the same month a year ago. The figure includes sales of distressed homes. Nationwide, home prices, including distressed sales, rose 10.5 percent in March from a year ago.

Also Tuesday, the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association reported that Charlotte-area home prices increased by 1.1 percent on average in April from the same month last year, as inventory continues to dwindle. The April statistics on existing, not newly built, homes in the Charlotte region point to an ongoing shift in favor of sellers – and a market in which buyers continue to have fewer homes from which to choose.

According to the preliminary data from the association, the average sales price in April rose to $217,166 from $214,739 in April 2012. The number of sales increased 34 percent year over year, to 2,915 from 2,168.

Another statistic released Tuesday by the Realtor association doesn’t bode well for buyers: The inventory of homes for sale in April dropped 30.1 percent from a year ago to a 4.9-month supply.

Many in the real estate industry consider a seller’s market to be one in which the number of homes for sale is below a 6-month supply. The monthly supply measurement is an estimate of the time it should take for homes to sell.

As inventory keeps falling in the Charlotte region, it could result in more cases of multiple bids being made on homes and prospective buyers offering more than the initial asking price – both scenarios that some local brokers have reported this year.

The Realtor association’s April report also shows sellers are raising prices. The average list price last month was $275,150, up 4.5 percent from $263,391 a year ago.

On the bright side for buyers, more homes were put on the market in April versus the same month last year, according to the association. Last month, there were 5,115 new listings, up 11.7 percent from April 2012, giving buyers weary from too-few options more to pick from.

As the market strengthens for sellers, homes are selling faster than they were a year ago. The average number of days from when a home was listed until it sold fell to 142 in April, 13 fewer days than the same month last year, the association said.

The association also said Tuesday that foreclosures and short sales fell in April, accounting for 8.4 percent of new listings and 12.2 percent of sales.

Roberts: 704-358-5248; Twitter: @DeonERoberts
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