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Charlotte home prices up in April

Home prices in the Charlotte region rose in April from the same month a year ago, forcing buyers to dig deeper into their pockets in a housing market that’s showing no signs of slowing down.

Prices of existing homes in Charlotte, Gastonia and Rock Hill jumped 9.2 percent when distressed-property sales were factored in, Irvine, Calif.-based CoreLogic said Tuesday. But the increase was below the 12.1 percent gain nationally.

Nationwide, April’s price increase was the biggest year-over-year gain since February 2006. Only Alabama and Mississippi posted decreases in prices in April from a year ago.

April marked the 14th consecutive month of year-over-year home price increases in the Charlotte area and nationally, CoreLogic data show.

In Charlotte and elsewhere, the housing market is increasingly favoring sellers.

Especially since the start of 2013, Charlotte’s real estate industry has seen increased strengthening in the existing-home market. Brokers and other professionals are reporting shrinking inventory and growing instances of prospective buyers making multiple offers on homes, particularly in south Charlotte. In some cases, industry officials say, homes are receiving offers as soon as they are listed, and appraisers are sometimes having trouble finding comparable sales.

“We’re seeing a fair amount of houses sold at list price, some over,” said Philip Mahoney, an officer with the Mortgage Bankers Association of the Carolinas.

The Ballantyne, Eastover and Myers Park neighborhoods in Charlotte, and Rock Hill and Fort Mill, S.C., are among hot areas for rising prices and multiple offers, he said.

According to the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association, the inventory of existing homes for sale fell 30 percent, to 14,053, in Greater Charlotte in April compared with the same month last year. The average number of days a home sat on the market until it sold decreased to 101 this past April from 116 in April 2012, the association reported.

Peter Gallo, owner of Charlotte-based HomeSight Appraisal, said the uptick in multiple offers for Charlotte-area homes seems to have started one to two months ago.

He said he expects the supply of homes for sale to only get smaller.

That could further increase prices.

“When you hear news stories that MetLife’s coming into south Charlotte ... and that’s potentially 1,500 people looking for houses in south Charlotte, the inventory isn’t that strong,” he said.

According to CoreLogic, when distressed sales were excluded, Charlotte-area home prices increased 12.9 percent this past April from April 2012. Nationally, prices increased 11.9 percent in the same period when distressed sales were excluded.

CoreLogic’s report comes after last week’s release of the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index, which showed Charlotte-area home prices rose 7 percent in March from the same month last year.

Even though Charlotte-area home prices continue to rise, Mahoney said he doesn’t see a real estate bubble forming in the area.

“We’ve had modest and acceptable increases,” he said. “I do not have much concern for a bubble.”

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