Home sales in the Charlotte metro area plunged in September, compared to a year ago.
A total of 3,642 properties were sold last month, down 15.3 percent from September 2017, according to Carolina Multiple Listing Services. And compared to August, September sales this year were down 19.3 percent.
For months, it’s been a sellers market because that lack of inventory means people can sell their homes more quickly, and likely get close to list price for them.
Still, buyers could soon see relief as the Charlotte area housing market moves to a more equal footing for buyers as well as sellers, Jason Gentry, president of the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association, told the Observer. “We’re heading in that direction now.”
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In part that’s because buyer demand is likely to fall off and the length of time a house is on the market will probably increase, he said. “Buyers would love to have more inventory to pick from,” Gentry said.
A property was on the market for an average of 87 days in September, just four days fewer than last year, according to the Carolina MLS data.
But there was also some bad news for buyers. Mortgage interest rates on 30-year loans hit 5 percent this week. That is the highest rates have been in more than seven years.
Every time interest rate ticks up, buyers can’t afford as much house for their money, Gentry said. That will push buyers farther outside of Charlotte city limits to find price points that they need, he said.
Still, home prices could start to plateau.
A property sold for an average of $281,533, in September, up 5.2 percent from the year prior. But, that average sales price decreased 4.3 percent from August.
That’s because there’s a cap on how much buyers are willing to spend, Gentry said.
“It just can’t keep growing at the rate it’s been growing,” Gentry said.