For the seventh month in a row, the number of homes sold in the Charlotte region decreased compared to last year.
In November, 3,310 properties sold in Charlotte, down 11.9 percent compared to the same month a year earlier, according to data by Carolina Multiple Listing Service.
The downturn in activity is in part because of the holidays, a Charlotte real estate expert said.
“People are focused on family and buying real estate seems to be less important,” said Jason Gentry, president of the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association.
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Typically, there’s a slow-down after the spring and summer buying season. But in recent years, the aftermath of the recession caused pent-up demand among buyers and the winter housing market was busier than normal, Gentry said.
November’s decline shows a return to a more normal cycle, he said.
Charlotte’s housing market has been tight for months. Potential sellers have been reluctant to put their homes on the market, causing a lack of inventory across the region. That has forced prices up and caused buyers to buy homes farther away from uptown.
Sales for November were also down 8.5 percent compared to October, when Realtors were optimistic that sales could continue at a steady pace.
Prices also increased in November. The average price of a home sold was $286,438. That’s up 6.7 percent from a year earlier. The median sales price of $235,000 is up 6.3 percent, according to Carolina Multiple Listing Service.
The price increases result from sellers knowing that they are still in control of the market, said Gentry. Sellers push the boundaries on list price which causes increases in sales price, he said.
After the holidays into next year, Charlotte’s housing market will depend on mortgage interest rates, Gentry said.
Interest rates are likely to keep increasing, hurting a buyer’s purchasing power.
Low inventory combined with high interest rates will make it especially tough on first-time home buyers, Gentry said.