Charlotte’s tight housing market was tough for buyers last year. Here’s what 2019 holds.

Charlotte faced a year of rising home prices and lack of inventory, according to housing data released on Thursday.

That tight market forced buyers to shop in outlying counties to find homes they could afford, said Brenda Hayden, president of the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association.

“There was a lot of conversation about affordability,” she said.

This year, those trends could continue.

“I think we’re going to hold steady,” said Hayden, a realtor with Keller Williams Realty South Park.

Prices will not rise as steeply as in the past two years, Hayden predicted, but it will still be a healthy market for sellers, she said.

The average sales price of homes for 2018 was $286,796, up 6.4 percent from the year before, according to Carolina Multiple Listing Services data released Thursday. The 2018 median sales price was $238,000, up 5.8 percent.

Other trends were “essentially flat” between last year and 2017, according to the data. Pending sales were down 1.9 percent and new listings were down just 0.3 percent.

December saw 3,176 properties sold in the Charlotte area, a 14 percent drop from a year earlier. That marked the eighth month straight of decline in sales.

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Contributing to the sales decline included rising interest rates toward the end of the year, said Jonathan Osman, a Charlotte realtor.

Interest rates were about a percentage point lower a year earlier, translating to houses being roughly 10 percent more expensive every month, he said. “That’s tough.”

Mecklenburg County homeowners also face new property values this year, the first time since 2011.

Preliminary numbers have shown that residential property values countywide are up 40 percent. But tax bills may not jump that high, depending on the tax rate leaders set.

“I expect there’s going to be a lot of folks worried until we know what that rate’s going to look like,” Osman said.

Tax bills will be mailed in July.

Overall, 2019 could continue to be a tight housing market for the Charlotte region, which includes 12 counties in North Carolina and four in South Carolina.

“I’m expecting a little bit of status quo,” Osman said.

Cassie Cope covers business in Charlotte, with a focus on Charlotte Douglas airport, Duke Energy, Atrium Health and Novant Health. She previously covered politics at The State in Columbia, S.C., and is a graduate of the University of South Carolina.