Charlotte home prices up 9.9% in February, CoreLogic says

Charlotte-area home prices rose 9.9 percent in February from a year ago, as low levels of homes for sale also helped boost prices nationwide, figures released Tuesday showed.

But the U.S. housing market should see annual gains moderate as more homes go on the market, according to the report on repeat sales by real estate data firm CoreLogic.

Prices in the Charlotte, Concord and Gastonia area have posted annual gains for 26 months in a row. Nationwide, prices have risen on a year-over-year basis for 24 months in a row.

In February, U.S. home prices climbed 12.2 percent from a year ago, as 14 states posted double-digit year-over-year increases.

Low supplies of homes for sale in Charlotte and elsewhere are said to be a primary reason for the large annual increases in prices. The number of U.S. homes for sale in February stood at a 5.2-month supply, according to the National Association of Realtors. Anything less than a six-month supply is considered a seller’s market.

Some economists say the sizable gains in home prices are making it difficult for many to afford a home, including first-time homebuyers. That could impact sales during the spring homebuying season, traditionally the busiest time of the year for the housing market.

Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, said in a statement that home price gains should slow over the next year as more sellers list their homes. Rising home prices are increasing homeowners’ equity. Fleming said increases in equity should release “pent-up” supplies of homes.

Excluding distressed-property sales, prices in the Charlotte region rose 9.2 percent from a year ago and U.S. home prices increased 10.7 percent. CoreLogic defines a distressed sale as a short sale or a sale by a bank that has taken ownership of a property.

Distressed sales continue to make up a smaller percentage of overall U.S. home sales. Such sales made up 17.4 percent of sales last year, compared with 22.4 percent in 2012, according to a separate CoreLogic report released last month.