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Local home sales down 1.4 percent

Home sales in the Charlotte region fell 1.4 percent in March compared with a year ago, which the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association attributes to the area’s low inventory.

There were 3,245 properties sold last month, down from 3,301 in March 2015. Sales, however, were up more than 38 percent from February, when the CRRA reported 2,345 closed deals in the Carolina Multiple Listing Services.

Inventory, meanwhile, declined nearly 28 percent from a year ago, leaving the area with a 2.8-month supply of 10,145 homes for sale. A year ago, there were 14,046 homes on the market, which amounted to a 4.4-month supply. Inventory in March rose slightly from February, when there were 9,935 homes for sale.

Six months of inventory is considered a balanced market, where neither buyer nor seller has the upper hand in negotiations.

“The Carolina MLS region, much like the nation, continues with low inventory, which has resulted in a slow start to the spring selling season,” said CRRA President Maren Brisson-Kuester in a statement. “However, from a quarterly perspective, the region’s home sales are on par with last spring, up 0.3 percent compared with the first quarter of 2015.”

The U.S. had a 4.4-month supply of homes for sale in February, according to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors. That compares with a 4.6-month supply a year earlier.

Many homeowners are hesitant to sell because rapid price appreciation means they would need more equity to cover a down payment when upgrading to a new house. Others are waiting for prices to increase more before they put their homes up for sale. Investors have also turned many homes into rentals, further depriving the market of properties for sale.

In the Charlotte area, the average sales price of $246,891 in March was a 2.6 percent increase over a year ago. The median sales price increased 3.7 percent in the same period to $198,000.

The average number of days a property was on the market from the time it was listed until it closed went down seven days from March 2015, to 122 days.

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