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Local housing inventory inches up

The supply of homes for sale in the Charlotte region has risen for the fourth consecutive month but is still well below what is considered to be a balanced market.

New listings on the Carolina Multiple Listing Services rose 4.5 percent in May from a year ago, and the number of homes for sale grew 3.5 percent from April to 10,880 properties for sale.

However, inventory was down 25 percent year over year in May, from 14,582 properties on the market a year ago. That left a three-month supply of homes for sale last month, down from a 4.4-month supply a year ago.

A market with a six-month supply is considered to be in equilibrium, where neither buyer nor seller has the upper hand in negotiations.

Maren Brisson-Kuester, president of the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association, said she is heartened by the recent month-over-month increase in inventory.

She attributed the rise in supply to several factors, including higher market values and increased confidence in the economy. She also said housing sales tend to increase in February through the summer months.

“Finally, our inventory is on the rise,” she said. “This will give more options to potential buyers who are sitting on the fence.”

The tight supply has caused bidding wars, which Brisson-Kuester said appear to be subsiding slightly.

Her advice to those seeking to purchase: Stay motivated.

“If you like a house, chances are someone else does, too,” she said.

Among the submarkets with the lowest inventory were Charlotte, with a 1.9-month supply; Mecklenburg County and Rock Hill, with a 2.1-month supply; and Concord and Monroe, with a 2.3-month supply.

Meanwhile, sales remain strong. May sales were up 5 percent year over year to 4,026 homes sold from 3,836. Sales rose 11.4 percent in May compared with April.

The average sales price increased 3.2 percent to $257,866 from $249,826 in May 2015; the median sales price was up 5 percent annually to $209,900 from $200,000. The average list price rose nearly 11 percent year over year, resulting in homeowners receiving 96.8 percent of the desired price.

Brisson-Kuester said she expects the market to remain strong. She said the Charlotte area is an inviting place to live that offers relative affordability when compared to other cities.

She said the large number of people relocating here will offset any waning in demand for housing.

“Our demand won’t slow,” she said, as long as there is no major upset to the economy.

Sales prices in the region have surpassed their highs in 2007, when the average home price peaked at $245,000 and the median price reached $185,000, the CRRA said.

Regional preliminary pending sales were at 4,989 in May, up 21 percent from a year ago.

Properties were on the market from list to close for an average of 105 days, which is 11 days fewer than a year ago. Homes were on the market until going under contract for an average of 53 days. That was down from 61 days a year ago.

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