The real estate market is slogging through the fall, with a current slowdown acknowledged Thursday by Cape Fear Realtors.
Sales dropped nearly 25% in September compared to September 2021, according to a CFR report.
“The rising consumer prices and higher mortgage interest rates squeeze homebuyer budgets, which calms market activity. The cost of borrowing has reached a multi-year high as mortgage interest rates topped 6% for the first time since 2008,” the report stated. “In September, the Cape Fear Region experienced similar market trends seen nationally. The number of single-family homes for sale continues to shrink with new listings decreasing 22.1% over the past year.”
Realtors say the fall and winter months are usually a slower period anyway for home sales, and that there’s a reason the slowdown seems so steep. The wild ride of 2021 and even early 2022, where multiple offers and thousands of dollars over asking price were becoming the norm, had to come to an end sometime.
“It definitely has changed, but we don’t think it’s a horrible market, either,” said Denise Kinney, president of Wilmington-based residential real estate firm Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage. “I think it is definitely something more normal like what we were used to seeing in 2019. … It’s slowing down from something that in my opinion was abnormal and something that I’m sure I’ll never see again in my lifetime.”
For her company’s 800 agents, “what we’re trying to do is just focus on everybody setting the correct expectations for their business and for their clients, their buyers and sellers.”
Some sellers are having to cut unrealistic prices.
“I think this market definitely gives the buyer a little more of an edge to actually do some negotiating when they’re trying to purchase a home,” Kinney said. “We're in what I keep referring to as 2019, which was still a great market, but it was a time when buyers and sellers actually negotiated over things. They negotiated over repairs and negotiated home warranties. They negotiated price, closing costs, concessions given by sellers, all these things came into play where earlier this year … everything was in the seller's court.”
By contrast, the CFR report pointed out a National Association of Realtors’ cautionary note: “Affordability challenges have priced many buyers out of the market this year, and buyers who do succeed in purchasing a home are finding that the costs of homeownership have increased significantly, with monthly mortgage payments more than 55% higher than a year ago.”
But overall, experts say the Cape Fear region’s market tends to fare a little better for a little longer than the national outlook.
“Activity typically slows down by the time winter comes,” said CFR President Ea Ruth in her association's report. “However, I believe the market in the Cape Fear region will remain somewhat competitive and favorable due to the tight inventory and high demand to live in Southeastern NC.”
Audrey Elsberry - Sep 22, 2023
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