Slight cool-down continues, latest Cape Fear real estate trends show

The Cape Fear cool-down continues after an unruly spring and summer residential real estate season. (Courtesy RODNAE Productions)
The Cape Fear cool-down continues after an unruly spring and summer residential real estate season. (Courtesy RODNAE Productions)

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. –– The voracious appetite for new listings in the Cape Fear region has slightly relaxed after months of relentless buying pressure.

Across the tri-county region — New Hanover, Pender, and Brunswick — residential real estate markets are collectively seeing year-over-year dips in closed and pending sales and new listings, according to Cape Fear Realtor. The organization released September trends on Monday.

RELATED: Residential real estate inventory hits record low in a frenzied sellers’ market


Importantly, the slight cool-down isn’t enough to swing the pendulum back to a buyer’s market: Inventory remains dead low and prices continue to creep up.

Compared to September 2020, closed sales last month were down nearly 17%, pending sales were down about 12% and new listings were down 14%. The limited properties listed are still getting snatched up: The average days on market was 40, down three days from August and shaving off 29 days since last September’s figure.

Inventory has plummeted in recent years, especially so in 2021. Months’ supply is down 54% since last September and down 9% from August. There is approximately one months’ supply available in the Cape Fear region, an indicator that shows how long it would take for all available listings to become unavailable if no new properties hit the market.

“We continue to see lower listing inventory in comparison to demand, with nearly every home going under contract as soon as it hits the market,” Tom Gale, 2021 Cape Fear Realtors president, said in a press release. “As long as this trend continues, there will be upward pressure on pricing.”

The market first appeared to cool off locally in June, when pending sales dipped 16% compared to the steady near 0% change noted in May. August’s figures further signaled a relaxation, with closed sales (down 8.5%) pending sales (down 15%) and new listings (down 2.6%), all negative year-over-year indicators.

Showings have also steadily slouched an average 22% over the past four weeks in the tri-county market compared to the same time last year, according to data compiled by ShowingTime.

Inventory has fallen in the Cape Fear region more sharply (48%) than national levels (22%) year-over-year, according to Cape Fear Realtors’ release. The drop-off represents 1,265 fewer homes listed for sale this September in the tri-county region compared to last September.

Over the same timeframe, median sale price rose to $315,000, up 14%. Nationally, the median sale price jumped 8.6%, according to the release.


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