North Carolina housing market heats up in March

    People in the market to buy a house in Charlotte could see heightened levels of competition in the coming months, as activity is beginning to heat up in North Carolina after a slow start to the year in much of the country.

    In March, 2,658 properties sold, which is a 1.4 percent year-over-year increase, according to the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association. Meanwhile, new listings were up 4.6 percent when compared to the same period a year earlier, bringing the supply of properties available for sale to 5.1months. This could help spur future activity, as inventory has been depressed for quite some time.

    “We’re pleased to see forward looking indicators like pending contracts improve in March, which means that future sales look promising,” said CRRA President Joe Rempson. “Consumer confidence is on the rise, and even though inventory continues to be a challenge, we think there will be improvement in the months ahead.”

    The average sales price for a house purchased in North Carolina dropped 0.6 percent on a year-over-year basis. However, the average list price was up 6.7 percent in the same period, as sellers generally have the advantage during this time of the year.

    Affordable mortgage rates could help spur Charlotte housing activity
    In addition to the spring buying and selling season being in full swing, affordable mortgage rates could also help entice people to enter the housing market.

    In the week ending May 1, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 4.29 percent, compared to 4.33 percent in the previous seven-day period, according to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Meanwhile, 15-year FRMs slipped to 3.38 percent, from 3.39 percent one week prior.

    “Mortgage rates were down slightly following the release of real GDP estimates for the first quarter of the year which rose 0.1 percent and fell well short of market expectations,” said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac. “Meanwhile, the pending home sales index rose in March ending eight consecutive months of decline and the S&P/Case-Shiller¬†20-city composite house price index rose 12.9 percent over the 12-months ending in February 2014.”

    Adjustable-rates inched higher, but still remain an affordable option for homebuyers. The average 1-year Treasury-indexed ARMs increased to 2.45 percent, from 2.44 percent, while 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARMs hit 3.05 percent, compared to 3.03 percent a week earlier.

    These conditions don’t guarantee heightened levels of activity in the Charlotte housing market, but they certainly favor such movement. In the beginning of the year, experts predicted mortgage rates would reach 5 percent by the end of 2014. That said, buyers may want to lock in a loan now while rates are still low.

    Those interested in moving forward on a local housing acquisition, or hoping to sell a house in Charlotte, can benefit by partnering with Lodestone Real Estate. The trusted agency has helped hundreds of individuals successfully navigate the path to homeownership during its years in operation.

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