Home sales increased 28% from 2011-2012, and 9% from 2012-2013. My prediction for 2014 was another solid increase in home sales. But sales started sluggish the first six months, and despite a strong final six months, the number of sales in 2014 were only up 2% over 2013. Still positive considering it is the best year since 2007. We are still a long way from 2005, when 6500 homes were sold.
My prediction for 2015 is for a bigger increase, maybe 4-7%. There is a great deal of positive news on the economy, consumer confidence is up, and prices and mortgages are still affordable. A 4% increase would put us at over 4,000 home sales, I expect to be at least there.
At the beginning of 2014 I predicted prices would go up 3 - 5% compared to 2013, and that guess ended up being pretty close. The average sales price for a home in New Hanover County was up 2% in 2014, to around 263k. The Price Per Square Foot, which is probably a more accurate measure of home prices, increased by 5% to $135. So that's two straight years of the price per square foot increasing by 5%.
Part of the increase in prices is due to the low inventory, and I expect inventory to move up this coming year, buoyed by new home construction and homeowners who have been waiting on the sidelines who will start listing their house this year. Still, I would project another 3-5% increase in 2015.
Days on the Market
The average number of days to sell in 2013 fell for the third straight year, by 4% to 118. More evidence that this is the best time for sellers in several years.
Inventory is always a driving factor for New Hanover County, because it is a small county with little space to build. From 2008-20013, inventory has been on a downward spiral, falling from numbers in the high 3000s down to a low of 1707 in January of 2013. Since that low point the inventory has been steadily building, finally topping 2000 in May 2013. The average in 2014 ended up being just over 2000, which tops last year's average by 6%.
I talk to people all the time who would like to sell their home, but aren't willing to do it for what the market is willing to pay right now. I expect that as prices rise, you will see a lot of this shadow inventory moving onto the market. Still, I don't see the numbers getting above 2500.
I expect that inventory will continue to move up this year. Hopefully confidence has reached the level where existing homeowners sell their homes and move up, which has been largely missing for the past several years.
Random numbers of a somewhat intriguing nature:
The biggest, the smallest, the priciest, the cheapest, the oldest, and much more,
go here to find the extremes of what sold in NH County in 2014
Click on the links at left to navigate the 2014 Year in Review