The Durham residential real estate market is very active. With fewer listings and more buyers coming into the market, multiple offers are becoming more common. It’s critical for buyers to be prepared to see new listings quickly and make competitive offers decisively.

Buyer interest in the Durham residential housing market was strong in the first quarter of 2015, with showings experiencing a 16% jump versus the first quarter of the year before. The total number of showings this quarter exceeded those for Q1 for the past four years and virtually equaled the number of showings in Q1 2010.  The price range of $100,000 to $200,000 was particularly popular, with the Woodcroft community as one of the top draws.

While buyer interest was increasing, seller participation in the market was decreasing with a 22% reduction in active listings and a 12% decrease in new listings at quarter end versus one year ago. New homes drove that decrease with a reduction in inventory of 34%. Not surprisingly, the average list price of listings showed a 17% increase compared to last year, up to $283, 200. And the average number of days an active listing stayed on the market was down to 104, five days less than the same time last year.

Closings increased 9%, driven by resale homes with an increase in closings of 15%. New home closings decreased 15%, most likely due to the lack of inventory detailed above. The average number of days a closed home was on the market decreased from 78 in Q1 2014 to 63 in this quarter. 

A key point to note, however, is that pricing remained stable versus a year ago. Even though the listing prices showed an increase, the average closed price only increased 1% to $208,000. However, that is the highest average sales price since 2007. The median sales price per square foot of detached housing sold during Q1 2015 only increased 2% to $100. Also, financial concessions increased to 68% of closings, up from 51% in the same time last year. 

The impact that correct pricing has on the sale of a home at initial list is critical. The initial listing price had a direct relationship to the number of days a home remained on the market. When the closing price equaled the original price, the home was on the market an average of 37 days and sold for 98% of the list price. During this quarter, homes that met this criteria made up 71% of the closings. However, when the final list price was lower than the original list, the home was on the market an average of 127 days and ultimately sold for 90% of the original list price.