Which Wake County real estate markets are changing the most?

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The fountain in Cary's new downtown park.  Home prices in Cary and throughout Wake County have been declining since June 2022.

The fountain in Cary’s new downtown park. Home prices in Cary and throughout Wake County have been declining since June 2022.

Catherine Trogdon

Home prices in Wake County peaked in June at more than $493,000.

Since then, median sale prices have fallen and homes are staying on the market longer. The cause, experts say, is soaring interest rates that are cooling what had been white-hot demand. When this cooling will end, no one knows.

This week, quotes platform Triangle MLS released its September Market Snapshots, which detail market developments in the state’s most populous county. While all regions saw price declines, some cities fell more than others. Since June, for example, sale prices for Raleigh homes have fallen 9% while they are down only 4% in the combined Fuquay-Varina and Holly Springs market.

Overall, Wake prices are down 5% since peaking in June. The combined Cary, Apex and Morrisville market was down 6.2%; the combined Knightdale, Wendell and Zebulon market fell nearly 8%, as did Garner’s market.

John Wood, a real estate agent at Re/Max United in Cary, cautioned against extrapolating too much from a three-month sample, but he offered a hypothesis as to why Raleigh prices could pull back more than in a newer community such as Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina.

“Raleigh’s housing stock is an older cluster of homes and therefore forces a buyer to consider how much money they will need to spend to make this home their home,” Wood said. “As the cash has gotten tight, buyers don’t have as much cash to do the renovations.”

Wood noted that homes in the area are still selling for more than they did in September 2021, but some sellers are reluctant to accept that the pandemic-era housing boom is over.

“We are currently having obstacles in getting sellers to understand that our prices are not the same as six months ago,” he said.

Wait three times longer to sell

Between August and September, the biggest change in Wake’s housing market was the number of days homes stayed on the market. On average in August, Wake houses lasted 15 days before closing. In September, that number jumped to 22 days, a jump of 46%.

Over the summer, time on the market for homes more than tripled in Wake Forest, Raleigh and the combined market of Cary, Apex and Morrisville – each having seen homes spend an average of 22 days before selling in September.

“The U.S. housing market continues to slow as we head into the fall, as rising consumer prices and rising mortgage interest rates squeeze homebuyer budgets and slow activity,” MLS Triangle communications director Thomas Babb said in a video explaining the latest data. “The cost of borrowing hit multi-year highs on everything from credit cards to auto loans in 2022 as mortgage interest rates topped 6% for the first time since 2008, driving down sales of existing homes for the seventh month in a row.”

Despite rising inventory and slowing sales, Wood still said the Triangle was significantly short of housing options to meet the needs of expanding communities.

Raleigh’s housing supply still lags considerably behind other booming cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas. Those cities each have more than three months of available housing stock while Wake County only has 1.7 months of supply, according to the latest MLS report.

Inventory measures how long the supply of existing homes would last if no new homes came on the market.

This story was produced with the financial support of a coalition of partners led by Innovate Raleigh through an independent journalism grant program. The N&O retains full editorial control of the work.

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Brian Gordon is Innovate Raleigh’s reporter for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He writes about jobs, start-ups, and all the great tech things that are transforming the Triangle.

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