Charlotte housing market cooled off in January

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Charlotte's housing market got off to a slow start in 2019, and some experts say that the government shutdown is partially to blame.

Data from Carolina Multiple Listing Services released Monday showed that home sales declined 9% in January from the previous year. This marks the ninth month in a row that the number of homes sold fell from the year before.

Nationally, the housing market has been cooling off since the second half of 2018 as home prices grow at a slower pace.

Richard Buttimer, director of the Childress Klein Center for Real Estate at UNC Charlotte, said rising interest rates have led to some of the slowdown. Mortgage rates fell in January, after rising for much of 2018, but are still up year-over-year.

"That's created some pressure on folks buying homes," he said. "There's also been some uncertainty just in the general economy."

Brenda Hayden, president of the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association and Carolina Multiple Listing Services, said some of the Realtors she works with faced delays in closing sales because of the government shutdown. The shutdown caused lending slowdowns at some federal agencies.

Still, Hayden said, the exact impact of the shutdown is difficult to measure.

Inventory also fell, meaning there are fewer options available for potential buyers. That typically drives prices up — the median sale price in the Charlotte area last month was $226,000, an increase of 5% from last year.

However, new residential listings rose 13%, which Hayden said is a sign that seller confidence is increasing.

"Unfortunately it usually takes the delivery of a message multiple times before people think 'OK, maybe it is a good sell,'" she said.

Tribune Content Agency
Housing market Home prices Mortgage rates Government shutdown North Carolina