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Ed Billings' Blog

By Ed Billings | Broker in Chapel Hill, NC

Chapel Hill Real Estate Market Update 12/2012


It was the end of 2007. The Chapel Hill real estate market was rocking. Greece and Ireland only hit the headlines as vacation spots, and the Euro was touted as the currency of the future.

It was with this perspective that I attended the 2007 National Association of Realtor’s Convention. Pre flight, I ran the numbers, and our supply was under 5 months, which was exceptional. Near record sales volume, and a supply number well below the 6 month equilibrium mark.

At the convention I spoke with scores of agents around the country. I was becoming concerned. Most markets were faltering, even though we were having one of our best year locally. I would proudly spout our market statistics to everyone I met, and the response was always the same: “Your kidding?”

Dark clouds were on the national real estate horizon.

I’d like to say I saw real estate’s Category 4 storm coming, but not really. You can read my exact thoughts from five years ago in this December 2007 blog post. I can hear the caution in my voice (“November demand significantly down…Forecast: Optimistic, but lets keep an eye on things.”), but it was far worse than I expected.

So where are we now, five years later?

That all important months supply number stands at 4.6 at the end of November, the best I’ve seen since those halcyon days in 2007. Year to date sales are up 7% over last year, the best total sales number since (you guessed it) 2007.

Given our low inventory, low interest rates, and strong local economy, I think it’s safe to say 2012 will prove to be the year Chapel Hill began its real estate market recovery.

As in all recoveries (and I’ve seen a few) it’s not a return to old times, but an evolution to the new. Buyer expectations have evolved, and the tools we use to market properties have become more sophisticated. I’ll detail these changes in coming posts in the new year.

Happy Holidays to all, and here’s to a great 2013!

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