Charlotte-area yearly home price gains slowed in May for the first time in 11 months – a sign that the local housing market might be cooling off.
The closely watched Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller indexes, released Tuesday, showed prices of existing Charlotte homes increased 7.1 percent from a year ago, down from April’s year-over-year increase of 7.3 percent.
On a national level, average home prices have returned to spring 2004 levels, according to Case-Shiller. Across 20 U.S. cities, May home prices rose 12.2 percent, their largest yearly increase since March 2006, but remain about 25 percent below June-July 2006 peaks.
While the data show the local and national housing sector is healthier than during the depths of the downturn, David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said U.S. home price growth isn’t expected to stay at current levels.
“I don’t think we’re going to sustain double-digit annual rates of increase over the long haul,” he said in a phone interview. “Over the next year to year and a half, the rate of increase is going to slow down for almost all the cities.”
In Charlotte, home prices have been rising as inventory shrinks and brokers report some listings resulting in competing bids. A year ago, Charlotte brokers say, competing bids would have been virtually unheard of.
Existing Charlotte-area homes are also selling faster than they were a year ago, according to the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association. In June, it took 93 days on average for a home to sell, a decline of 16 percent from June 2012.
Despite signs of a strengthening market, some Charlotte sellers have had to lower prices this summer after failing to attract buyers.
Such reductions are helping to keep price increases in check.
Mark DuPont, 68, listed his home in the Downs Grant neighborhood for $247,500 July 6, but has since slashed that to $237,500.
“It was way overpriced for the area,” DuPont said Tuesday. “I really thought I would get more interest than I did.”
After lowering the price and putting the home on the local multiple listing service, he’s getting more inquiries, he said. Since last week, there have