The history, people and places that are making the Triangle one of the hottest housing markets in the nation.
What’s it like to live in one of the best cities in the nation? If you live in Raleigh, Durham or Chapel Hill, North Carolina, you already know. The city of Raleigh alone has made so many top 10 real estate lists, it’s hard to keep track. For starters, US News and World Report recently ranked the tri-city region, known as the Triangle, number seven on its list of the top 100 best places to live in the United States. What makes this one of the most sought after real estate markets in the nation? Affordable housing, strong job growth, high quality of life and a slightly lower than average cost of living have helped propel the rapid growth in the Triangle. The threecounty area lures nearly 80 new residents a day, most of them young. The average age in Raleigh and Durham is 32, and in Chapel Hill it’s an even younger 26. Residents of the area are friendly, educated and diverse, with the cities’ international communities growing every day. One reason may be Raleigh’s job market, which is one of the best in the nation in both hiring opportunities and job satisfaction, according to job site glassdoor.com.
Millennials On The Move Raleigh consistently tops lists of best cities for job growth and employment, which is one of the reasons young professionals are flocking to the city in droves. Realtor.com ranks the city in its top ten destinations for millennials, and it is number 12 on Forbes’ recent list of best neighborhoods (Morrisville) for millennials. The booming job market, expansive culture and constantly growing weekend and nightlife scene make Raleigh one of the best metros in the nation for young professionals. “Based on US Census numbers, Wake County alone is adding an average of 64 residents a day from all over the world,” says Tom Gongaware, president of the Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors®. “The growth demographics include ethnic minorities, millennials and seniors.” He says that while the area’s diversified economic base and continued job growth are contributing to the inmigration, residents are also attracted to the quality of life, world-class medical facilities, an agreeable climate and outstanding universities and colleges.
Boom Town For Boomers The same could be said for Boomers, age 55 and over, the other large age group relocating to the Triangle area. Nearing retirement, they prefer mild winters and enjoy living near nationallyranked medical centers like Duke University Hospital and Wake Forest Baptist.
Many older adults want to downsize and relocate; the recovering housing market and the equity in homes they’ve occupied for years makes such a move possible. They are driving a surge in new luxury housing targeted to adults age 55 and over. Housing industry experts predict the largest demand for housing in the next 15 years will be for aging boomers. A study by the N.C. Center for Public Policy finds the state’s older population is expected to double by 2030 to reach 2.2 million. Certain areas are rolling out the welcome mat for aging adults; Wake and Orange counties recently joined the AARP Network of AgeFriendly Communities, which helps participating communities appeal to all ages by creating walkable streets, easy access to public transit and opportunities to join in community activities.
Buyers in a Seller’s Market As one of the nation’s fastest growing cities, Raleigh is also one of the hottest housing markets. Realtor.com ranked it number eight on its list of top 10 housing markets for 2017. Local real estate experts say sales for the first two months of this year are already outpacing housing forecasts that predicted home sales in the Triangle would increase 5 to 6 percent in 2017. They expect this increase to continue as the Spring 2017 housing market heats up. “The year is young, but so far it is meeting our expectations,” says Gongaware. “Based on statistics from the Triangle Multiple Listing Service, the region has seen a 5.4 percent uptick in average sales prices year-over-year (comparing the first two months of 2017 to the same period last year) and an 8.2 percent increase year-over-year in closed sales.” One issue facing homebuyers will be the continued lack of inventory in both new and existing homes, causing an increase in home prices. The latest report from the Triangle Multiple Listing Service shows inventory of homes for sale for the region is still well below average, with only 2.4 months of supply compared with 3.0 months supply last February. “We expect inventory challenges to continue to accelerate this seller’s market. The wild card will be mortgage rates,” Gongaware says. “The Federal Reserve recently raised interest rates by a quarter point, but the move was expected and didn’t change mortgage rates much. However an average 30-year mortgage rate closer to 5 percent by the end of the year is not out of the question.”
Best Moves for Homebuyers As long as the demand remains strong, the outlook for future sales growth in the Triangle area will be steady, and buyers will continue to be challenged by a limited supply, faster days on the market and multiple offer situations. Real estate professionals advise homebuyers not to wait if they’re planning a move to the area. Buyers should be prepared to move quickly when they find a home they like. Start the search early and shop around for a mortgage. Be sure to talk to more than one lender since a lower interest rate can equate to thousands of dollars in savings over the life of the loan. In the tough sellers market we’re seeing now, experts also advise homebuyers to think twice about making a lowball offer unless they are prepared to lose out on the house they want. Your first offer might be your only shot at the property. Expect multiple-offer situations, and make sure your offer is high enough to put you in a position to win.