RALEIGH – If you are looking to buy a home in the Triangle, remember this: Speed matters.

According to data in a new study, the Raleigh-Durham market ranked first in the nation in the year-over-year decrease in the average number of days a listed property is available on the market prior to going under contract. As of August 2021, the average days on market in the Raleigh-Durham market was 16, down 63.6% year-over-year.

Nationally, home sales dropped by 3.5% in August compared to July, and the median sales price fell by 1.2% to $335,000, the report from RE/MAX found. Triangle sales and prices have cooled, too. The study authors noted that a drop in home sales in August is a “seasonal norm.”

But the report also found that in addition to speed, the Raleigh-Durham market was among the markets nationwide with the fewest homes available for sale.

According to the report, the Raleigh-Durham housing market tied with four other markets for the lowest available months of supply, or the measure that tracks the available homes listed for sale on the market, with a 0.6 months of supply.

In the Triangle, that’s a decrease of 53.8% year-over-year, the report found. That ranked as the fifth highest decrease in this indicator in the 51 markets measured.

Housing boom over? Triangle prices fall in August but agents aren’t panicking

“The slight seasonal decline in home sales from July to August was countered by this being the second-highest August sales total in the 13-year history of our report,” said Nick Bailey, president of RE/MAX, LLC, in a statement. “So, although we appear to be past the blistering summer peak, the market is still very active.”

Historically, real estate markets do fluctuate in August, the report author’s noted. The average change from July-to-August was a decrease of 1% in median sales price nationally from 2015 to 2019, RE/MAX found, which is slightly lower than the decrease of 1.2% in 2021.

But, while that market fluctuation may be typical month-over-month, homes are, on average, still appreciating, with year-over-year median sales price up by 13.2% nationally, the report found.

And home values in Raleigh are still increasing, a recent report from Zillow found. According to the Zillow data, the typical home value is $363,693 in Raleigh, up 3.6% from July 2021 and an increase of 23.4% compared to August of 2020. Additionally, the Zillow report indicated that in Raleigh’s real estate market, the available inventory rose 1.5% compared to July 2021, but is nearly 54% lower than August 2020.

“The drop in home prices might signal to potential sellers that it’s time to get off the fence in case they fall further, which in turn could draw more buyers back into the mix,” said Bailey. “In any case, it seems likely that the combination of super-quick sales and a severe lack of inventory will be with us for the foreseeable future.”

The latest new construction data

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released on Tuesday showed an increase in new construction for residential units in August 2021 compared to July 2021.

The data showed an increase of 6% in building permits in August 2021 compared to July 2021, and a 13.5% year-over-year increase.

And in August 2021, housing starts increased by 3.9% compared to July 2021, a 17.4% year-over-year increase. The AP reported that the strength in new housing starts comes from apartment construction, not residential construction, noting that apartment construction is up 21.6%.

But housing completions were down 4.5% in August 2021 compared to July 2021.

Completions were a 9.4% increase compared to completions in August 2020.