RALEIGH – More Wake County real estate transferred ownership in February 2022 than last month, but prices keep increasing.

So says a new report from the Wake County Register of Deeds shows.

The median sales price of a parcel of real estate in the county increased to $420,000 in February, up $10,000 from the month prior, the report found.

That mark is a new record high, and is $85,000 higher than the median sale price in February 2021, when real estate data showed a median sale price of $335,000.  The prior high was December 2021, when the median sale price was $411,000.

Triangle-wide, and in Wake County, inventory of available homes for sale remains low.  Some buyers are prepared to do whatever it takes to win a contract to purchase a house, including offering more than $100,000 above the list price of the property, WRAL TechWire found.

“When you look at the numbers and you look at the environment we live in here and it’s such a great place to live, it’s not that surprising,” said Luther Snyder, Wake County Register of Deeds Deputy Director. “Because people want to be here and you just can’t build real estate homes and home dwellings fast enough to quench the demand.”

The register of deeds office said the single-family home sales market is driving the surge.

The latest report, released on March 18, shows 2,030 sales in February, up from 1,986 in January 2022, or a change of 2 percent. Sales in January 2022 were down by 34 percent compared to the prior month, WRAL TechWire reported in February.

Prepare for a bidding war: Most Triangle home sales top list price, some by $100K+

Lending activity

The report also found that lending activity decreased month-over-month, even though sales rose month-over-month.  There were 4,764 deed of trust transactions in February 2022, the report found, which is down 36 percent from the prior year.

The gap in lending, between deed of trust filings compared to deed filings, that saw a widening during the prior two years, now appears to have returned to pre-COVID pandemic levels, the report notes.

“This gap, compared to a baseline of early 2020, quantifies the level of strength in the mortgage refinance market,” the report reads.  While the gap is narrowing, it remains consistent, the report noted.  “Deeds and Deeds of Trust transaction volume is nearing the pre-pandemic demarcation of February 2020.”

Mortgage interest rates have recently increased, and there have been more than twice as many mortgage refinance transactions than new home loan transactions, when a deed would be recorded, since the pandemic began, WRAL TechWire reported earlier this month.

Since pandemic began, 2x more refinances than new home loans in Triangle

A new analysis from Carolina Demography at UNC-Chapel Hill ranks the Wake County towns with the highest median home price over the last five years.

Apex tops the list with a median home price of $386,800. Cary is just short of that at $385,300. Rolesville, Holly Springs, and Morrisville finish out the highest five.

A lot of people anticipate it’s going to level out – that it’s not going to reach $600, 700,” said realtor Dana Ben. “The property’s going to appreciate and they’re going to have more equity in the home, so that’s a good thing. It’s just long-term gratification that’s the hard part.”

The trend doesn’t just cover single-family homes. The five biggest real estate sales in February were all apartment complexes – totaling nearly $300 million.