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In Wake County, there’s a growing gap in the real estate market – WRAL Tech Wire



RALEIGH – The median home sale price in Wake County in the month of June was $383,000, according to a new analysis of real estate data conducted by the Wake County Register of Deeds, and Triangle-wide, homes are selling for about 20% more now than a year ago.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean more homeowners plan to list their property for sale to take advantage of, potentially, higher sale prices.

That’s because, not only is the median home sale price increasing— from $328,750 in January, or an increase of 16.5% during that time—a significant number of homeowners are choosing to refinance, rather than list their property.

The analysis from the Register of Deeds office found that, in Wake County, real estate lending activity in June 2021 rose 7% compared to the prior month, but was down 7.1% compared to June 2020.

The following chart shows the continuing wide gap between deeds of trust and deeds. This gap quantifies increasing strength in the mortgage refinance market. Source: Wake County Register of Deeds Office.

Real estate lending activity has two primary components:

  1. Lending that coincides with a transfer of ownership of real estate. This type of lending occurs in the typical residential home sale, which at the time of closing a seller’s loan is paid off and a home buyer takes out a new loan through an instrument known as a deed of trust, as ownership in the property is transferred by deed.
  2. A new secured loan is taken against a property, without a change of ownership. This type of lending occurs without a transfer of ownership of a parcel or property.  This is the situation in the typical mortgage refinancing or second mortgage transaction.

“The relative strength of the second type of lending activity can be quantified by comparing the ratio of deeds of trust to deeds in a period,” the analysis states.  In other words, when comparing the total number of deeds to the total number of deeds of trust, there’s a quantitative way to understand lending activity.  “Relatively more deeds of trust signify increasing refinance of mortgage loans,” the analysis states.

Reports: Housing prices in Triangle keep soaring; demand means fast sales

The chart provided by the Wake County Register of Deeds shows a significant increase in the second type of lending activity, that is, in the filing of deeds of trust without an ownership change.

Since a baseline period prior to the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic, there’s an increasing gap that quantifies increasing strength in the mortgage refinance market, the analysis of the data shows. “The gap between the two remains consistently wide,” the analysis concludes.

During the second half of 2020 and through the first half of 2021, refinancing increased for an easy-to-understand reason, said said Brad Benham, vice president and senior mortgage loan officer at Towne Mortgage of the Carolinas: rates dropped further, making a refinance more beneficial to more homeowners.

“Since values of homes have increased, some homeowners may have decided to do a cash-out refinance to consolidate debt or do home renovations,” said Benham.  But with inventory so low across the Triangle, prospective buyers who would sell their current property originally may not have considered refinancing, as they may have planned on selling their current home, noted Benham.  “However, with inventory levels making it harder for people to find their new home they may have decided to go ahead and refinance into a lower rate and stay in their current home a little bit longer.”

Good time to sell; maybe not a good time to buy?

This gap doesn’t mean there are less buyers interested in purchasing property.  According to data released this week by ShowingTime, a technology company used to coordinate real estate showings, the Triangle is among the real estate markets where the most average numbers of showings are occurring in the first five days following a property becoming available on the market.  According to their data, homes in Raleigh are still seeing as many as 30 showings in the first five days, indicating demand is still high, even as supply remains low.  The Triangle also ranks in the top five real estate markets nationally for the percentage change in average days on market, another measure of demand, dropping nearly 60% year-over-year, and now sits at 19 days, according to a new report from RE/MAX.

There’s also a gap in the market when it comes to the purchase or sale of property, new research from Opendoor revealed.  The analysis of survey data from Opendoor, which is an iBuyer active in Raleigh, Durham, and Charlotte, all among the top regions where iBuying is highest in the country, shows that while 85% of people believe it’s a good time to sell a house, only 36% believe it’s a good time to buy one.

“With Google, Apple and other tech firms’ recent announcements about adding Raleigh-Durham offices, buyer demand will only increase,” said Jon Enberg, Opendoor’s regional general manager.  “Market supply is at an all-time low and new construction as well as resale supply is not keeping pace.”

Housing pain: Apple, Google, other projects will ‘stretch’ already tight Triangle markets, experts say

Those jobs, as well as newly announced jobs in biotechnology and the life sciences, are announced with higher-than-median salaries, said Enberg, which is giving some buyers higher purchasing power.  Meanwhile, out-of-state movers are relocating to the Triangle and can get more house for less money than their cities of departure.

That means that many of movers, responding to a competitive housing market in the Triangle, are making all-cash offers on property, which recent data from the National Association of Realtors shows is happening primarily for buyers intending to make the house their primary residence.

“All of these factors are making it tough for buyers to find another home, which is leading to many using their excess cash to invest in improving their current home,” said Enberg.  To find that cash, some owners are deciding or have already decided to refinance their mortgages or take out secured lines of credit against their home, the data from the Wake County Register of Deeds suggests.

“This can lead to stronger returns on investment when they are ready to sell given the continued demand for housing,” said Enberg.

The options for homeowners who are looking to buy a new primary residence now may also include holding on to their current property and turning it into a rental property, said Benham.  That’s because they may be able to refinance into a lower rate, he noted.  That could result in an owner-turned-landlord paying less monthly in repayment of the new mortgage, and yield high rental rate income due to increasing rental rate inflation.

“Some homeowners to hold on to their property as an investment property rather than sell it when they want to move into a new home since the rate on the existing mortgage is very low,” said Benham.  “The impact on inventory is more a situation that sellers fear not being able to find another home if they put their home on the market,” he noted.

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Why hasn't climate change put a dent in luxury real estate? – BNN



About a week after NASA released satellite imagery of California’s precipitously low water reserves, Douglas Elliman published its market report for Los Angeles’s second quarter.

Price trend indicators, Elliman found, were among the highest they’d been in at least 17 years. “All of California, especially southern California, is booming,” says Jonathan Miller, president and chief executive officer of appraiser Miller Samuel Inc., which compiled the report. “Beginning with the end of the lockdown, even with rising COVID infections, it’s continuing.” 

Housing trends are rising across the U.S., in fact, with median single-family home prices in the second quarter up by at least 10 per cent from the previous year in 61 per cent of the U.S. counties surveyed by the industry database Attom.

Luxury sales in many of these areas matched or surpassed other categories, with strong results from downtown Boston (condo sales are up 118 per cent from the preceding year, according to an Elliman report) to the San Francisco Bay Area, where the number of US$3 million-plus house sales in June were higher than they’ve been since at least 2018, according to a Compass report.

But some of the top performing luxury markets in the U.S.—specifically Southern California, Colorado, and South Florida—have something less rosy in common: They’re all in the throes of extreme climate-related events.

“There’s awareness and discussion about it, but it doesn’t seem to be modifying behavior yet in the markets I cover,” says Miller.

If anything, he continues, events such as flooding and hurricanes seem, at least anecdotally, to encourage high-end construction rather than deter it. “After Hurricane Sandy, there was a tremendous discussion about flooding,” he says. “And what we ended up seeing was middle-class housing being leveled by the storm and higher-end properties taking their place.”

Climate change, Miller concludes, “doesn’t discourage development, and I think it shifts the mix from affordable to more expensive.”


No place is immune to climate change; just ask New Yorkers who saw the sky darkened for days by forest fires 2,700 miles away. But there are some locations, such as Los Angeles, where the luxury real estate market appears particularly impervious to external events.

“You were seeing packed open houses where you could see smoke [from forest fires] in the background,” Miller says, of recent years when the city was threatened by nearby wildfires.

Growth in LA’s luxury market, accounting for the top 10 per cent of sales, has been particularly pronounced. A whopping 112 houses, primarily in the city’s west side and downtown, sold in the last quarter, according to the Elliman report, for a 138 per cent rise over the same quarter last year; the average sales price was just under US$17 million.

“We’ve seen unprecedented demand,” says David Parnes, a principal at Agency real estate brokerage. “Everything is being bought up, and what that suggests to me is that this is not the end. The market is going to get even stronger.” Some properties, he says, receive 20 or 30 offers. “That means those 20 or 30 people have missed out,” he says, “which means that 20 or 30 people are still looking.” 


It’s not that wealthy buyers are delusional, brokers say; it’s just that they’ve weighed the pros and cons and are willing to shoulder the risk. 

“Clients will ask about rising water, and will talk about flood plains and ask me about the elevation” of a home, says Lourdes Alatriste, a Douglas Elliman broker in Miami. “I do believe it’s a concern. But at that level of money, should anything happen, they just close up and go.”

Luxury buyers, she continues, “have planes. They can get out.”

Other wealthy homeowners are planning for disaster. Palm Beach, Fla., residents are building bigger and higher and stronger houses, while some residents in Malibu, Calif., have attempted to add fire-protective coating to their homes.

Indeed, Alatriste, who says that demand for luxury properties is so high that many of her sales occur off-market, has had a few clients investigate flooding risks and decide not to buy. But largely, “they want to live right now, in the moment,” she says, and Florida “serves that purpose.” Also, she adds, “they get insurance.”


Colorado, which is currently being ravaged by a series of devastating wildfires, is home to numerous markets whose luxury tier has soared throughout the pandemic. There, says Gary Feldman, a broker with 36 years of experience in Aspen’s luxury real estate, “none of my clients really discuss it,” he says of the risk.

In Aspen, which saw sales dry up in the month of June due to a lack of inventory on the market, signed contracts for single family homes occurred only at or above US$5 million, according to an Elliman report.

If they’re concerned, Feldman continues, “they’d buy some place else, and where else do you buy? Everywhere has issues, and not all are climate-related. Some are social. And people are smart enough to weigh the pros and cons of the issues of the day and then decide where to go. But no one really brings it up, in my experience.”

Miller says that might change sometime soon. Climate-related events “just have to be more frequent, and more intense than they are now,” he says. “And I’m not sure when that day comes, but it will come at some point.”

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Commercial real estate firm joins global company, opens office in downtown Wilmington – Greater Wilmington Business Journal



The Efird family has been in the real estate business for more than half a century, with Frank Efird Sr. forming a company in 1965 to build homes in New Bern and Craven County.

The Efird Company bought a 1,200-acre farm near New Bern in 1967 that became River Bend Plantation, which incorporated in 1980 to become the town of River Bend. 

Frank Efird’s son, Frank Efird Jr., is now leading the family’s commercial real estate business, which recently became a franchise of global commercial real estate firm SVN and opened an office in downtown Wilmington. 

Standing behind the bar at 6 Market St., in what Efird Jr. describes as a commercial real estate “digital cafe” that serves as the office for SVN | Efird Commercial Real Estate, Efird Jr. said SVN provides options for future growth. 

During the pandemic, he said, “I was looking for opportunities to grow our commercial real estate business, and part of that is going from a home office, which I worked out of during COVID, into what is the next step, and this is that next step.”

Efird Jr., who is the managing director for SVN | Efird Commercial Real Estate, added, “When I joined the franchise, it opened up a whole new world of networking … so now I’m part of an international franchise with 200 offices and over 1,600 brokers.”

Already, the arrangement has netted Efird Jr. a national client looking for space in Pender County.

The Wilmington-based SVN franchise currently has six people working for it, and is looking to add brokers.

“We’re in growth mode,” Efird Jr. said, and interested brokers will be trained at 6 Market St. and given access to SVN technology.

“As the SVN brand grows across the globe, we are partnering with market leaders who share our vision of a collaborative, open approach to commercial real estate,”  said Kevin Maggiacomo, president and CEO of SVN, in a news release. “SVN | Efird Commercial Real Estate is another strong addition to SVN and we look forward to rapidly growing the SVN presence and culture in the Wilmington market.”

A ribbon-cutting with Wilmington Mayfor Bill Saffo for the new office is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 10, at 6 Market St.

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Altus Group reports commercial real estate market on the rise in Canada – – Daily Commercial News



TORONTO—According to Altus Group’s latest blog posts, the commercial real estate (CRE) market is on the upswing in Canada, with increasing transaction volume across most major markets and the continued return of investor confidence following the slowdown related to COVID-19 in 2020.

National investment volume in the first quarter increased 25 per cent compared to this time last year, reaching a total of nearly $15 billion, indicates a release.

The industrial sector also reported robust activity in Q1 2021, with $3.5 billion in volume, marking a 46 per cent increase compared to the same quarter last year and composing 23 per cent of total transaction volume for the quarter.

Land sectors also saw substantial increases in the first quarter, with ICI land reaching $2.4 billion in value, up 49 per cent compared to Q1 2020, and residential land reaching $3.6 billion, up 54 per cent. The two sectors make up 40 per cent of the total volume for the first quarter of 2021.

In addition, multi-family has also seen a rise of 23 per cent compared to last year, reaching just under $3.0 billion in volume.

The office market continues to be affected by pandemic-related impacts, seeing $822 million in transactions in the first quarter, down 50 per cent compared to Q1 last year.

On the other hand, the retail sector marked a 10 per cent increase in transaction volume compared to Q1 2020, reaching $1.7 billion, even though they experienced lockdowns at the beginning of the year.

Altus reports all major markets in Canada recorded growing investment volume in the first quarter of this year, aside from Edmonton dropping 45 per cent, Ottawa decreasing slightly by four per cent and Montreal remaining relatively stable, with a drop of 0.4 per cent.

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