Realtors have never seen anything like it: Alamance County housing market sees low inventory, high competition Elizabeth Pattman Times-News Published 6:30 a.m. ET Apr. 7, 2021 The
REALTORS® have never seen anything like it
Dated: April 7 2021
Realtors have never seen anything like it: Alamance County housing market sees low inventory, high competition
Elizabeth Pattman Times-News
Published 6:30 a.m. ET Apr. 7, 2021
The housing market across the country is more competitive than ever before and Alamance County is no exception.
Local realtors say they’ve never seen anything like it.
"I've been doing this for 23 years," Cindy Dudley with the Dudley Realty Group said. "This is the craziest market. We've never seen a market like this."
Bill Sargeson with Allen Tate Realtors echoed similar thoughts, calling the market "unprecedented" and "incredibly competitive."
In early 2020 as the pandemic settled into the US, home sales dropped nearly 40 percent, according to HouseCanary, a real estate technology and analytics company. By May, though, sales had started to recover as many took advantage of the extremely low mortgage rates available.
What's creating the competition?
Dudley said she believes the local spike in the market is caused by two big factors: people moving into North Carolina and people taking advantage of record-low mortgage rates.
"A lot of people are moving to North Carolina and trying to get out of up north. We've got a great interstate system and Alamance County is like in the middle of everything. If you live here, you can get to a lot of places in an hour," she said.
Sargeson said his agency is seeing a similar influx of buyers from all over the country wanting to move into the area due to the cost of living and favorable tax rates.
Millennials in particular are taking advantage of the low interest rates, Dudley said, because they'd rather spend their money to own something than give away rent money.
"In the history of mortgage (rates), when have they ever been 3 percent? They're usually 7 to 8 to 9 (percent). We always sell houses, but it's such cheap money right now," she added.
Sargeson said he's seen a lot of these first-time homebuyers "flooding the market," but there's also a significant amount of investors and cash buyers purchasing houses.
"They know real estate is a safe investment," Sargeson said.
How are these factors affecting the market?
As demand spiked, inventory couldn’t keep up.
As of Monday, April 5, there were 52 single-family homes and 17 townhomes for sale in Alamance County, according to Dudley. Only two of those homes are listed under $100,000 and only nine between $100,000 and $200,000, which typically appeal to first-time buyers.
"In a normal market, its 500 to 700 homes. In a buyer's market its 1,200," she said. "Last year at this week, we had 175 single-family homes ... and 34 townhomes."
Potential sellers knowing there is low inventory is only compounding the problem, Dudley said.
"There's no inventory and sellers don't know where to go so they're scared to list," she explained.
Sargeson added that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on the amount of inventory available.
"When COVID really came into the mainstream media about this time last year, a lot of people don't know what's going to happen with it so they've elected not to sell and they're staying put," he said.
As of February 2021, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said housing inventory hit a record low of 1.03 million units available nationwide, down by more than 29 percent year over-year. At that time, unsold inventory sat at a two-month supply, meaning all properties would be sold within two months given the current sales pace.
"In a normal market, a buyer will call you and you'll say, 'Let's go look at the house this weekend.' You can't do that today. If the house comes on the market today, we have to go look at it today if we're going to have a chance at it," Sargeson said.
For those who do want to sell, it's a great time, the local realtors said. With competition so tight, prices have risen in response to the demand.
"In that environment, you have a lot of buyers so, if the property is in good condition, people want it because it's still cheap money," Dudley said. "Almost all homes are going on multiple offers. ... People are paying 5, 6 or 10 percent more."
"I've had several listings of homes that we'll get five to 20 offers and in many cases, several of those offers will be cash and over asking price," Sargeson added.
The NAR said properties sold in an average of 20 days as of February and the median price of a home hit $313,000, up nearly 16 percent year-over-year.
"The negotiation goes up and up and up. Now you have to guess how much more can I entice them to take my offer," Dudley said.
For example, a client of hers bought their home five years ago. Looking to sell it now, the client is making a 30 percent profit, Dudley said.
"Who would have ever thought they'd be able to sell, pay off all their debt and have money left for a new house," she said.
That client is now renting a home while they wait for the right time to purchase a new one.
"I've had buyers where we've written 10 offers on 10 different houses and we just haven't been strong enough to be the winning offer," Sargeson explained.
In a normal market, buyers only submit one to two offers before getting home, he said. "It's a perfect storm and it's happening all over the country," Dudley said.
How long will it last?
With this "perfect storm" of low interest rates causing an increase in demand but low inventory limiting supply, the realtors said they don't see an end in sight to this level of
competition in the housing market.
"I think as long as interest rates stay the way they are and inventory stays this tight, I don't see it stopping," Sargeson said.
"I think it's going to be at least a year and a half (that the market remains this competitive)," Dudley estimated.
With no end in sight, Sargeson and Dudley offered the following tips for navigating the market:
Be competitive and understand the market: Dudley suggests working with an experienced realtor who knows how to write a competitive offer.
Get pre-approved by your lender: In a normal market, a pre-qualification will suffice, but in today's competitive environment, both realtors suggest getting pre-approved by your lender. This means you've already gone through the underwriting process for your mortgage and you're just waiting on an appraisal of the home.
Be patient and flexible: As Sargeson said buyers should "realize that buying a home is a process; it's not a sprint."
Prepare your property: While demand is high, your home still needs to be in good shape. Dudley recommends decluttering, freshening up the space and staging your home a bit before listing it. "You sell it first on the internet," she said.
"Even though we're in a strong seller's market, your home still needs to be in good condition," Sargeson added.
Price it right: Houses are getting offers well over list price right now, but that doesn't mean you can list your home for whatever price you want. If you price it too high, it will sit on the market too long. Sargeson said it's still a good idea to list your home at market value.
"If you have a house on the market for two weeks," Dudley said, "then something's wrong with it."
Elizabeth Pattman is the trending topics reporter for the Times-News in Burlington, covering business, COVID-19 and all things trending. Contact Elizabeth (she/her) at
4/7/2021 Alamance County housing market sees unprecedented competition, prices
email@example.com. I'm also available on social media @EPattmanTN on Twitter or @burlingtontimesnews on Instagram.
Originally from Connecticut I moved to North Carolina in 1995. With a long tenure previously working for the two largest national home centers, I am well versed in home construction, negotiating terms....