Cumberland County existing home sales represented more than half the homes sold in the 12-county Fayetteville regional housing market over the last year.

Meanwhile, resales have shown a steady increase in home pricing and volume growth, and supply and demand remains balanced in the new construction sector.

As for a nationwide glance, the overall forecast is a positive one for the housing industry.

Those were among the primary takeaways Tuesday afternoon from the 2019 State of the Real Estate Market held before roughly 450 real estate office owners and brokers at the Ramada Plaza Bordeaux Convention Center in Fayetteville.

The program provided insights into the 2018 home-buying and selling activity in the surrounding area as well as some predictions for the upcoming year.

Zan Monroe, who is chief executive officer of the Longleaf Pine Realtors, presented the latest association statistics on the market’s resales.

The upcoming year, he said, looks like it will be similar to 2018.

The market volume of resales expanded by 10 percent, according to Monroe. Interest rates, he noted, are holding.

Over the entire Fayetteville regional housing market, 85 percent of the homes sold last year were resales. That left 15 percent of the sales in new construction.

In 2018, Monroe said, a total of 7,369 existing home properties sold in the entire region, which was up nearly 700 resales from 2017. Cumberland represented 55 percent of those sales, with 4,048 having closed at a median price $127,000.

Eighty-seven percent of those regional market sales were below $250,000. On average, those homes remained on the market for a median 42 days and sold at a median price of $145,162.

Approximately 61 percent of the existing resales were priced between $100,000 and $250,000. Those houses priced above $250,000 started to thin out, Monroe said.

“Those above $350,000,” said Monroe, “were a very small piece of the market.”

“Our prices are very affordable,” Monroe said.

Besides Cumberland, the dozen counties in the Fayetteville regional housing market include Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Moore and Robeson counties.

“In the marketplace we service,” he said, “Cumberland is the biggest market but Harnett and Hoke (counties) are growing. And Lee and Robeson (counties) are all growing. Lee County is having some pretty spectacular growth from being a very small market to something bigger.”

Dave Evans, who compiles local real estate statistics and is the owner of Main Street Realty, presented the local numbers on new construction.

Among them, 1,317 new homes sold in the entire market at an average price of $245,188. Over the last seven years, new construction sales in the entire market have slipped on an annual basis. In 2012, those sales stood at 1,979.

“In new construction,” Evans said, “we haven’t grown that much. We’re kind of flat. We’re looking to see what we can do to improve that big constraint on new construction — not being able to get the prices that they need in order to stay in business.

The inventory keeps shrinking because builders can’t get the price points that they need, he said. While supply and demand is balanced in this housing sector of the regional market, prices will likely be going up because the cost of lumber, shingles and labor is all increasing.

The volume of the market is expected to hold steady.

“In the future, I think we’ll have a good market,” Evans said. “I don’t think we’ll see another 10-percent gain. I think we’re going to continue to be good. I don’t see any negatives. At least, new construction should stay flat. If we stay like we’re going now, it should be good news for homeowners.”

National economist Lawrence Yun called Fayetteville undervalued compared to Charlotte and Raleigh. Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, reviewed the housing market nationwide via a live video feed from Washington, D.C.

“What is the state of the housing market currently?” Yun asked rhetorically. “I would say based on numbers, it shows some softness about buyer traffic, buyers signing contracts and the closing deals. It is down sizeably, down 10 percent from one year before. That December sales number from one year before. The prices, I feel, are rising. But rising much softer, only 3 percent from one year before.”

Staff writer Michael Futch can be reached at mfutch@fayobserver.com or 910-486-3529.