The home pictured is the highest priced home in Durham at the time this was written. It’s on the water in Treyburn on Vintage Hill Court. It has almost 11,000 square feet and 5 bedrooms and 5 full baths. It is described as “a breathtaking estate with a classic European design. If you want more information about it click this link. The link won’t last forever, so if you are reading this in November of 2017, there may not be anything there.
A Good Year in Ordinary Durham
These homes are sometimes called “executive homes,” which I find a little strange but for my purposes I define them as anything priced $750,000 or more. Before the recession I tracked activity in this segment closely but didn’t bother when the market died and price slashing took many homes out of the category. It was a good time to buy if you were capable of buying in that market.
Durham has traditionally been the odd man out in the Triangle luxury market. As of today (election day!) there were 39 active listings in the MLS over this amount in Durham county which represented a little less than 5% of the total active listings.
In Wake County there were 393 homes in this price range and that represented about 11% of total listings there. In Orange County, there were 82 homes listed at this price range representing 17% of the total listings. The picture in Chatham County was similar with 86 listings representing 18.3% of the total listings in the county. Why Chatham? Zipcode 27517 covers southern Chapel Hill and northern Chatham County, giving all homes there a Chapel Hill address. 44% of the high end homes in the two counties are in this zip code and 60% of those in all of Chatham County.
These four counties represent 93% of the homes in this price range in the entire Triangle MLS which is about 14 or so counties, more or less. (There is some overlap)
One question is why does Durham have so few listings in this price range? The primary reason is that it does not have the upscale housing stock of its neighboring communities. For many years Durham was the less affluent point in the Triangle. Has Durham been catching up with its neighboring counties since the revitalization of its Downtown and overall health of its economy?
There is some evidence that this is the case. If you look at a very simplistic calculation of absorption rate Durham has outperformed all its neighboring counties. In this segment 71 homes have been sold in the last year or are currently under contract in Durham. This means that the current 39 listings represent a little more than six months of inventory. Orange County’s 99 sales and homes under contract shows that their 82 listings represents about 10 months of inventory. Chatham is at about 16 months and Wake at about 8.5 months.
It is a surprise to me that Durham is leading in this category. But more surprising was that the average sales price and cost per square foot in Durham is right on par with Orange and ahead of both Wake and Chatham Counties. We used to be able to say that you could get more for your money in this price range in Durham (at least as measured by cost per square foot) than you could in Chapel Hill, but that gap is disappearing.
Ordinary Durham’s continued revival will tighten the market in this price range. The other interesting note though is that the market response to this may come in the form of the construction downtown of condos, and not from the traditional detached homes. One of the 39 current listings is a “place holder” for residences in a condo development Downtown that may add significantly to the housing stock. This one is at One City Center, the development on Corcoran Street opposite the C21 Museum and Hotel that old timers will remember as the CCB Building. Click here for the One City Center website.
It has been interesting over the years to watch this segment of the market. Wake County pretty much stands on its own but Durham, Orange and Chatham are blending together. Two developments with a lot of activity, The Oaks and Meadowmont straddle the Orange/Durham County line. As Durham’s school system gets stronger and stronger it will continue to blur the distinction between the two markets.
This data comes from just doing routine searches in the MLS system, so any Realtor can do this kind of analysis, but it fascinates me. If you have questions about specific neighborhoods or homes, for that matter, I’m happy to respond. Marketing homes is what I do for a living.