Home sales rise again in May across Carolinas

Published 1:18 pm Friday, June 18, 2010

Federal tax credits apparently helped spur another jump in sales of existing homes across North Carolina in May.

Existing homes sales were up nearly 40 percent in Buncombe County in May compared to May 2009.

In both the Charlotte and Triangle areas, sales rose nearly 33 percent for the same period, reaching the highest level in nearly two years. Sales of existing homes climbed about 24 percent in the Greensboro area.

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Realtors said tax credits of up to $8,000 for first-time buyers and $6,500 for repeat buyers brought more buyers to the market in both April and May. Buyers who put a property under contract by May 1 and close on the deal by June 30 are eligible for the credits.

Realtors says the May figures include many contracts that actually went under contact in April. They say its unclear how much demand will drop following the expiration of the tax credits. The Triangle Multiple Listings Services reports that showings were down 30 percent in May and pending sales declined 5 percent.

Asheville realtors reported a steep decline in buyer interest after May, but some Charlotte realtors reported a minimal decline in buyer interest.

The median sales price of homes sold in May in Buncombe County declined to $200,000. Thats down from $207,000 in May 2009, but up from $186,000 in April of this year.

The average sales price in the Charlotte area in May was up 6.6 percent from a year ago, reaching $212,454, and sales prices also climbed in the Greensboro area.

In South Carolina, sales rose by about 15 percent in the Greenville area and 19 percent in the Columbia area. Year-to-date sales are up 15 percent in the Greenville area compared to the same period in 2009.


The number of people flying out of the Asheville Regional Airport rose dramatically in April following the addition of flights by AirTran Airways and United Airlines.

Airport officials say traffic was up nearly 24 percent in April compared to April 2009. They add that about 10,000 more people have used the airport in the first four months of this year compared to the same period last year, an increase of more than 12 percent.

Passenger traffic is the highest it has been at the airport since 2005. As a result, the airport encourages passengers to add more time for check-in and security.


Former U.S. Rep. Charles Taylor has negotiated to sell an 8,000-acre tract in Transylvania County to Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC), according to real estate broker Steve Towe.

CMLC is under contract to pay $33 million for the tract, which is considered one of the largest private tracts in Western North Carolina.

The tract includes the northern end of Sassafras Mountain, the highest peak in South Carolina. The property is adjacent to the Jocassee Gorges Management Area, the Greenville watershed and the Watson-Cooper Heritage Preserve.

The land reportedly is home to endangered green salamanders and many other valuable natural resources. CMLC says the land likely will fall under the authority of the N.C. Wildlife Conservation Commission as a game land.

Its an amazing opportunity for conservation, says CMLC Executive Director Kieran Roe. I think everybodys goal, including the (Taylor) familys, is that it remain usable for hunting and fishing


Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy (TJCA) is suing the Rutherford County School system for $900,000.

TJCA says it should receive the money from federal and state tax revenue designated for services to children from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.

The school system says TJCA has received more than $1.2 million in tax dollars in the past three years through payments required by law. TJCA says it has been underfunded over the past four years.

The case was scheduled to be heard in court this month.


Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy (TJCA) has begun construction of Harmon Field.

TJCA expects the new multi-purpose stadium to be ready for the 2010 fall soccer and football seasons. The new facility will include seating for 1,000 and additional parking.

The new facility is named Harmon Field in honor of the Harmon family whose contribution of time and resources helped make the stadium possible.


Cleveland County is expected to gain 250 workers at a new paper products manufacturing and distribution facility in Shelby.&bsp; Clearwater Paper says it will invest $260 million in the facility and create the jobs over the next five years. Company president, chairman and CEO Gordon Jones says Clearwater considered more than 100 sites before selecting Shelby. He cited the areas reasonable taxes, good highway access, and available workforce as reasons for the selection.

Cleveland County had an unemployment rate of 13.2 percent in April.


Magna Composites, a Canadian auto-parts company, has announced plans to create nearly 330 jobs at plants in Rowan, Caldwell and Catawba counties. The company is expanding existing plants near Salisbury, Lenior and Newton over the next six years.


The City of Greenville is selling its share of the Hyatt Regency downtown for $1 million, which it plans to use to redevelop part of North Main Street.

The city has owned the ground floor of the hotel,&bsp; which has been open to the public. Hyatt has agreed to keep the atrium and plaza open to the public. The city has not determined specific uses for the proceeds from the sale.


The 27th annual Bi-Lo Charity Classic, played at 12 different courses in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina, raised more than $4.5 million this year, according to event organizers.

Nearly 1,200 golfers participated in the event, which raises funds for organizations focused on childrens needs, education and hunger relief.

Weve had as many as 1,470-or-so golfers, said tournament co-founder Larry Greer. We had almost 1,200 this year which is not bad for this economy.


Captain Eric Holmes pulled in a record-breaking catch in the annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament at Morehead City this month.

Holmes caught an 883-pound marlin, breaking the old record of 831 pounds. His Hatteras-based Citation boat earned a bonus of nearly $319,000 for being the first boat to bring in a marlin over 500 pounds.