Research Triangle home sales fell 45 percent in January

Sales of Triangle homes hit a 10-year low in January as prospective buyers — hopeful for bigger price drops, or fearful of unemployment — let caution trump low mortgage rates.

There were 729 homes sold in Durham, Johnston, Orange and Wake counties last month — a 45 percent drop from the same month in 2008, according to Triangle Multiple Listing Service data. It was the biggest year-over-year drop since the housing bust spread to the Triangle.

Winter is typically a slow time for home sales. This winter, however, has been replete with layoffs and economic turbulence, causing many potential buyers to hold off on purchases until the economy shores up.

The trepidation came even as sellers budged on prices and as mortgage rates hit a record low in January.

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