May 2023’s Median Price of Wake County Real Estate Drops slightly by $500 to $459,000


Deed of Trust activity had an increase of 13% from April’s 2023’s level.

Wake County Register of Deeds Tammy L. Brunner

For Immediate Release
Contact: Tammy Brunner

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Raleigh, NC – Wake County’s very high-value segment (real estate sales transactions worth $30 million and above) had zero transactions in the month of May. This remains a $165 million decrease from February 2023’s very-high value market amount. March and April 2023 also had zero very high-value transactions.

The High-value segment, (transactions worth between $1 million to $30 million), stood at 182 transactions totaling $347 million, a decrease of $19 million, or a 5.6% increase from April 2023.

Transactions in the Core Market (property valued at $1 million or less) saw 2067 transactions (182 less than April 2023) totaling $948 million, up 10% from April.

Total sales value from all three segments equaled just over $1.3 billion for May 2023, just over April’s total sales of $1.2 billion. 2249 transactions occurred in May 2023 which is an increase in the number of transactions compared to April's total sales of 2041.

Median sales prices

The median sales price of a parcel of Wake County real estate for May 2023 was $459,000 down only $500.00 from April 2023 price of $459,500.

Changes in median sales prices tend to be caused by activity in the core market. The occurrence or non-occurrence of large transactions has virtually no impact on the calculation of median values because there are so few of those transactions. 92% May transactions occurred in the core market.

Lending saw an increase in May 2023

Real estate lending activity in May increased by 11% from April’s level and compared to May 2022, it was down 29% There were 3195 deed of trust transactions in May, where April 2023’s deed of trust transactions showed 2869 – an increase of 326 transactions.

Real estate lending activity has two primary components.

  1. The first is lending that coincides with a transfer of ownership of real estate. This is seen in the typical residential home sale where simultaneously a seller’s loan is paid off and a buyer takes out a new loan as ownership is transferred by deed.
  2. The second is where a new loan secured by real estate is taken out, but there is not a change in ownership of the underlying property. This is the situation in the typical mortgage refinancing or second mortgage transaction.

The relative strength of the second type of lending activity can be quantified by comparing the ratio of deeds of trust to deeds in a period. Relatively more deeds of trust signify increasing refinance of mortgage loans.

May saw the gap between deeds of trust and deeds volume continue to narrow. Indicating the refinancing market continues to slow down.

Long-Term Trends in Real Estate Activity

Aggregate value of real estate transactions

Real estate transactions tend to be seasonal; it is useful to compare monthly results to the corresponding month of prior years. The following chart shows the aggregate value of real estate transfers in Wake county linearly (month by month) from January 2021 through year-to-date 2023.

Aggregate value of real estate transactions - linear

The following chart shows the aggregate dollar value of real estate transfers in Wake County linearly (month by month) from January 2021 through year-to-date 2023. Because real estate transactions tend to be seasonal, this information should be evaluated in conjunction with the year-over-year comparison as shown in the preceding chart.

Deed volume

The following chart shows the number of deeds recorded in Wake County for each month from January 2021 through year-to-date 2023. Numbers of deeds recorded reflect the velocity of real estate activity without regard to the dollar value of a transaction.

Real estate lending

This chart shows the number of deeds of trust recorded in Wake County for each month from January 2021 through year-to-date 2023. A deed of trust is the legal instrument used in North Carolina to secure a loan with real estate used as collateral.

Methodology and Additional Information

The statistics in this report are derived from instruments recorded in the office of the Wake County Register of Deeds. Under North Carolina law, changes in property rights in real estate, including security interests in real estate, are recorded with the Register of Deeds of the county where the real estate is located.

The value of real estate transferred is measured by excise tax assessed on the consideration in a real estate transaction. Excise taxes are calculated as $1 in tax for every five hundred dollars of consideration. About 99% of these transactions were property transfers by deed and the balance were miscellaneous transactions such as acquisitions of a right of way. The calculation of the aggregate value of real estate includes all transactions. The calculation of the median price includes all transactions where the property containing excise tax was transferred by deed.

The number of deeds and deeds of trust recorded with the Register of Deeds reflects the total volume of property and loan transactions regardless of the dollar value of the real estate or the amount of the loan. The number of deeds includes transfers where monetary consideration did not change hands, such as transfers within a family. In May 2023, 24% of deeds attracted no excise tax. In 2021, that percentage was 25% in the first quarter, 20% in the second quarter, 21% for the third quarter, and 23% for the fourth quarter.

For a complete picture of Wake County real estate activity, the information in this report should be considered in conjunction with data available from other sources, such as rezoning applications and new building permits, plus other information published by the Register of Deeds available at

Contact: Tammy Brunner, Register of Deeds
O. 919-856-5460

This report was initially released on June 2, 2023.

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