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Wake County News > Posts > Register of Deeds Report on Post COVID-19 Core Real Estate
June 09
Register of Deeds Report on Post COVID-19 Core Real Estate



Tuesday, June 9, 2020
For Immediate Release

Contact: Luther Snyder, Deputy Director
O. 919-856-5462 M. 919-369-7045

Register of Deeds Report on Post COVID-19 Core Real Estate

Market Activity – May 2020
Residential Property Activity is Relatively Stronger at Higher Price Point Ranges

An analysis of post COVID-19 core market real estate transactions in Wake County released by Charles Gilliam, Register of Deeds, reveals that the market for higher-priced residences is holding up relatively well following economic restrictions introduced in March 2020.

The following chart shows the number of transactions in the core market in May 2020 as compared to the average month of the first quarter of 2020. For property valued in price categories at $250,000 and higher, the number of sales was generally up from the first quarter.

The core market comprises transactions valued a $1 million or less.


Sales of property over $1 million collapsed in the post-COVID month of May 2020 compared to the first quarter of 2020. Sales of property in the core market ($1 million and below) also declined, but not as dramatically. Additional information, including results for transactions in the one million dollar and up price range, was published by the Register of Deeds earlier this month and is available at

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 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 transactions are property transfers by deed and the balance are miscellaneous transactions such as acquisitions of a right of way. The data in this report includes all transactions.

The core market is defined as property valued at $1 million and below. In May 2020, more than 98% of transactions were in the core market.

The first quarter average month was calculated by summing transactions in January, February, and March and dividing the sum by three. For the chart presented in this report, there are 2160 data points for the first quarter average month and 2,233 data points for May.

The median Wake County real estate sales price for both the first quarter of 2020 and the fourth quarter of 2019 was $310,000. It was $320,000 for the month of May 2020.

Deeds and other instruments recorded with the register of deeds include transfers of interests in real estate where monetary consideration did not change hands, such as transfers within a family. No excise tax is due on such deeds and, therefore, they are not included in the data presented in this report. In May 2020, 19% of deeds attracted no excise tax and in the first quarter, the percentage was 21%.

This report was initially released on June 9, 2020.


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