What Type of Homes Are Selling in 2021?


By Gary A. Miller

In the multiple listing service (MLS) Realtors use to broker the sale of homes, each entry is categorized as a particular “property type.” In the MLS, there are only four property type options: attached, condo, detached, and manufactured.

These categories seem fairly straightforward, but it can be slightly more complicated, primarily due to the way condos are defined. The average home buyer tends to think of the “attached home” category as denoting townhomes. However, some structures that may look like a typical townhome can actually be classified in the MLS system as “condos.”

The North Carolina Real Estate Commission notes the difference between the two as follows: “Condo unit owners own the inside of their units. Townhouse owners own the complete unit, including exterior surfaces and the land on which the unit is built.”

With that clarification noted, I thought it would be interesting to compare sales across these four categories of property types within the five zip codes that make up southern Orange County (27510, 27514, 27516, 27517, and 27707).

Manufactured Homes
I’ll begin with the smallest segment of the 2021 housing market to date: manufactured homes. As of this writing, only one manufactured home sold within the zip code boundaries. It was listed for $189,999 and sold for $193,500 after only four days on the market. The home was 1,713 square feet, translating to a price-per-square-foot of $112.96. The home was built in 1998.

Attached Homes
Attached homes constitute the second smallest segment of the 2021 housing market to date, with 91 closed sales in 2021. The average listing price was $328,177 and the average sold price was $342,860 – selling for an average of $14,683 over asking price in an average of 11 days on market. The attached homes selling this year have featured an average of 1,811 square feet, which converts to a price-per-square-foot of $189.95. The average build year of the sold attached homes was 1995.

The second-largest segment of the 2021 housing market to date was the condo category, with 135 closed sales. The average condo listing price was $251,390, while the average sold price was $255,773, reflecting an average sold price of $4,383 above asking. Condos sold in an average of 14 days on market. The average condo sold at $297.72 per square foot and the an average size was 1,072 square feet. The condos sold this year were older than the sold attached homes, with an average build year of 1988.

Detached Homes
By far the largest segment of the 2021 housing market is detached homes. With 570 closed transactions as of this writing, more than twice the number of detached homes were sold than of the other three housing segments combined (227). In the five zip codes of southern Orange County, the average asking price of the sold detached homes was $624,972, and the average sold price was $642,745. These detached homes thus sold for an average of $17,773 above asking price after an average of 20 days on market. This days-on-market figure for detached homes is driven upward by several extreme outliers among the sales, and this was also true to a lesser degree for condos. Not surprisingly, the detached homes were much larger than homes in the other segments, averaging 2,838 square feet and selling for an average of $235.11 per square foot. In this regard, the detached homes were cheaper than condos on a price-per-square-foot basis. The average build year for detached homes was 1985.

The table below summarizes the averages for each segment for easy comparison:

Property Type


List Price

Sold Price

Amount Over Asking

Square Feet

Price Per Square Foot

Year Built


































Gary A. Miller is co-owner of Red Bloom Realty. He has lived and worked in Chapel Hill off and on since 1994 and is an avid musician, kayaker, traveler, and former educator.

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3 Comments on "What Type of Homes Are Selling in 2021?"

  1. Your article: “What Type of Homes Are Selling in 2021?” is not clear on the topic of condos. It would have been helpful to have distinguished different kinds of condo, for example those that are residential communities with single-family homes and/or town homes that operate as a condo, or those that are high-rise condos.

  2. Hi Frank. Thanks for the comment. As noted, the MLS bunches all condo types together (regardless of the building type), and for the purpose of this article, I did not take a deeper dive into unpacking the category. However, perhaps I can focus on the variety of condos specifically in next month’s article!

  3. Few attached houses are being sold because there are so few of them, and so few being built in Orange County. Costs are so high because land prices are high, Yet, there are some lots which, if subdivided, could yield 7-9 townhomes per acre at a reasonable price. That is how local governments can create affordable mixed income housing throughout the town–and country, instead of creating ‘low income’ developments that segregate people by race and class. It is time for a community development corporation to be established to do this work.

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