Total new-home closings: 6,111 
Population: 1,242,974 

The good: After signs of normalization, the market marches on with a new focus on the $350,000 price range.
The bad: Buyers in the $200,000 price range are forced out of the new-home market, contracting their share by 20% in February 2015.
The bottom line: With renewed focus, the early 2015 market proves Raleigh has plenty of demand left to give, by looking to the right buyers.

Early in 2014, Raleigh showed continued recovery, but signs of market normalization. As of fourth quarter 2014, those indicators bore out as year-over-year decreases in new-home starts, registering their first drop since 2010 at 2.2%. The number of vacant developed lots also decreased by 1,100 from fourth quarter 2013 levels. But come February 2015, as home buyers in the $200,000 range were squeezed out of the new-home market—contracting their share by 20%—starts in the $350,000 range hit 2007 levels. At the same time, foreclosures and REOs retreated, representing 17.8% of existing home closings in February 2015, down from 28.9% a year earlier. Those shifts may be the culprit behind a 4.5% year-over-year increase in closings registering February 2015, marking quite a turnaround from a 9.1% drop in January.