High Country Association of Realtors: August Real Estate Sales Boom

Published Friday, September 23, 2016 at 9:59 am

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The busiest month in recent memory. That’s how local Realtors will remember August.

Realtors in Ashe, Avery, Alleghany and Watauga counties sold 240 homes that month, according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service (MLS). It was the second time in the past three months they sold more than 200 homes (209 sales record in June).

There has been only one other month since 2007 when so many homes were sold – 233 in August of 2007. That was before Avery and Alleghany counties joined the High Country Association of Realtors (HCAR).

With four months remaining in the calendar year, Realtors are on pace to well surpass sales recorded in 2015.

“The August sales figures continue to illustrate the growing vitality of the High Country housing market,” said Tim Carter, president of the HCAR. “Local Realtors are excited about what the market has to offer as we enter into the fall selling season.”

According to the MLS, the 240 homes sold in August were worth a combined $59.75 million. The median sold price – the point at which exactly half of homes sold were above this price and the other half below – was $210,000.

The median sold price through the first eight months of the year was $200,250. It was $199,000 at this point last year.

To put the median prices in historical perspective, when Realtors sold 233 homes in August 2007 the median price was $247,500.

Last August, Realtors in the four-county area sold 200 homes with a median sale price of $205,000. It was the busiest month of the year.

The longstanding buyers’ market continues to attract both buyers and sellers. Since the start of June, local Realtors have sold 624 homes. Yet inventory has kept pace, declining only 1 percent in that span. As of September 12 there were 2,867 active listings within the MLS.

Interest rates also continue to motivate buyers. Almost half of the homes sold in August were financed by a conventional loan (118), as buyers took advantage of the lowest rates in years.

For most of the summer – from early June to mid-September – the average rate for a 30-year mortgage was below 3.48 percent. That 11-week streak was broken September 12, when it rose to 3.5 percent, according to Freddie Mac.

A year ago the 30-year rate was 3.91 percent. Someone who purchased a $300,000 home then would have an estimated monthly payment of $1,417 toward a total $510,021 mortgage.

That same house, at this week’s rates, would have an estimated monthly payment of $1,347 toward a $484,968 mortgage.

The 15-year rate is 2.77 percent. It was 3.11 a year ago.

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