June 15, 2012. May was a strong month for High Country property sales, with more than 100 listings sold for the second time in the last three months, and just the fifth time in the last 30.
The 104 realtor-assisted sales last month were the second most for the year, according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service (MLS) which tracks transactions in Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties.
Since March, 307 local listings have been sold, the best three-month streak since 314 sales were recorded between September and November of last year. Prior to that, the 300-mark hadn’t been broken in that span since late 2009.
“In the High Country it’s still very much a buyer’s market,” said Laurie Phillips, executive officer of High Country Association of Realtors. “Low interest rates and plenty of inventory are giving buyers a strong bargaining position.”
Total sales last month were worth $24.9 million, second highest of the year. Yet the median sold price was just $185,000, the lowest recorded for a month since March 2011.
Slightly more than a third of the properties (36) closed with prices between $200,000 and $400,000. Another 19 were sold below $100,000.
Only four properties sold for more than $500,000.
“Sales of larger homes have been slow but that may be changing,” said Phillips. “The High Country typically lags behind the national trend, which is currently experiencing strong demand for high end properties.”
May recently became the busiest month of the year for sellers to enter the local market. There were 498 new listings last month, the third most in the past three years behind only May 2010 (512) and May 2011 (510).
Listings sold last month were on the market for an average of 229, the lowest average this year since a 226-day mark in January.
Overall, the May numbers are an improvement over April, when sales sagged slightly to 89 after three straight months of growth, peaking at 114 in March. Coincidentally, that mirrors what occurred on the national level. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), pending home sales declined in April following three consecutive monthly gains, but were notably higher than a year ago.
“Housing market activity has clearly broken out at notably higher levels and is on track to see the best performance since 2007,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “All of the major housing market indicators are expected to trend gradually up.”