Boone Real Estate Report: Interest Rates Fall Near Record Low as Sales Surge

Published Monday, August 1, 2016 at 9:42 am

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The local real estate economy continues to follow a familiar tune – sales hit new highs, interest rates remain near historic lows, and inventory is just keeping up with the pace.

Those three trends combined for an incredible month of sales in June, when local Realtors® sold more homes that month than they have in almost nine years.

It’s a good time to be in the market.

In the first half of the year, local Realtors® sold 866 homes worth $207.3 million. Those sales are a 25 percent increase over the same span last year (692), and 50 percent more than the first six months of 2014 (577).

The median sold price has also risen in that three-year span, from $175,000 in 2014 to $200,000 this year.

This year’s numbers were boosted by an incredible June when Realtors® sold 208 homes, according to the High Country Multiple Listing service, which is maintained by the High Country Association of Realtors® and records Realtor® sales in Ashe, Alleghany, Avery and Watauga counties.

It was the busiest month of sales since August 2007, when 233 homes were sold.

Combined sales for June were $55.45 million. The median sold price – the point at which exactly half of homes sold were this price and exactly half were below – was $216,500. That’s the highest recorded so far this year, and the most lucrative since last December ($216,750).

Sales have been so furious inventory is treading water. As of June 25 there were 2,978 active listings within the MLS. Three weeks later, as of July 17, that count had dropped slightly to 2,975.

A contributing factor to the flurry of activity are interest rates, which continue to defy expectations.

As of July 28, Freddie Mac reported the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate to be 3.48 percent, a slight increase from the previous week (3.45) but still near the record low 3.31 percent rate announced in November 2012. The 15-year fixed rate now stands at 2.78 percent.

Both marks are well below where they were at the start of the year, at 3.97 percent and 3.26 percent, respectively.

In monetary terms the contrast is striking. A $300,000 home purchased in January with a 30-year loan would have had an estimated monthly payment of $1,427, and a total loan amount of $513,742.

That same home purchased today would have an estimated monthly payment of $1,344 (a reduction of $83) on a total loan of $483,763 (about $30,000 less).

“Home sales continue to benefit from the persistently low mortgage rates with June’s new home sales coming in at an annualized rate of 592,000 homes – its fastest pace since 2008,” said Freddie Mac chief economist Sean Becketti in a statement.

For more information on the local home market, visit www.highcountryrealtors.org.

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