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High Country Realtors: Another Busy Month in July

Realtors record another busy month

July was the busiest month in local real estate sales in almost a year, as buyers were undeterred by a brief spike in interest rates.

Those rates have since dropped to their lowest level so far this calendar year. At the same time, nationally, home prices are increasing as inventory tightens.

There were 204 homes worth $50.04 million sold locally in July, according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service, which tracks Realtor® activity within Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties.

That was the busiest July in at least 10 years, with sales 15 percent higher than last July (177), and 10 percent higher than July 2007 (185).

It was also the busiest month overall since last October, when 244 homes were sold.

The average sold price in July – total value divided by total sales – was $248,594.

For the year, local Realtors have sold 1,091 homes worth a combined $271.22 million. That sales mark is 3.8 percent higher than this time last year.

Even with that activity inventory has remained consistent. In early July there were 2,428 active listings within the MLS. As of August 24 that number had decreased by just four, to 2,422.

Meanwhile interest rates have dropped to their lowest point of the year. As of August 24 the average 30-year fixed rate was 3.86 percent, as reported by loan giant Freddie Mac. The average 15-year fixed rate was 3.16 percent.

Those rates were 4.03 percent and 3.29 percent, respectively, on July 13.

To put the decrease in perspective, a $300,000 home purchased with a 30-year mortgage that week in July would have incurred a total estimated cost of $521,228 and a monthly payment of $1,448.

That same house purchased in late August would cost an estimated $506,930, with a monthly payment of $1,408.

Bankrate.com surveys what it classifies as experts in the mortgage field on their opinion regarding the direction of interest rates in the coming weeks. According to its August 23 report, 54 percent of its panel expects rates to remain relatively unchanged; 31 percent predict an increase.

Other national real estate trends include increased prices and steady demand. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median sold price for existing single-family home in the second quarter of 2017 was $255,600, the highest for any quarter since early 2016.

That occurred as national existing home inventory shrunk, from 2.11 million homes for sale at the end of June 2016 to 1.96 million homes for sale the end of June 2017.

“The 2.2 million net new jobs created over the past year generated significant interest in purchasing a home in what was an extremely competitive spring buying season,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Listings typically flew off the market in under a month – and even quicker in the affordable price range – in several parts of the country. With new supply not even coming close to keeping pace, price appreciation remained swift in most markets.”