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High Country Association of Realtors: 2017 Home Sales Outpacing 2016 Rate

Midway through 2017 local real estate sales are slightly ahead of last year’s pace, according to the latest report by the High Country Association of Realtors.

The summer selling season hasn’t been as frantic as last year, but inventory is expanding. New sellers continue to enter the market, reflecting a national survey which shows strong sentiment that now is a good time to sell.

Meanwhile, interest rates after declining from a sharp increase a few weeks ago.

Through June, local Realtors sold 886 homes this year, according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which tracks Realtor sales in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties. That’s the most homes sold in that six-month span in more than 10 years.

It’s 1 percent more than this time in 2016, when 874 homes had sold. It’s also higher than in 2007, when 836 homes were sold prior to the national housing market collapse.

With regard to the summer selling season, local Realtors® sold 356 listings in May and June, a 9 percent decline from last year, when 390 homes were sold in that span.

Total sales value for the year so far was $221.62 million, with an average sale price of $250,247.

In June alone, local Realtors sold 187 listings worth $50.23 million.

Inventory has expanded. There were 2,480 active listings in the MLS as of July 27. That’s well below this time last year (2,975) and the year prior (3,104), but a 4 percent increase from mid-June when 2,330 homes were for sale.

Interest rates have long attracted buyers. The 30-year rate had declined since the start of the year, and dropped to 3.88 percent on June 29. It rebounded in mid-July, when it averaged 4.03, according to loan giant Freddie Mac.

That was the first time since May the 30-year rate surpassed 4 percent. It has since declined. As of July 27 the 30-year average rate was 3.92 percent. The 15-year average rate is 3.2 percent.

A year ago both rates were 3.48 percent and 2.78 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released its quarterly Housing Opportunities and Market Experience survey. It reported that 71 percent of homeowners think now is a good time to sell, which is up from last quarter (69 percent) and considerably more than a year ago (61 percent).

This is despite declining inventory nationally, compared to this time last year.

“There are just not enough homeowners deciding to sell because they’re either content where they are, holding off until they build more equity, or hesitant seeing as it will be difficult to find an affordable home to buy,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “As a result, inventory conditions have worsened and are restricting sales from breaking out while contributing to price appreciation that remains far above income growth.”

According to the survey, 80 percent of homeowners (unchanged from last quarter and a year ago) think now is a good time to make a home purchase.