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High Country Association of Realtors: Local Real Estate Market Growth Continues

Local real estate sales continue to increase, with first quarter activity this year almost surpassing $100 million.

Individual sales remained strong, a longstanding trend as year-over-year sales activity continued to spike. Interest rates, meanwhile, are trending down.

In the first three months of 2017, realtors in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties sold 394 homes worth $99.82 million. That’s a 12 percent increase in sales compared to the first quarter of 2016 (351), and 30 percent greater than 2015 (302).

The median sold price so far this year is also higher than last, with the mid-point price of all homes sold since January $206,000, according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service. The median price through the first three months of 2016 was $195,000.

Inventory is slowly growing. As of April 19, there were 2,044 active listings within the MLS. There were 2,388 a year ago, and almost 2,500 at this point in early April 2015.

The limited supply is due to an unrelenting demand, as monthly sales figures continue outpacing previous years. In March, local realtors sold 172 listings. That’s 26 percent higher than March 2016 (136) and 51 percent higher than March 2015 (114).

The total sales value for the month was $41.58 million, with a median sold price of $212,500. It was the fourth time in the past six months the median sold price surpassed $200,000.

Buyers last month encountered interest rates which have yet to stabilize since year’s start. March opened with the average rate on a 30-year mortgage at 4.1 percent. It went to 4.3 percent by mid-month, and has fallen since.

As of April 13, the average 30-year fixed rate was 4.08 percent, the lowest recorded since January 19. A year ago the rate averaged 3.58 percent, according to loan giant Freddie Mac.

The average 15-year fixed rate was 3.34 percent.

Nationally, sales are on the upswing, according to the National Association of Realtors.

“Being the warmest February in decades also played a role in kick-starting prospective buyers’ house hunt,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.