The new year started with brisk sales for local Realtors, as home purchases in January were up 27 percent compared to a year ago. That’s according to the latest real estate sales report by the High Country Association of Realtors (HCAR).
The transactions occurred as buyers took advantage of declining interest rates. They’ve fallen sharply every week but one so far this year. Going into February the average 30-year fixed rate is matching levels last seen in mid-2016. It was 3.45 percent as of February 6.
In January, local Realtors sold 181 single-family and multi-family listings worth $63.45 million, as recorded by the High Country Multiple Listing Service (MLS). It documents sales activity by Realtors active in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, and Watauga counties.
Last January Realtors sold 142 listings worth $38.4 million. The median sold price then was $213,750. The median sold price last month was $232,000, an increase of 8.5 percent year-to-year.
As is usual for the start of a year, inventory is tight. There were 1,160 active listings within the MLS on February 10. There were just over 1,400 a year ago.
There were 265 new listings added in January.
COMMERCIAL AND LAND. There were 51 land transactions worth $4.39 million in January. That was the fewest tracts sold since last June when 45 were purchased for $5.7 million.
There were 24 plots sold within Watauga County for $2.55 million, followed by Ashe County (12 for $982,554), Alleghany County (six for $209,250) and Avery County (four for $422,000).
There were no commercial property sales in the four-county area last month. High Country Realtors did record two such transactions outside the area for $705,260.
ALLEGHANY COUNTY. Realtors sold 11 homes worth $2.28 million within the county. The median sold price was $168,000.
Last January nine listings sold for $1.65 million. The median sold price then was $135,000.
There were 128 active listings within the county as of February 10.
ASHE COUNTY. Realtors sold slightly more homes than a year ago, and at higher prices.
In January there were 32 listings sold worth $7.16 million. The median sold price was $198,750. A year ago there were 25 homes sold for $4.77 million. The median sold price was $158,500.
There were 194 active listings as of February 10.
AVERY COUNTY. The number of homes sold in Avery County last month was more than double from a year prior. Realtors sold 45 listings worth $13.8 million. That was well above the 23 listings sold for $7.35 million in January 2019.
The median sold price was up 27 percent, from $182,000 in January 2019 to $232,000 last month.
There were 277 active listings in Avery County as of February 10.
WATAUGA COUNTY. There were 75 homes sold worth $32.46 million last month, only slightly more than last year when Realtors then sold 70 homes worth $19.4 million.
The median sold price last month was $310,000, up 19 percent from the $259,650 recorded in January 2019.
There were 410 active listings in the county as of February 10.
INTEREST RATES. Mortgage rates continued a 14-month decline in February, dropping to the lowest levels in more than three years.
As of February 6, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 3.45 percent, according to loan giant Freddie Mac. It was 4.94 percent a little over a year ago, in November 2018.
As of October 31, the average 30-year rate was 3.78 percent. It has fallen or held steady almost every week since.
To put the decline in perspective, a 300,000 home purchased at the end of August would have cost approximately $502,005 with a monthly payment of $1,394. That same house bought today would cost about $481,959 with a monthly payment of $1,339.