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Real Estate Sales Remain Strong


Local realtors sold more homes in the past 12 months than in any calendar year since 2007, according to the latest month real estate report by the High Country Association of realtors.

The brisk activity occurred while interest rates hovered around 4 percent, and are now below where they were a year ago.

Several weeks remain in the traditionally busy summer selling season.

“I am happy to report that July was another good month and our year-to-date sales represent a 28 percent increase in sales over last year,” said Erik Lanier, who compiles the monthly READReport, which records all real estate transactions in Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties.

Since August of last year, realtors in the three-county area sold 1,502 listings, the most in a 12-month period since 2007. They are selling an average of 125 homes a month, with total sales surpassing 100 in every month but two – January and February.

The median price of a home sold in that span – the price point at which half of all properties sold above or below – was $199,700. That’s higher than any calendar year since 2011.

Sales have increased every month since January, peaking in July when local realtors sold 152 homes worth $37.57 million, according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service. That was slightly more homes than sold the month prior; 146 were sold in June.

The median sold price in July was $177,500, underscoring the longstanding buyers’ market trend in the High Country. That was the lowest median price recorded since January, and 11 percent below the median price for the year ($200,000).

Inventory remains strong. As of August 15, there were 3,106 homes recorded within the MLS. This time last year there were just over 3,200 homes within the MLS.

Local trends are mirroring those seen nationally. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that existing-home sales in June were the highest recorded in more than eight years (The July report has yet to be released).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said this year’s summer buying season has been the strongest since the downturn.

“Buyers have come back in force, leading to the strongest past two months in sales since early 2007,” he said. “This wave of demand is being fueled by a year-plus of steady job growth and an improving economy that’s giving more households the financial wherewithal and incentive to buy.”

Interest rates remain near historic lows. The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose from 3.91 percent to 3.94 percent, as of August 14. That’s just slightly above the rate in January, 3.7 percent, but below the rate from August 2014, 4.12 percent.

The rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased last week to 3.17 percent from 3.13 percent.