Dec. 26, 2014. The holiday season is bringing some joy to local realtors, with the rush of year-end sales the best in seven years.
With one month remaining in 2014, realtors are poised to surpass their sales total from last year. Low interest rates continue to attract buyers, and there’s plenty of inventory on the market.
“2014 has been an interesting year with both ups and downs in the real estate market,” said Laurie Phillips, executive officer of High Country Association of Realtors. “We are pleased that we will end this year on an uptick and are look forward to a good start in 2015.”
In November local realtors sold 135 homes for $31.71 million, according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service which records all realtor transactions in Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties. That was a 25 percent increase over sales in November 2013, and 56 percent more than November 2012.
Since September 1, local realtors have sold 416 listings, making this the most active Fall selling season since 2007, when 478 homes sold. Yet the market conditions of both periods are very different.
The demand today continues to be driven by a buyers’ market. The median sold price – the price point at which half of all home sold for less and for more – from September through November this year was $200,000. In the same three-month span in 2007 the median price was $235,000.
Prices throughout the year have remained below not just 2007 levels, but those of 2011. Through the first 11 months of the year the median sold price was $188,000, a decrease of 2 percent compared to this time last year ($191,750), and down 10.5 percent compared to 2011 ($210,000).
The more recent trend line has been up. In November alone, the median sold price was $202,500, well above the price set in November 2013 ($197,500).
As of December 11, there were 2,671 active listings in the High Country MLS.
The lastest READReport, which tracks all land transactions in the three-county area, mirrors the realtor’s trend. There have been 2,703 land purchases worth $485.69 million so far this year. That’s an increase in activity from last year at this time (2,680) but a decrease in collective sales ($489.58 million).
It continues to be a great time to buy. On Dec. 4, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 3.89 percent, the lowest in 18 months, according to mortgage lender Freddie Mac. The rate increased slightly the following week, to 3.93 percent. That rate was 4.53 percent at the start of the year.
The average for a 15-year fixed-rate home loan was 3.2 percent, as of December 11.