April 23, 2012. The High Country real estate market had its best first quarter in five years this year, continuing steady growth after what appears to have been a bottoming out in 2010.
From January to the end of March, there were 234 realtor-assisted properties sold in Avery, Ashe and Watauga counties. Total sales were $61.25 million, as recorded by the High Country Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
Those numbers are 27 percent higher than the same three months last year, and more than 60 percent higher than 2010.
While sales increased month-to-month, the number of new listings also rose. That indicates 2012 is seeing increases in both demand and supply in the housing market. That’s further evidence the local real estate market is growing stronger.
“As the number of listings in our area have increased, many sellers are realizing that now is the time to work with a local realtor and begin the process of getting their home ready for the spring market,” said Laurie Phillips, executive officer of the 600-member High Country Association of Realtors. “We are seeing some positive signs that the market has bottomed out and we are now experiencing slow, but definite gains in our area.”
According to MLS stats:
– First quarter regional sales peaked in 2007, with 363 properties sold for $96.69 million. They then declined for three straight years.
– The 2010 first quarter was a possible bottom, with just 146 properties sold. Total sales were $37.17 million.
– Since 2010, first quarter property sales have increased steadily.
On the supply side, there were 776 new listings in the first quarter. That’s a 14 percent decrease from this time last year (907) and 5 percent decrease from 2010 (814).
One other notable stat from the 2012 first quarter – sales of both high and low priced listings continue to increase.
So far this year, 59 properties have sold for more than $300,000, the most since 98 were sold in 2008. On the other end, 35 properties have sold for less than $100,000, the most since 46 were sold in 2007.
Yet the average price a property sold remains relatively steady. It’s actually down this quarter to $261,735, from $261,882 in 2011. In 2007 the average selling price was $266,373.
Nationally, the housing market continues slow growth. According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales dipped in March but continued to outpace 2011 levels. At the same time, inventory tightened and home prices showed further signs of stabilizing.