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High Country Realtor Sales Continue to Climb; Sales up 20 Percent Compared to Last Year

Rising interest rates aren’t deterring home buyers in High Country, according to the latest local real estate report by the High Country Association of Realtors®.

Sales for the first two months of 2018 are up 20 percent compared to last year. The average sale price was consistent to its level a year ago.

Meanwhile, mortgage rates have steadily increased since the start of the year. Freddie Mac reported March 22 the average 30-year fixed rate was 4.44 percent, a slight decline a week after hitting a four-year high. The 15-year average rate was 3.9 percent.

At the start of the year the 30-year rate was 3.95 percent. It increased for 10 consecutive weeks before this week’s drop.

Local home sales activity, though, remained strong in February. Local Realtors® sold 127 homes worth $34.85 million that month, according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which records Realtors® sales in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties.

It was the fourth consecutive month local Realtor® sales were up year-over-year. There were 119 homes worth $30.38 million sold last February.

Combined with January activity, local Realtors® have sold 266 homes this year. They sold 222 the first two months of 2017.

The brisk business continues to outpace the addition of new inventory. As of March 22, there were 1,587 listings active within the High Country MLS. That’s the lowest level recorded since 2014. There were 1,900 active listings at this time a year ago.

Nationally, mortgage applications were up recently, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The market composite index – a measure of total loan application volume – increased 2.7 percent from a week earlier.

With regard to national home sales, they trended down in January, the last month for which statistics are available.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, declined 3.2 percent in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.38 million from a downwardly revised 5.56 million in December 2017.

It was the largest decline on an annual basis in over three years, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, fell 4.7 percent to 104.6 in January from a downwardly revised 109.8 in December 2017.