High Country Association of Realtors: June Busiest Month for Home Sales Since 2007

Published Monday, July 27, 2015 at 10:12 am

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Local realtors sold more homes in June than they have in any month in almost eight years, putting 2015 on track to be the busiest year for local real estate since the crash of 2008.

The trend is being powered by buyers’ market conditions and historically low interest rates, a combination which is encouraging real estate activity throughout the High Country area.

“We are excited that the market has picked up and buyers are getting great deals on our local real estate,” said High Country of Realtors president Pam Vines. “Properties are starting to sell quicker and prices are beginning to move upward.”

Realtors sold 144 homes worth $38.15 million last month, according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service. That’s the best single month of sales since October 2007, when 178 homes sold for $55.99 million.

The median sold price in June was $224,250, the second consecutive month it’s surpassed $220,000. That month-to-month streak last occurred in May and June of 2011.

The burst of sales in June made the year so far the busiest since 2007. Local realtors have sold 647 listings through the first six months of 2015, a 21 percent increase over that span last year (545) and 70 percent more than in 2010 (381).

In the first half of 2007, pre-crash, there were 934 listings sold.

Prices still remain well below where they were then. The median sale price so far this year – the midpoint at which half of all sales occurred above and below – is $209,000. That’s the highest such price in that span since 2011, but well below the mark set in 2007 ($225,000).

The activity is attracting more sellers to the market. There have been 2,449 new listings added to the MLS since the start of the year, including 249 in June alone.

As of July 12 there were 3,104 homes on the market in Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties.

Interest rates have been rising slowly the past few weeks, but remain below where they were this time last year. According to loan giant Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.09 percent for the week ending July 16, up from 4.04 percent the week prior. That rate was 4.13 percent a year ago.

The 15-year fix rate increased from 3.20 percent to 3.25, just above where it was in July 2014 (3.23 percent).

“The crisis in Greece continues to generate volatility in U.S. Treasury yields,” said Sean Becketti, chief economist with Freddie Mac. “Rates rose about 16 basis points on the 10-year Treasury from last week. As a result, the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 5 basis points this week to 4.09 percent, the highest level since October of last year.”

Nationally, home sales are surging. According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), pending home sales in May were at their highest level in over nine years. That same month also saw existing-home sales increase at their highest pace in nearly six years.

“The steady pace of solid job creation seen now for over a year has given the housing market a boost this spring,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “It’s very encouraging to now see a broad based recovery with all four major regions showing solid gains from a year ago and new home sales also coming alive.”

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