Real Estate Sales Grow for Sixth Straight Year

Published Thursday, December 31, 2015 at 9:53 am

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Local realtors sold more homes in the first 11 months of 2015 than in any calendar year since 2007, according to the latest real estate report from the High Country Association of Realtors (HCAR).

With one month of sales yet to be finalized, real estate sales in Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties are assured of increasing for the sixth consecutive year.

Meanwhile the year will end with interest rates below 4 percent. This bodes well for 2016, according to incoming HCAR president Tim Carter.

“I am optimistic the housing market will continue to improve,” said Carter. “I look forward to continued growth and prosperity for our members in the coming year.”

Through November, there were 1,453 realtor-assisted home sales in the High Country. That was a 6 percent increase over total sales for 2014, and 11 percent more than 2013.

The median sold price in that span was $200,000, the highest for any calendar year since 2011 ($212,000).

In November local Realtors® sold 120 homes worth $29.67 million. It broke a streak of six straight months of sales breaking $30 million.

The median sale price for the month was $210,000, the highest in four months.

Inventory continues to decline. As of December 28 there were 2,446 listing active within the High County Multiple Listing Service.

While local Realtor activity remained strong, sales for November declined nationally. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing-home sales in November were at the slowest pace in 19 months. Total existing-home sales fell 10.5 percent, and year-to-date were 3.8 percent below a year ago.

“It’s possible the longer timeframes pushed a latter portion of would-be November transactions into December,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “As long as closing timeframes don’t rise even further, it’s likely more sales will register to this month’s total, and November’s large dip will be more of an outlier.”

Interest rates continue to defy analyst predictions. Many predicted the year would end with rates above 5 percent.

Instead, as of December 24, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was 3.96 percent, according to loan giant Freddie Mac. The 15-year rate was 3.22 percent.

Both marks are well below July averages, when the 30-year rate peaked for the year at 4.09 percent; the 15-year rate was 3.25 percent.

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