High Country Association of REALTORS News

Summer selling season has high sales, low interest rates

The local summer selling season is off to an auspicious start, with May real estate sales the highest recorded in that month since at least 2006

May 2016 sales graphicThe business hasn’t dented local inventory, which continues to grow. Meanwhile, interest rates remain near record lows.

As of June 23, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.56 percent, near the record low recorded in May 2013 (3.31 percent). The rate was 4.02 percent a year ago, and 3.97 percent at the start of this year, according to loan giant Freddie Mac.

The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages is 2.83 percent.

In monetary terms, a home valued at $300,000, at current interest rates, would result in a monthly payment around $1,360. A year ago, at the 4.04 percent rate, the payment would be $1,439.

As interest rates remain attractive, the High Country Multiple Listing Service boasts an active inventory of 2,987 homes for sale by Realtors® in the four-county area of Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga.

Local Realtors® sold 178 listings in May, the most in any month since last September (189). It was a 38 percent increase over April sales (129), and 52 percent higher than recorded in May 2015 (117).

Sales in May haven’t been this strong since May 2006, when 171 homes were sold by Realtors® that month.

Total sales for May were worth $41.04 million, the highest so far this year.

The median sold price - the point at which half of all homes sold above and below - was $202,000. That’s above the median price through the first four months of the year ($196,500).

Nationally, home sales continue to increase. The National Association of Realtors® reported in April that pending home sales increased for three consecutive months and were at their highest level in a decade.

NAR also reported home sales through the first quarter of 2016 were the highest since 2007. That is also true of the High Country area. There were 348 homes sold in the first quarter of this year, just below the 366 sold in 2007, prior to the collapse of the national housing market.