High Country Association of REALTORS News

Realtors hit new sales mark in 2017

BOONE - Busy was the theme for local Realtors® as 2017 drew to a close.

Area real estate professionals posted annual sales growth for the eighth consecutive year, thanks to the busiest December in at least a decade.

The hectic activity dropped inventory to its lowest level in years, as recorded within the High County Multiple Listing Service (MLS). It tracks Realtor® activity in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties.

The year ended with Realtors® having sold 2,176 homes worth $562.51 million. That was just a 2 percent increase from 2016 (2,135), but up 27 percent from 2015 (1,710) and 48 percent from 2014 (1,474).

Annual sales have increased every year since 2010, when Realtors® sold 945 homes worth $240.79 million. Prior to 2011, sales declined every year since 2006.

The average sale price for 2017 - total sales divided by home sold - was $259,814. That was the highest such mark for a year since 2009 ($260,830).

Almost half of 2017 sales occurred in the year’s final five months. From August to December, 1,081 homes were sold by Realtors® in the four-county area.

The final month of the year ended with snow and a strong cold snap, but business remained brisk. Local Realtors® sold 199 homes worth $51.96 million in December, the highest sales recorded that month since at least 2007. It was an 11 percent increase compared to sales in December 2016 (180) and a 27 percent increase compared to December 2015 (157).

The average sale price for the month was $261,101.

Buyers looking to start the New Year with a new home will encounter rising interest rates. Rates have been trending up since mid-September, though they remain just barely under 4 percent.

As of January 11, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 3.99 percent, as reported by loan giant Freddie Mac. That was up from 3.95 percent the previous week.

The average 15-year fix rate was 3.44 percent.

Although interest rates have been increasing, coincidentally, they are roughly at the same point they were exactly two years ago. During the second week of 2016, the average 30-year fixed rate was 3.92 percent. The average 15-year fixed rate was 3.19 percent. Rates steadily dropped throughout the year until the US Presidential election in November.

As Realtors® begin 2018, local inventory is at its lowest levels in years. As of January 11, there were 1,623 homes for sale within the High Country MLS. That’s more than 200 fewer than this time last year (1,890), and more than 500 fewer than January 2016 (2,135).

Local and national trends indicate 2018 could be another busy year and local Realtors® are ready for it, according to High Country Association of Realtors® 2018 President Chad Vincent.