High Country Association of REALTORS News

Sales up 15 percent compared to last year

Local real estate sales remain on an upward trend as mortgage rates fluctuate, according to the latest monthly real estate report by the High Country Association of Realtors.

Inventory in the four-county area is also increasing, with local Realtors adding properties to the market almost as quickly as they are selling them.

Realtors sold 194 homes worth $57.06 million in May, as recorded by the High Country Multiple Listing Service (MLS). It tracks all Realtor activity within Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties.

Those sales were up 6 percent compared to the previous month (183 sold in April), and up 16 percent compared to a year ago (167 sold in May 2017). It was also the fourth consecutive month of increasing sales.

The average sale price - total sales value divided by homes sold - was $294,140. That was the highest average sale price for a month in almost 12 years. There were 143 homes sold at an average price of $288,413 in December 2006.

Through the first five months of 2018, local Realtors have sold 823 listings. That is 15 percent more than they sold last year at this time (698).

Despite the quick turnover, inventory within the MLS is growing. There were 2,045 active properties for sale in the High Country as of June 25, an increase from just over 1,825 a month earlier. There were about 1,600 active listings in early April.

The activity has occurred against a backdrop of slowing rising interest rates. In early April, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 4.4 percent, as reported by loan giant Freddie Mac. The rate eventually increased and hit a 7-year high of 4.66 percent on May 24. It then declined for two consecutive weeks before again increasing at the start of June.

As of June 21, the 30-year fixed rate was 4.57 percent. The 15-year rate was 4.04 percent.

Nationally, home sales have declined slightly, according to the latest reports by the National Association of Realtors. Pending home sales dipped to their third-lowest level over the past year in April, while existing-home sales fell back for the second straight month in May.

“Incredibly low supply continues to be the primary impediment to more sales,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Inventory coming onto the market during this year’s spring buying season … was not even close to being enough to satisfy demand.”

“That is why home prices keep outpacing incomes and listings are going under contract in less than a month - and much faster - in many parts of the country,” he said.