High Country Association of REALTORS News

Inventory up as sales remain strong

High Country real estate sales remained strong in June, though activity took a slight breather after several months of year-over-year growth.

Meanwhile interest rates, which spiked to a seven-year high in May, declined during the last three weeks of the month.

In June, Realtors sold 167 homes worth $41.85 million, according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which tracks Realtor activity in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties. The average sale price was $250,591.

It ended a streak of seven consecutive months in which sales were up year-over-year. There were 190 homes worth $50.81 million sold in June 2017.

June was also the first month since February during which sales decreased month-to-month. There were 196 homes worth $57.3 million sold in May.

It had been an increasingly busy year for local Realtors. During the previous 12 months - July 2017 to May 2018 - Realtors sold an average of 193 homes. The average sold price in that span was $267,519.

For the year, sales in the four-county area are up 12 percent compared to last year (992 to 888), and up 13.5 percent compared to first six months of 2017.

Inventory continues to grow. There were 2,088 active listings within the High Country MLS as of July 15. There were less than 2,000 a month earlier.

Interest rates trended down the past few weeks, and are back to levels recorded in early June.

On July 19, loan giant Freddie Mac reported the average 30-year fixed rate at 4.52 percent. The average 15-year fixed rate was 4 percent.

"Manufacturing output and consumer spending showed improvements, but construction activity was a disappointment. This meant there was no driving force to move mortgage rates in any meaningful way, which has been the theme in the last two months," said Freddie Mac in a press release. "That’s good news for price sensitive home shoppers, given that this stability in borrowing costs allows them a little extra time to find the right home."

Nationally, existing home sales declined slightly in May, the latest month for which sales are available. It was the second consecutive month sales declined.

With May’s decline, national Realtor sales are 3.0 percent below a year ago and have fallen year-over-year for three straight months.

“Inventory coming onto the market during this year’s spring buying season - as evidenced again by last month’s weak reading - was not even close to being enough to satisfy demand,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the National Association of Realtors. “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."