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2020 home sales set new record

More area homes were sold in 2020 than during any other year on record, according to the year-end real estate report by the High Country Association of REALTORS®.

Real estate professionals in the four-county area sold 3,253 residential listings worth $1.182 billion, both metrics record highs, in a year marked by a national pandemic, historically low interest rates and North Carolina becoming a top destination state for people looking for a new home.

At year’s end, the number of High Country homes sold was up 25 percent from 2019 and the sales value was up 48 percent. That’s according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service. It records all REALTOR® transactions in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties.

The median sold price - the point at which half of all homes sold above or below - was $285,000. It was $240,500 the year prior.

Business was brisk through the year’s end, with 289 homes sold for $124 million in December. Both were record totals for the month. The median sold price was $325,000.

The sales numbers for the year are more dramatic when considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In mid-March North Carolina enacted stay-at-home orders which limited travel and most commercial activity. REALTORS® were considered essential workers and remained active.

Interest was minimal in that span as only 129 homes were sold in April (fewest in a month for the year). Yet sales quickly grew from there, with a then-monthly record of 371 homes sold in July. That high mark was surpassed two months later when 440 homes sold in September.

Some of the growth could be attributed to national migration patterns. Many year-end lists reported North Carolina as among the top 10 states reporting population growth in 2020.

Interest rates were also attractive, decreasing throughout 2020 to historic lows. That continued into the new year. Loan giant Freddie Mac reported the average 30-year fixed rate to be 2.65 percent as of January 6. It was 3.64 percent a year ago.

INVENTORY. The new year began with the High Country MLS reporting the lowest active inventory recorded in recent memory. As of January 6, there were 496 homes for sale in the four-county area. There were about 1,227 for sale a year ago.

LAND. REALTORS® sold 1,144 tracts of land worth $110.3 million in 2020, both record highs. Units sold were almost double from last year, when 656 sales were recorded.

In December alone, 123 tracts were sold for $14.15 million. Most were in Watauga County, where 53 listings sold for $4.79 million. There were 24 tracts in Avery County for $3.6 million and 24 in Ashe County for $3.03 million. Six tracts were sold in Alleghany County for $591,900.

COMMERCIAL. There were 30 commercial listings sold for $13.47 million last year. That was the fewest commercial units sold in a year since 2015.

There were four commercial properties sold in December. Two were in Watauga County for a combined $580,276. There was one in Avery County for $225,000 and one in Ashe County for $190,000.

ALLEGHANY COUNTY. There were 249 homes sold worth $41.12 million last year, almost double the number sold in 2019 (176). The median sold price was $184,000.

In the final month of the year, REALTORS® sold 30 homes worth $7 million in the county.

ASHE COUNTY. REALTORS® recorded 541 homes sold for $153.1 million during the year. That was an increase in almost a 100 homes from the year prior (444). The median sold price was $265,000.

In December, 42 homes worth $13.46 million were sold in the county.

AVERY COUNTY. There were 712 homes worth $285.7 million during the year, an increase in unit sales of 29 percent. The median sold price was $255,000.

There were 55 homes sold for $25.08 million in December.

WATAUGA COUNTY. REALTORS® sold 1,426 homes worth $596.16 million ini 2020. That was 16 percent more homes than 2019, with total sales value up 41 percent. The median sold price was $340,000.

There were 134 homes worth $68.3 million sold in December.

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