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Land, home sales continue surge in March

Sales of both homes and land remain on a breakneck pace in the High Country region, according to the latest monthly report by the High Country Association of REALTORS.

All four counties in the area recorded double-digit growth in home sales compared to the first quarter of 2020, as recorded in the High Country Multiple Listing Service. It tracks all sales activity by REALTORS active in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties.

Overall land sales are up almost 150 percent, and even commercial activity is increasing.

Through the first three months of 2021, local REALTORS sold 694 homes worth $301.32 million. That’s an increase in unit sales of 29 percent compared to the first quarter of 2020, when REALTORS sold 534 homes worth $167.6 million (The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic reduced potential sales in the final weeks of March).

The median sold price for the quarter was $340,000, an increase of 45 percent from last year ($235,000). The average sales price was also up substantially, from $313,688 to $434,519. That latter stat is driven by the number of million dollar homes being sold. There were 42 homes sold for $1 million or more since January. That is almost half the number of such homes sold in all of 2019 (86).

That demand is reflected in overall home sales. Last month REALTORS set a unit sales record for March when they sold 270 homes for $113.52 million. The previous unit sales high for the month was just 190, set in March 2019.

The median sold price for March was $340,000, the highest for any month since at least 2009.

Sales continue to outpace new supply. As of April 7 there were 350 homes listed for sale in the four-county area. That is the 13th consecutive month inventory has dropped month-to-month. Homes which sold during March were on the market a median of only 57 days.

LAND SALES. REALTORS have sold 369 tracts of land worth $34.67 million, well over double the activity they recorded last year when they sold 151 tracts for $15.15 million. Most of the activity is within Watauga County, where 160 land listings sold for $13.68 million. In March alone, 62 tracts sold for $6.9 million in Watauga County.

Ashe County recorded the second most land transactions for the quarter with 75 worth $8.03 million (30 for $2.4 million in March). It was followed by Avery County at 58 tracts for $7.25 million (28 for $2.86 million in March) and Alleghany County at 35 tracts for $1.42 million (12 for $631,216 in March).

COMMERCIAL SALES. Sales of commercial property are also up for the year. REALTORS have sold 15 commercial listings for $6.55 million. That is half the unit sales of all of 2020.

Four of the latest listings were sold in March, two of which were sold in Avery County for $405,000. The other two were sold outside the four-county area.

ALLEGHANY COUNTY. REALTORS sold 64 homes worth $19.41 million through the first quarter of the year, almost double the sales of a year ago (33 homes worth $6.3 million). In March alone 22 homes were sold for $6.73 million. The median sold price was $280,000.

ASHE COUNTY. There were 127 homes worth $42.23 million sold in the first quarter, a 23 percent increase in unit sales compared to last year. In March REALTORS sold 51 homes worth $17.19 million. The median sold price was $294,000.

AVERY COUNTY. REALTORS sold 118 homes worth $57 million in the first quarter, up 18 percent from a year ago. In March there were 41 homes sold for $22.29 million. The median sold price was $343,750.

WATAUGA COUNTY. There were 310 homes worth $156.33 million sold in the first quarter, a unit sales increase of 33 percent compared to last year. In March there were 129 homes sold for $55.95 million. The median sold price was $370,000.

INTEREST RATES. The average 30-year fixed rate is on the rise, hitting 3.18 percent as of April 1. The rate was 2.73 percent a month ago.

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