High Country Association of REALTORS News

Why Buy Now: High Country housing market seeing growth

Boone real estate marketAfter three consecutive years of declines, the High Country housing market recorded substantial gains in 2011, with the average price of homes sold hitting a three-year high.

According to the High Country Association of Realtors®, which covers Watauga, Avery and Ashe counties, the average price of a home sold last year was $261,512. That’s a three percent increase in the average recorded in 2010 ($253,967) and just surpasses the average set in 2009 ($260,604).

It is also the largest year-to-year increase since 2005.
“After three years of decline, the increase in the median price of home sales should be encouraging to local property owners,” said Laurie Phillips, executive officer of the 600-member High Country Association of Realtors®.

The 2011 numbers indicate that the High Country real estate market may be poised for growth, or at least stability, in the coming year.

In 2006, the average price of a home sold in the High Country was $307,256. Then the national economy went into recession, due in large part to the sub-prime lending implosion. The High Country was not exempt. The average price of a home sold dropped for three straight years, falling 2.2 percent in 2008 and 6.7 percent in 2009. It went down another 4.8 percent in 2010, when the average price hit $253,967.

Last year that trend ended. Not only was the average price up, but also the number of homes sold increased 8 percent, from 938 to 1014. There were eight consecutive months of increased home sales, from 34 homes sold in February to a year-high 91 in September. Sells slowed going into the winter, but remained above the February mark.

The number of homes purchased with cash also increased last year, to 41 percent. It was 34 percent in 2006, before the recession began.

Other national reports show cautious optimism in the housing market. In January the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB ) reported that its Housing Market Index, which tracks builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes, climbed to its highest level since June of 2007. The NAHB also said its Remodeling Market Index, which gauges interest in remodeling sentiment, is now at its highest level in five years.