High Country Association of REALTORS News

Real Estate Report: Local real estate sales continue booming

The busiest real estate season in years has yet to stop for a breather. In August, it hit another high.

High Country Realtors® sold 185 listings last month, their busiest month since selling 233 homes in August 2007. It was also the seventh consecutive month sales increased, a streak last matched that same August eight years ago.

august_graphicThe activity has been boosted by attractive interest rates and pent-up demand. Plenty of homes remain listed for sale in the High Country Multiple Listing Service, which records Realtor® properties in Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties.

Sales in August hit $49.86 million. The median sold price – the point at which half of all properties sold above or below – was $213,750. That’s well above the median sold price for the year so far - $203,500 – and a 20 percent increase over that price in July ($177,500).

According to the MLS, 347 listings were added in August, the fewest in a month since March. There were 3,060 homes on the market represented by a local Realtor® as of September 20.

With 992 listings sold so far this year, Realtors® are on pace for their busiest year since 2007.

The local real estate trends are also being seen nationally. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reported sales through July were at their highest pace since February 2007, and have increased year-over-year for 10 straight months.

National sales through July (the latest month available) were 10.3 percent above a year ago.

"Overall, the prospects for ongoing strength in the housing market remain intact for now,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “The U.S. economy is growing - albeit at a modest pace - and the labor market continues to add jobs."

Interest rates continue to defy expectations, and remain historically low. As of September 24, the rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was 3.86 percent, below the rate a year ago (4.25 percent).

The 15-year fixed rate was 3.08 percent. It was 3.63 percent a year ago.

Both rates are also slightly lower than they were in July.

Last November some industry groups, such as the Mortgage Banker Association, predicted mortgage rates would rise to 5 percent in 2015. Instead they have been under 4 percent almost all year; in mid-July they hit a high of 4.09 percent.