High Country Association of REALTORS News

Real Estate Report: Realtor sales activity remains strong

The local real estate market continued recording tremendous activity last month, with Realtors® enjoying their busiest September in nine years.

Meanwhile interest rates continue to attract buyers.

September sales 2015There were 181 local homes sold in September, according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service, which tracks Realtor® transactions in Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties. That was a slight decline from August, when 187 homes were sold.

Back to back, these were the two busiest months in the local real estate market since 2007, when 182 and 233 homes were sold in July and August, respectively.

With regard to the month of September itself, since 2007 an average of 129 homes sold in the month. The latest sales figures are 40 percent above that average.

A busy year remains so, and local Realtors® are working hard to continue the activity.

“It is encouraging to report that our summer selling season was indeed successful - busy for most all of our Realtor® members,” said Pam Vines, president of the High Country Association of Realtors®. “Buyers and sellers are coming together and property is transferring hands, which is creating another nice flurry of activity for our fall season.”

Transactions for the month totaled a combined $40.38 million. It was only the fourth month since the end of 2007 to break the $40 million mark. The other three were August 2015 ($40.94 million), October 2013 ($40.7 million) and August 2008 ($42.97 million).

The median sold price for September was $187,500, only the second time in the past five months it has been below $210,000.

Inventory is declining slightly. After peaking for the year with more than 3,100 homes on the market in mid-August, there were 2,999 residential listings within the MLS as of October 18.

Mortgage rates remain low. In mid-July the 30-year fixed rate was 4.09 percent, according to Freddie Mac. The 15-year rate was 3.25 percent. Since then there’s been a downward trend.

As of October 22, the 30-year fixed rate was 3.79 percent; the 15-year rate was 2.98 percent. It was the 13th consecutive week the 30-year fixed-rate mortgages remained below 4 percent.

A year ago the rates were 3.97 percent and 3.18 percent, respectively.

As rates moved lower, mortgage applications spiked last week, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The market composite index - a measure of total loan application volume - surged 25.5 percent from the previous week. The refinance index grew 24 percent, while the purchase index jumped 27 percent.