Median sale price spikes in May

BOONE – Local real estate sales remain steady as the summer season begins, with the median sold price in May spiking to a three-year high.

Realtor® activity in the region continues to slightly outpace the sales pace at this time last year, thanks in great part to buyers’ market conditions and low interest rates.

Monthly graphic for MayThere were 113 Realtor®-assisted home sales worth $30.18 million in May, according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service. With regard to total dollar value, it was the most lucrative month for sales since last November when 135 homes sold worth $31.7 million.

The median sold price – the midpoint price of all sales in the month – was $223,500. That’s the highest median price recorded since February 2012, when 65 homes sold for $16.7 million ($235,000 median price).

In the 39 months since, the median price has surpassed $200,000 on only eight occasions.
Since the beginning of last year, homes in Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties have sold for a median price of $190,000. The average sale price in that span –the total dollar value divided by units sold – was $237,344, according to the High Country MLS.

The past three summer selling seasons have each been stronger than the last. Given activity so far, there’s optimism the trend will continue this year.

“As we head into the summer, we have a vast array of inventory in our MLS and hope to continue the trend from the past few years with an even stronger selling season than last year,” said Laurie Phillips, executive officer with the High Country Association of Realtors®.

Interest rates went up slightly in early June. The average fixed rate for a 30-year mortgage as of July 2 was 4.08 percent, up from 4.04 percent a month prior, according to loan giant Freddie Mac. It’s was the first time in seven months the rate has hit 4 percent, yet it’s still lower than it was this time last year (4.2 percent).

The average fixed rate for a 15-year loan as of July 2 was 3.24 percent.

“Mortgage rates rose above 4 percent for the first time since November 2014 as Treasury yields surged,” said Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist with Freddie Mac. “Markets are responding to strong employment data.”

Springtime in the High Country

A collection of photos recently shared on social media, spotlighting some of the beauty of the High Country area.

The Blowing Rock

A photo posted by Wayfarer99 (@wayfarer99) on

Downtown Boone, NC

A photo posted by Wayfarer99 (@wayfarer99) on

🙌🏽

A photo posted by Swaraj Sharma (@stuckintheaiir) on

Hiking on Beech Mtn! #beechmtn #allofmylove @beechmtn

A photo posted by Anne Neilson Fine Art Gallery (@anneneilsonfineart) on

The Blowing Rock

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Busy selling season starting early

Local Realtors® have enjoyed a brisk start to 2015, the busiest in eight years.

Buyers’ market conditions and low interest rates continue to fuel activity, convincing many sellers to get an early start on the busy summer season. New listings surged in April.

april sales graphicSo far this year Realtors® have sold 390 listings, according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service, which tracks sales in Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties. That was an increase of 11.7 percent compared to the same span in 2014, when 349 listings sold.

It’s also the most listings sold to start a year since 2008, when 381 transactions were recorded.

Prices, though, remain well below where they were then. In the first four months of 2008, the median sale price was $226,000. This year, in that same span, the price was $200,000.

As buyer activity has picked up, so has seller interest. There were 571 listings added or renewed within the MLS in April, which represents one of the earliest starts to the busy selling season in recent memory. An average of only 471 listings have been added the past five Aprils, and never more than 500 in the month.

“We are excited to see that our selling season has started off so strong,” said Laurie Phillips, executive officer with the High Country Association of Realtors®. “With inventory high and interest rates still low we are looking forward to an even stronger market increase as we get into the summer months.”

With regard to April, Realtors® reported selling 110 homes worth $26.24 million. That was up slightly from March, when 106 sales occurred, but was a huge increase from a year ago, April 2014, when only 77 homes sold.

The median sale price for last month was $187,500, down 6.3 percent compared to April of last year ($200,000).

Interest rates climbed slightly in April. The average rate for a 30-year mortgage was 3.66 on April 9, and creeped up to 3.8 percent by May 7, according to loan giant Freddie Mac. The 15-year rate also climbed in that span, from 2.93 percent to 3.02 percent.

Those low rates, along with other economic conditions, are expected to boost the housing market this year, according to one analyst.

“This should be a good year for housing, buoyed by sustained job growth, rising consumer confidence that is back to pre-recession levels, and a gradual uptick in household formations,” said David Crowe, National Association of Home Builders chief economist. “We expect 2016 to be even better, due to a significant amount of pent-up demand and an economy that will be entering a period of reasonable strength and consistency.”

Realtors give back with Green Valley playground

The High Country Association of Realtors, working with Homes4NC and Habitat for Humanity, coordinated a two-day project building a new playground in the Greenwood Community near Green Valley School. More than two dozen volunteers worked together Thursday and Friday, May 7 and 8, to install new equipment and a picnic shelter.

Thank you to all who volunteered!

Realtors to build new Green Valley playground

Next week the High Country Association of Realtors will be working with Habitat for Humanity to build a new playground in Green Valley community. The goal is to complete the project by May 8.

Pam Vines, president of the HCAR, and Laurie Phillips, executive director of the HCAR, both discussed the project recently on the Mountain Television Network. Other topics included the mission of the HCAR and its commitment to the High Country area.

HCAR directors in Raleigh

Several members of the High Country Association of Realtors Board of Directors were in Raleigh the week of April 20, visiting several legislators. Once a year the North Carolina Association of Realtors meets for legislative meetings, and joins other Realtors from all over the state to converge on the capital and walk the halls to both thank representatives and let them know concerns.

Legislative office visit in April 2015

Legislative office visit in April 2015

Legislative office visit in April 2015

Legislative office visit in April 2015