Several members of the High Country Association of Realtors®, and some of its affiliates, recently participated in a River Clean Up in Todd. The event was organized by the High Country Association of Realtors® and RiverGirl Fishing Company. It was held Tuesday, Aug. 1. The trailer load represented all of the materials removed from local waters.
Courtney Cramblit and Caleb Bryson are this year’s recipients of the High Country Association of Realtors (HCAR) scholarship program. Previously students were asked to write an essay entitled “The Difference Between a House and a Home.” This year the challenge was to create a two-minute video on the importance of using a Realtor when buying or selling a home.
The HCAR program was recently recognized by the North Carolina Association of Realtors and received one of three Innovation Grants. That award is being used to support these scholarships. Next year High Country Realtors will offer scholarships to students in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties.
Here are the 2016 winning entries.
Listed among three Innovation Grants is one by the High Country Association of Realtors, which is an outreach to high school seniors to increase awareness of Realtors and what they do. You can find the news on page 18.
HCAR is providing scholarships for high school seniors to create awareness of REALTORS and their role in the community and economy, as well as trusted professionals and community leaders. The scholarships will be based on one- to two-minute videos submitted by students who demonstrate what a REALTOR’s job consists of and the benefits of using a REALTOR.
The HCAR represents Realtors in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties, including the towns of Boone, Sparta, Newland, Banner Elk, Jefferson, West Jefferson, Seven Devils and Beech Mountain.
The local real estate economy continues to follow a familiar tune – sales hit new highs, interest rates remain near historic lows, and inventory is just keeping up with the pace.
Those three trends combined for an incredible month of sales in June, when local Realtors® sold more homes that month than they have in almost nine years.
In the first half of the year, local Realtors® sold 866 homes worth $207.3 million. Those sales are a 25 percent increase over the same span last year (692), and 50 percent more than the first six months of 2014 (577).
The median sold price has also risen in that three-year span, from $175,000 in 2014 to $200,000 this year.
This year’s numbers were boosted by an incredible June when Realtors® sold 208 homes, according to the High Country Multiple Listing service, which is maintained by the High Country Association of Realtors® and records Realtor® sales in Ashe, Alleghany, Avery and Watauga counties.
It was the busiest month of sales since August 2007, when 233 homes were sold.
Combined sales for June were $55.45 million. The median sold price – the point at which exactly half of homes sold were this price and exactly half were below – was $216,500. That’s the highest recorded so far this year, and the most lucrative since last December ($216,750).
Sales have been so furious inventory is treading water. As of June 25 there were 2,978 active listings within the MLS. Three weeks later, as of July 17, that count had dropped slightly to 2,975.
A contributing factor to the flurry of activity are interest rates, which continue to defy expectations.
As of July 28, Freddie Mac reported the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate to be 3.48 percent, a slight increase from the previous week (3.45) but still near the record low 3.31 percent rate announced in November 2012. The 15-year fixed rate now stands at 2.78 percent.
Both marks are well below where they were at the start of the year, at 3.97 percent and 3.26 percent, respectively.
In monetary terms the contrast is striking. A $300,000 home purchased in January with a 30-year loan would have had an estimated monthly payment of $1,427, and a total loan amount of $513,742.
That same home purchased today would have an estimated monthly payment of $1,344 (a reduction of $83) on a total loan of $483,763 (about $30,000 less).
“Home sales continue to benefit from the persistently low mortgage rates with June’s new home sales coming in at an annualized rate of 592,000 homes – its fastest pace since 2008,” said Freddie Mac chief economist Sean Becketti in a statement.
The United States Senate is missing an opportunity to improve housing markets across the country, and we need your help to tell them to get to work and make homeownership a priority!
Take action now to urge your Senators to pass H.R. 3700, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016,” a bill that makes needed reforms to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) condominium loan program, federal-assisted housing programs and Rural Housing Service loan programs.
This bill makes buying a condo A LOT easier by expanding opportunities for first-time homebuyers and streamlining rural housing programs for low-income rental residents. Condominiums are among the most affordable homeownership options for first-time homebuyers, as well as lower income borrowers, but barriers to safe, affordable mortgage credit for condos still exist. H.R. 3700 takes a number of steps to address those concerns.
It’s a smart move to work with a Realtor®, as evidenced by this new video from the North Carolina Association of Realtors® emphasizing the difference a real estate professional can make when purchasing a new property. The video opens in the High Country, as two of our local Realtors® describe a great success story in Blowing Rock.
“Using a Realtor is a smart move.”