Buyers’ market conditions continue to power the High Country real estate scene, with local sales so far this year near a 10-year high and interest rates near record lows.
Through the first seven months of 2016, local Realtors sold 1,041 homes worth $250.78 million. That’s according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service, which tracks all Realtor transactions in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties.
Going back 10 years, it’s 1.4 percent higher than the same time span in July 2006, when 1,027 homes were sold.
On a year-over-year basis, 2016 sales are up 21.8 percent compared to 2015.
While sales increased, the median sold price remains competitive. The midpoint of all Realtor sales in the four-county area this year is $200,000. That is up slightly from this time last year ($195,000) but well below the median price from five years ago (2011; $210,000) and 10 years ago (2006; $220,000).
The prices have attracted buyers. In July local Realtors sold 175 homes worth $44.12 million, with a median sold price of $195,000. It was the third straight month sales surpassed 174 listings, the longest such streak in more than 9 years.
The activity is being matched by new sellers entering the market. Since June 1, more than 380 homes have sold in the High Country, yet inventory was larger August 18 (2,935) than it was June 11 (2,879).
Mortgage rates have played a huge role encouraging sales. Since June, rates on a 30-year fixed loan have ranged between 3.41 and 3.48 percent, according to loan giant Freddie Mac. That’s not too far from the lowest rate ever recorded, 3.31 percent, in November 2012.
As of August 18, the 30-year rate was 3.43 percent, down .5 points from the week prior. A year ago it was 3.93 percent. The 15-year rate fell .4 points to 2.74 percent. It averaged 3.20 a year ago.
To put those numbers in perspective, a $300,000 home purchased a year ago would have an estimated 30-year mortgage of $511,260 with a monthly payment of $1,420.
That same home bought at this week’s rates would have a mortgage of $480,750 and a monthly payment of $1,335.