jeffersonpost.com

High country real estate sales hit five-year high

James HowellStaff Writerjhowell@jeffersonpost.com

August 26, 2012

July’s real estate sales hit a five-year high in the high country, signaling what may be a comeback for the local real estate industry.


This is according to the High County Multiple Listing Service which tracks sales in Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties. Ashe County joined the MLS in 2011.


Because Ashe County is now in the High County Multiple Listing Service, it’s difficult to separate Ashe County’s growth compared to the growth of Avery and Watauga.


Stan Elliot, a sales agent for High Country Realty, didn’t have hard figures to support the rise in Ashe County’s real estate. However, Elliot said he has seen a difference between this summer and last summer based on his personal experiences.


“I’ve seen a spike up here, it seems like I’ve been talking to more people this summer.” He also said he has averaged more hours and been busier during those hours.


In July, the MLS reported there were 120 realtor-assisted listings totaling $30.6 million for the month.


Coupled with June’s 118 realtor-assisted listings, this June-July has been the best June-July since 2008.


In addition, 546 listings have been sold in the past five months. That’s the most in that span of time since June-October 2009, when 548 listings were sold.


“Today’s buyers and sellers are very savvy and understand the current market trend,” said Laurie Phillips, executive officer of High Country Association of Realtors. “So I’m not surprised that our local realtors are responding to more inquiries and showing more properties.”


Not only are the numbers of listings increasing, the prices of the listings are increasing as well.


The median price of listings sold jumped from $179,000 in June to $215,000 in July. That’s the highest median price since February ($235,000) and matches that set in January.


This increase in price could be a sign that sales have remained steady in the past couple months while supply in the market has begun to shrink.


While indications point to a revival of the real estate industry in Ashe, Avery, and Watauga, the same cannot be said about the United States as a whole.


According to the National Association of Realtors, national sales remain sporadic. Though the year-to-year trend continues to increase, sales in June declined compared to May’s sales.


Buyers can currently take advantage of lower interest rates. The national average commitment rate for a 30 year fixed-rate mortgage has fallen to a record low 3.68 percent in June, according to Freddie Mac. Last year, this rate was 4.51 percent.


The MLS will continue to track the real estate activities of Ashe, Avery and Watauga until more information is available.