Real Estate: August sales break $36M for first time in five years
In August, there were 129 realtor-assisted sales worth $36.14 million, according to the High Country Multiple Listing service, which covers Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties. That's the best month of sales since August of last year, when 142 homes sold. That was a five-year high.
The total sales value surpassed $36 million for the first time in five years, dating to $42.8 million recorded in August 2008.
The median sold price - the point at which half of all sales were priced either lower or higher - was $220,000. That matches this past January's median sold price, and is the highest such mark since February 2012 ($235,000).
Year-to-date, overall sales are almost even to this time last year. There have been 812 realtor-assisted home sales in the first eight months of 2013, compared to 818 in the first eight months of 2012.
Sales value is slightly higher so far this year, up $1.2 million (or 0.6 percent). The median sold price has dropped, from $199,950 in the first eight months of 2012 to $195,000 so far this year, according to the association.
"The hot months in the 'flatlands' attract more buyers, and the last few months the High Country Association of Realtors has reported slightly better market conditions," said Jerry Starnes, president of the High Country Association board of directors. "We still have a buyers' market and many choices for buyers."
There were 348 listings added to the market in August. That brings the number of active listings to approximately 3,130, according to MLS.
"With another 348 listings added in August inventory is high," said Laurie Phillips, executive officer of High Country Association of Realtors. "Buyers and investors are in a good position to choose from this large array of properties to find the right fit for their needs."
The types of sales recorded in the High Country match some national trends, specifically with regard to cash purchases. According to a recent USA Today report, 40 percent of the homes sold in the U.S. in July were purchased with cash. That was an increase of 31 percent from a year earlier.
Locally, 41 percent of realtor-assisted sales in July were cash. That figure jumped to 43 percent in August.
"Both investors and regular buyers are seeing the most opportunity to jump in and buy, and are willing to use their own money," said Daren Blomquist, CEO of RealtyTrac, which produced the national cash sales report.
Mortgage rates remain historically low, but are increasing slightly. The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage stood at 4.73 percent for the week ended Aug. 30. The rate was 4.8 percent one week earlier. The rate was 3.60 percent at the end of April, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.