August sales

August is proving to be a peak time to buy a home in the High Country, according to the latest monthly real estate report by the High Country Association of Realtors.

Local Realtors sold more homes last month than all but one other month in the past 14 years — August of last year. The activity occurred as interest rates continued to fall and new inventory was added.

Local Realtors sold 279 homes worth $91.78 million in August, according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service. It records all Realtor activity in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties.

It was the busiest month since last August, when 295 homes sold for $86.41 million. That month remains the high water mark for sales in the region dating back to at least 2005.

The median price last month was $240,000, 2 percent higher than during August 2018 ($235,050).

There was also a lot of activity focused on high dollar listings. Realtors sold 13 homes for more than $1 million in August, including five for more than $1.6 million. Going into the month Realtors had sold 37 such homes, including 14 for more than $1.6 million.

There were 389 new listings added to the MLS during the month. As of Sept. 5 there were approximately 1,690 residential and multi-family homes for sale in the High Country.

LAND SALES. There were 55 tracts of land worth $4.08 million sold in August. Most of the listings were in either Ashe (20; $1.16 million) or Watauga (21; $1.63 million) counties.

Since January Realtors have recorded an average of 47 land transactions a month, peaking at 56 in July.

COMMERCIAL SALES. For the year there have been 27 commercial listings sold by Realtors.

ALLEGHANY COUNTY. Home sales matched a seven-month low, with nine listings sold for a combined $2.2 million. The median sold price was $214,000.

It was the slowest month for sales since January, when nine homes sold for $1.65 million. The median price then was $135,000.

There were approximately 140 active MLS listings in the county, as of Sept. 5.

ASHE COUNTY. Home sales in the county were at a two-year high in August, with Realtors selling 44 listings worth $13.73 million. Activity was last that brisk in October 2017, when 44 homes were sold.

The median sold price last month was $248,750, the highest for any month since Feb. 2018 ($267,000).

There were approximately 300 homes for sale in the county as of Sept. 5.

AVERY COUNTY. Realtors also recorded brisk activity here in August, with sales matching a 12-month high. They sold 71 homes for a combined $24.3 million. The median sold price was $182,500.

Almost 10 percent of the closings (seven) went for more than a million dollars; three for more than $1.6 million.

Last August Realtors sold 71 homes for $19.88 million in the county. The median sold price then was $178,750.

There were approximately 420 active residential listings in Avery County as of Sept. 5.

WATAUGA COUNTY. Similar to Avery County, listings sold last month in Watauga County were also at a 12-month high. Realtors sold 133 homes for $45.75 million, the most since August of last year (154 homes for $51.5 million).

Four of the listings were for more than $1 million. For the year, 23 listings within the county have sold above that price mark.

As of Sept. 5 there were almost 650 active listings in the county, according to the MLS.

INTEREST RATES. The average 30-year fixed rate continued its year-long decline into September, falling to 3.49 percent as of Sept. 5. It was 4.20 percent in late April, and started the year at 4.51 percent.

“While economic growth is clearly slowing due to rising manufacturing and trade headwinds, economic fundamentals are still solid for U.S. consumers,” said a press release from Freddie Mac. “The unemployment rate is low, housing affordability is improving, homebuyer demand is rising, and home price growth is stable.”

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