For a time, Haywood was lagging behind the rest of the nation when it came to a resurgence in real estate sales, but the latest sales figures show that period is now in the rearview mirror.
Tom Mallette, president of the Haywood Realtor Association, said sales statistics so far in 2019 have surpassed last year’s numbers for the same time period, and at last new properties are being listed. There were 428 single family homes sold this year, compared to 419 in 2019 by the end of May.
“Our trouble has been the lack of inventory,” Mallette said. “We were up 30 in just a week.”
Still, there’s not quite a six-month inventory of properties on the market, which means it is still a seller’s market in Haywood. The inventory length equates to the number of months, on average, it takes to sell a property.
Once the six month-mark is hit, it signifies neither a buyers or sellers market, and once it is exceeded, it becomes a buyers market.
“If you look at a breakdown of what is selling, the under $300,000 market definitely makes up the biggest section of what we’re selling,” Mallette said.
The homes that take the longest to sell are those above $1 million, but seven in that category sold last year, Mallette said. So far in 2019, not a single home in that category has yet sold.
Mallette has tracked sales numbers since early 2015, when there were only 939 single-family homes sold in the county for the entire year. By 2016, 1,127 homes were sold, but last year, the number dipped to 1,059.
“We have plenty of buyers,” he said. “There’s just not enough inventory. The fact we’re seeing an increase in inventory is a positive sign, because it obviously gives us more to sell.”
For now, the real estate market is doing well. The employment numbers are up, salaries are increasing and interest rates are at 4 percent or below.
“If you qualify, you can get a mortgage, but it is hard if you aren’t qualified,” Mallette said. “It’s not like it was in 2006 and 2007 when anybody could get a mortgage.”
Land sales, on the other hand, are down a bit compared to this time last year, with only 74 sales so far in 2019. In 2017, 253 parcels were sold compared to 241 last year.
Mallette is quick to point out that the Multiple Listing Service data points don’t include private sales, but effectively capture the big picture.
“In 2015, we were still coming out of the recession,” he said. “Things have definitely gotten better. The median price then was $165,999, now at $217,000. We’ve come a long way.”