Blog :: 02-2011

Want an Asheville Real Estate Sale? Get the Picture!

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.  In the case of the real estate market, a good picture can be worth thousands of dollars.  In a recent Wall Street Journal report, the use of nicer, professional photos increased home sale values anywhere from $934 to $116,076. The article details the specifics of how the figures were calculated. Professional quality photos of a listing can increase the sales price.  In addition, listings across all price tiers with such photos receive an average of 61% more views than home listings taken with point and shoot cameras.

Try to use a professional photo for your listing

Perhaps the most surprising statistic of all is that only 15.4% of the homes in the data set were marketed using professional quality photos.  While homeowners and brokers may balk at purchasing a DSLR camera ($500-$1,000+) for the simple purpose of illustrating a listing, consider that a professional photographer can do the work for you for $100-$500, a worthy investment considering the potential payback.

Homeowners often spend funds preparing the home for sale yet overlook investing in the photos to illustrate the beauty of their home.  It's important to note that potential buyers these days often begin their home search on-line.  In most cases, the first vision they have will be the photo posted with the listing.  To quote another well-known adage:  You only make a first impression once.  Why not spend a little extra, or choose a broker who does, to get a good quality photo that illustrates your home's true value.  For more information, please contact Greybeard Realty.

Will Asheville Real Estate Market Follow the National Trend Toward Fewer McMansions?

There are several signs that larger homes, often known as McMansions, may be headed the way of the dinosaur...or at least the albatross.  The American Institute of Architects survey in 2010 indicated that close to 60% of respondents noted that homes were getting smaller while the remainder reported that home sizes were staying the same.  Almost no one responded that homes were getting larger.

The interest in smaller homes can be understood given the recent tightening of mortgage restrictions, making it even more difficult to finance these larger homes.  In addition, with the national decline of  home values in the current economy, those hoping to upgrade to a McMansion may find it harder to get their value out of their existing home.

Larger Homes Less Popular

McMansions may be on the way out.

This trend toward to smaller homes is even making its way into the second home market.  In major markets across the country, developers are moving away from large vacation homes and moving toward smaller, more compact homes. Again, financing a second home can be more challenging than in the past, and potential homeowners seem to be looking for value and convenience over opulence.

In addition to being more difficult to finance, these larger homes, both primary and second homes, are more expensive to furnish, heat and upkeep, all of which is making the move away from super-sized homes more appealing.

Locally, since 2005, the number of larger homes sold has decreased in Buncombe County.  In 2005, 140 homes of 4,000 sq. ft. and 57 homes of 5,000 sq. ft. sold.  In 2010, those numbers of units sold had decreased to 93 units and 30 units respectfully. For more information or help in choosing the right sized home in the Asheville area, please contact Greybeard Realty.

Asheville Real Estate Market: National New Housing Starts

The Commerce Department just released housing start numbers for January 2011, and they showed a 14.6% increase to an annual rate of 596,000 units.  That figure was up from an annual rate of 520,000 in December, but economists warned that statistic could be misleading.  They said the majority of the increase could be attributed to apartment construction, not single family construction.

 In fact, single-family home permits, which is viewed as a more stable indicator of new homebuilding activity, stayed flat for the month. Again, however, economists noted that the figures alone did not tell the whole story.  They said that staying flat in this case could be seen as positive news.  Given the harsh winter weather, making new construction more challenging, some experts had predicted a decline in new building permits.

Home Building Permits

Building Permits on the Rise

In addition, future housing permits declined 10.4% from last month to 562,000 falling short of the 575,000 figure that a national survey had predicted. Once again, however, economists qualified the numbers by saying that the December future housing permits were perhaps artificially high as people hurried to beat more stringent building restrictions anticipated for 2011.  For more information, please contact Greybeard Realty.

Will National Home Sales Jump Extend to Asheville Real Estate Sales?

There are some new housing numbers that may indicate an improvement in the home sales market in the months to come.  Nationally, new home sales jumped 17.5% in December which increased sales of new homes to their highest levels in 8 months.  Economists had expected a 300,000 unit increase for the period.  Instead, there was a seasonally adjusted unit rate of 329,000. The numbers, provided by the Commerce Department, seem to indicate some signs of life in the housing market.

It's interesting to note, however, that these numbers were influenced by a spike in home sales in the West which economists feel have skewed the numbers toward the positive.  Also, it's important to note that while there was in increase, it was still down significantly from its peak of 1.283 million-units in 2005.

Real Estate Graphic

What do the numbers mean?

With the surge in the West leading the way, the supply of new homes declined to its lowest level since last April.  In addition, the median home price for the period of $241,500 showed an increased to the highest mark since April of 2008. 

Closer to home, Buncombe County Realtors sold $49 million worth of homes during December which was the highest sales volume for homes in the last five months. 

These numbers alone are not enough to indicate a increasing trend, but coupled with the recent stock market rise and the decision by the Federal Reserve to maintain the low interest rates available, it may be seen as a small sign of hope for the new home sales market. For assistance in the Asheville real estate market, please contact us.