Blog :: 2013

The Idyllic Snowy Views of Asheville Eyed on List

The Asheville area has made another "best of" list, making it as one of the top six best winter drives in North America. While often recognized for its spectacular autumn colors, the Blue Ridge Parkway receives less attention for its winter splendor. An article by Terry Ward on Centurion's online site highlights this local splendor.

Snowy Skyline

Idyllic Snowy Views from the Blue Ridge

In making her recommendation, Ward points to Mount Mitchell State Park, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, as a particularly scenic spot in the snow. She rightfully notes that the Parkway is closed when conditions merit. The Parkway updates its road closings regularly on the Blue Ridge Parkway website. While driving during the snow may not be possible, the snow always lingers on the mountain tops long after the snow has stopped falling, so there's always time to take in the snow-capped scenes.

For locals, it is often easy to overlook the uniqueness of where we live. In the bustle to get where we are going to work or to shop, for example, we don't always take the time to appreciate the natural beauty around us. And for those of you who wonder what it's like to live here year-round, we highly recommend a trial run. As Ward points out in her brief piece, there are abundant mountain rental cabins in the Asheville area that will let you give living here a try. Why not make a reservation now to see our idyllic views first hand.

Greybeard Realty Adds Real Estate Office South of Asheville

Greybeard Realty announces the opening of an additional office, in Eastwood Village in the growing Fairview community. With its proximity to historic Asheville, this full real estate sales office will provide personal service from staff and Realtors who are all NC natives with extensive experience in the western NC real estate market.

Greybeard staff

Greybeard's staff and Realtors have local roots.

When Greybeard Realty opened in 1999 in Black Mountain, founder Chip Craig made a commitment to providing individualized service in the rental market and then the real estate market as well. At present, Greybeard ranks in the top 10 for Buncombe County real estate companies and also manages more than 300 rental properties. For Chip, the additional office location is a natural fit for his company. "We felt it was time to expand our real estate offerings, and the growing Fairview community was a good fit for us." To see Greybeard's current listings for Fairview, please see our Fairview listings webpage.

Rosie Johnson, managing broker at the new office, grew up in Black Mountain and has worked at Greybeard for the last 12 years. As she has worked in the last few months establishing Greybeard's office in Fairview, she has been struck by the strong sense of community she has encountered. "I am very excited to be a part of Greybeard's expansion into Asheville and the Fairview area. I have already been very impressed with the communities and networking here."

If you're in Fairview or the Asheville area, please stop by Greybeard's newest office, located in Eastwood Village, Suite 207G (upstairs). Rosie and her staff are excited to share their expertise in the area and continue the diligent work they have been doing for Greybeard Realty. And keep an eye out for the January Open House; plans are currently underway with an announcement forthcoming shortly.

Getting the Lay of Asheville Land: Sales and Permits on the Rise

In another sign of steady real estate growth in the Asheville area, statistics for land sales and residential building permits rose for the first three quarters of 2013.  These figures, when matched with the recent local residential sales figures in a recent Greybeard blog, indicate that the market continues on its positive trend.

Asheville land sales increase.

Asheville area land sales on the rise.

In the Asheville area, land sales increased 74% over the same period last year. That number shows strong growth but still lags 44% behind the land sales peak of 2007. The 420 units sold today account for $45 million in sales, a 68% increase over last year this time, but, again, still 57% below the 2007 peak. At present, there is a 3% increase in the number of units on the market.

In Black Mountain, the number of units sold is much smaller, 22 so far in 2013, versus 23 in 2012 which accounts for a 4% increase. This figure is well below the 70 units that sold in the peak year of 2007. The $1.7 million in dollars sold year-to-date represents a 2% increase over sales in 2012. Again, this figure is well below the peak of $8 million in sales in 2008, the peak year. At present, there is a 15% increase in the number of units on the market.  The figures used for land sales were provided by Western NC MLS.

For residential building permits year-to-date, Buncombe County saw an increase of 566 permits over the 460 pulled for the same period last year, an increase of 23%. These statistics are provided by The Market Edge. Of interest is the number of residential permits taken out for units more than 4000 sq ft or with permit value of more than $400,000. Statistics provide numbers for the total 2012 residential permits, 75, while numbers are only available for year-to-date for 2013, 58. It will be interesting to track that statistic to the year end to see if permits for larger, more expensive homes will increase at year's end.

To stay on top of land sales and residential building permits, as well as area real estate sales, please see our market reports which are updated regularly.

Magnificent Black Mountain

Black Mountain Merits Special Attention

Black Mountain Merits Special Attention

Western NC has many special towns to live in, but we feel a special affinity for Black Mountain, home to our Greybeard Realty office. Whether it's the large variety of available restaurants and shops or the quiet, small-town atmosphere so close to Asheville, Black Mountain is a very special place.

While we may seem biased as many of our Realtors live in Black Mountain, we recently received some comments from a rental guest that reminded us of the special qualities of the town. A guest, staying at Byrd's Nest Cabin through Greybeard Rentals, commented that they had fallen "in love with the town and its people!" They went on to add: "They were charming and friendly...seemed to love life. They were doing what they love to do. I haven't seen so many beautiful crafts in one place! I am anxious to have my family join us for a great summer vacation!"

A couple of our Realtors recently made a few observations pointing to the special attention and quality Black Mountain has. One day recently, the Black Mountain Chamber of Commerce had more than 120 hits on that day, indicating a very high level of interest in the town. And another Realtor recently noted that there can't be many towns with a population of 7,000 that has so many local breweries including Pisgah Brewing and Lookout Mountain Brewery

.If you are considering relocating to our area, we encourage you to check out Black Mountain. Check out Greybeard's webcam regularly and get an idea the weather and the activity level in the town. Select one of Greybeard Rentals' Black Mountain rentals and come try it out for a month or a weekend. Whether you see Black Mountain as the "front porch of Western NC" or the "Little Town that Rocks", we think you will find something special in this town we call home.

Real Estate Numbers Add up to Solid Growth in Asheville Area

The numbers are in for real estate sales for the 2013 third quarter, and the solid growth seen last quarter continues. In both Buncombe County and Black Mountain, positive numbers indicate a solid foundation for the real estate market as we move into the last quarter. With interest rates holding steady, we anticipate that the market will continue this upward trend into 2014.

New Black Mountain listing, 52 Cheshire Dr.

New Black Mountain listing, 52 Cheshire Dr.

Buncombe County/Asheville Area Home Sales

Buncombe County numbers indicate a 25% increase in homes sold year-to-date versus last year's numbers for the same period. With 517 more homes being sold this year than last year at this time, one would expect to find a similar growth in total sales volume. In fact, the more than $663 million in sales volume represents a 32% increase over last year. These numbers are particularly impressive given that average home prices increased a modest 5%. While these numbers are still below the peak numbers experienced in the market in 2006 and 2007, they still indicate solid, sustainable growth for the Buncombe County market. And with the 16% decrease in the number of homes on the market year-to-date under last year's homes available, it is anticipated that average price should continue to creep upward over the next six to nine months.

Black Mountain Homes Sales

The Black Mountain real estate numbers parallel those of Buncombe County in some ways. Homes sold increased a robust 28% year-to-date with 111 homes being sold, versus 87 in 2012 during the same months. Similarly, total sales volume increased 20%, to almost $24 million in 2013 versus almost $20 year-to-date in 2012. The surprising element to the numbers for Black Mountain is the small decrease in the average home price, 6%, for year-to-date 2013. As with the Buncombe County numbers, however, with the shrinking number of units on the market, a 7% decline in numbers of homes listed, it is anticipated that the average home sales price will slowly begin increasing over the next six to nine months. Another indicator for this prediction is the decrease in the number of days on the market (DOM) this year. While DOM had increased slowly since the peak years of 2007 and 2008 in Black Mountain, this year shows a decline in DOM, usually indicating growth in the real estate market for an area.

Final Reflections

Again, the market continues to demonstrate solid growth trends in both Black Mountain and Buncombe County as indicated by our market analysis, which includes the statistics provided by Western North Carolina MLS. Anecdotally, at Greybeard Realty, we continue to see solid interest in our western NC mountain listings and a positive growth rate in our number of homes sold. As always, we recognize the seasonal quality of our real estate market, but as indicated by a careful analysis of these year-to-date statistics, we anticipate continued growth, particularly as the supply of homes on the market continues to decrease. With market prices showing only modest increases and decreases, we expect the real estate market in the Asheville area to stay on this positive track for the foreseeable future.


Sample Hill Haven; Try the Good Life of Black Mountain

If you want to sample life in Black Mountain before retiring, you will want to see Greybeard's latest furnished monthly rental listing, Hill Haven. Conveniently located just five minutes from downtown Black Mountain, this two-bedroom cottage is a light, airy landing spot for anyone wanting more time than a week or so to explore the area.

Hill Haven is Black Mountain paradise.

Hill Haven is Black Mountain paradise.

All of the living space in this bright, cheerful home is on the ground floor. The open floor plan has an updated kitchen as well as dining and office space. Venture outdoors and enjoy the outdoor fireplace as well as the terraced gardens. While use of the outdoor pool is not included in the rental price, access is available for an additional fee. Please let Greybeard know if you would like to make arrangements for that.

From this prime location, you can take a leisurely stroll around Lake Tomahawk or take advantage of additional nearby, more strenuous hikes. The home, located on a dead-end road, provides seclusion and peacefulness. Take in the peace and quiet from the master-bedroom deck overlooking the privacy-fenced back yard.

So if you want to see what living in Black Mountain is like, you want to escape the Florida heat for a month, or you will be working in the Asheville area for an extended period and don't want to check into a hotel, then Hill Haven may be just the place. Check out this listing as well as Greybeard's other furnished monthly rentals. As the old commercial slogan goes, "try it; you'll like it!"

Orange Peel On A Checklist for the NC Bred

If you already live in NC or if you just think you might like to, check out this list we ran across of "The 21 ways to know you're a real North Carolinian." The list mentions Andy Griffith and James Taylor which are fairly self-explanatory. For a few of the other items listed, you really do need to have at least visited here to know what it's all about.

Cheerwine makes the list.

Cheerwine makes the list.

If, for example, you've never been to North Carolina, you probably haven't enjoyed a cold Cheerwine on a warm day, used to wash down a moonpie, but they forgot to mention the moonpie. They talk about getting rained on during Merlefest, another event you sort of have to live here to know about. And they also make the observation of the obvious: If you are from NC, "you think 'sweet tea or unsweetened tea' is the dumbest question ever". We couldn't agree more!

But what really caught our eye at Greybeard was #21 on the list. It claims you know you're from NC if "you've reminded people that you saw the Avett Brothers at the Orange Peel." Whoa, the Orange Peel! We talked about the Orange Peel and the Asheville Music scene a while ago, and we appreciate the high quality music they bring into the Asheville area. We were still proud to see an Asheville-based music venue made the list.

If you're ready to make your home in western NC and live the NC dream that is detailed in this 21 item list, then check out the Asheville Real Estate listings on the Greybeard website. If you just want to come for a visit, Greybeard Rentals vacation listings are worth checking out. And don't forget to see what's happening at the Orange Peel while you're here.

Purchase An Asheville Vacation Rental Home; Leave the Rental Management to Us

Greybeard Rentals Management Team Receives Recognition

Greybeard Rentals Management Team Receives Recognition

How many of you enjoyed your western NC vacation this summer so much that you're ready to purchase your own vacation home in the Asheville area? If one obstacle that makes you hesitate is managing your property, Greybeard Rentals can help you with that.

Greybeard's management team was recently recognized again by FlipKey and Trip Advisor as one of their most outstanding companies. In addition, Greybeard Rentals received their "Rated Excellent" badge which is awarded based on past guests' reviews. And while some awards are given based on reviews by a few people, the "rated excellent" is based on reviews by more than 1000 guests, indicating a consistency of service by our management team.

At Greybeard Rentals, we carefully select our rental homes, only listing those we would vacation in ourselves. And we pay careful attention to details as well. Each home is inspected prior to our guests' arrivals, a freshly-baked loaf of pumpkin bread is awaiting each guest, and a Greybeard Rental management team member is on call 24/7 to personally answer each call from our guests who may have an issue or a pressing question.

Another unique aspect of Greybeard Rentals property management is our Guest Services division. The vacation packages and a la carte offerings offered on our guest Services webpage caught the attention of the NY Times, as noted in our 2010 rental blog. So check out our vacation homes for sale listings at Greybeard Realty and find the home of your dreams. When you've made your home selection, we can assist you with the rest. Leave the rental details to us.

Getting to Know the Asheville Area: It's Off to the Races

The Asheville area has a large number of road races and trail runs coming up, and runners will tell you that training for those events is a great way to get to know different neighborhoods. If you're into running, either on the road or on the trails, it's hard to beat Asheville as a place to live.

Train and Tour Asheville

Train and Tour Asheville

Although almost all of the extended Asheville area is good for running and training, there are a couple of communities that stand out in particular.  If you want to live somewhere where you can just lace up your running shoes and step out the door, consider homes in Montreat. In addition to the circuitous sidewalks through the community, there also are a number of hiking/running trails. Greybeard Realty has free trail maps if you want to come by and pick one up. In addition, South Asheville and Creston are two other western NC communities for buyers looking for running-friendly places.

If you want to know about the latest road races, need some new training equipment, or would just generally like to know what's going on in the Asheville area running community, there are two great places to check out. Black Mountain Running Company has great folks. On their website, they promise to be all things running to Black Mountain. Jus' Running, in Asheville, also has extensive equipment and information; their website states they are "western NC's running headquarters". Both companies are home grown and very familiar with what's happening for runners in western NC and what living in the area is like. So get your running shoes on, hit the road, and start checking out the neighborhoods.

Landscape Improves for Asheville Land Sales

If you read the recent Greybeard blog on the increase in local construction permits, you may have wondered where all these new residential permits are being put to use. If the July MLS statistics on land sales are any indication, we may have found the answer.

Asheville land sales on the rise.

Asheville land sales on the rise.

Land sales in Asheville increased from 181 units sold year to date last year to 309 units for the same period in 2013. That represents a 71% increase for year to date from 2013. Black Mountain had a 20% increase year to date in land sales, from 15 units to 18 units. In terms of dollars sold, both Asheville and Black Mountain had increases that paralleled the number of units sold. Asheville showed a 69% increase while Black Mountain had a 23% increase.

One reason for this increase may be the tightening of supply of homes in the Asheville area market. As was discussed in a recent Greybeard blog on real estate trends, the number of homes on the market in the Asheville area is decreasing as well.  It may be that home buyers are becoming home builders to build the home of their dreams when they can't find it on the Asheville sales market.

Even with the large increases in land sales, the market has not returned to its peak of 2006. In that year there were 565 units sold year to date in Asheville and 54 land units sold in Black Mountain.  It will be interesting to track land sales over the next few months to see if the current trend holds. For more information, check out Greybeard's current market reports which updates frequently and will let you track Asheville market trends.