Blog :: 01-2011

Some Small Signs of Hope in Market Declines

Annual numbers for real estate sales for 2010 have been released by MLS, and at first glance it's hard to find much good news to hang your hat on.  A quick scan down to the percent change shows negative numbers in every category except one---and that one shows no change at all.  Those declines hold true for both Buncombe County and Black Mountain.



Western NC real estate sign

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A closer look at those numbers, however, does indicate some signs that the market may be stabilizing.  In fact, coupled with the slight economic improvements cited by Chairman Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve earlier this month, one can even argue that the real estate market in our area is in a position to start an upward turn in the near future.

In Buncombe County, the number of homes sold held steady from 2009 to 2010 while the total sales volume and average price for home sales both declined at a rate of 4%.  That decrease is slightly lower than the 7% decrease experienced in the county market from 2008 to 2009 in average price and significantly less than the 17% decrease in total sales volume from 2008 to 2009.  And that's where one has to look at the county market with a bit of optimism.  With prices declining at a slightly lower rate than the previous year, the real estate market may be indicating that home prices are stabilizing.

In Black Mountain, the numbers are not as optimistic.  First of all, the area experienced a 14 percent decline in number of homes sold.  Sales volume decreased 17 percent as well.  The average home prices dropped 4% which actually is an improvement from the 11% decline from 2008 to 2009.

Black Mountain's real estate market buyers differ from those of the County because many of them tend to be buying second homes, homes for retirement and vacation homes.  There is little doubt that tighter mortgage restrictions on second homes have restricted the number of buyers who can afford to enter the market at this time.

So why, you may fairly ask, do I see signs of hope in these numbers?   First of all, it's important that home prices seem to have stabilized.  Buyers who have been waiting for the market's home prices to bottom out can see that the numbers seem to be slowing in their decline.  With that pricing trend, buyers who have been waiting may see that it's time to enter the market before prices start moving up. Secondly, the stock market reached a two year high this month indicating that some buyers with larger portfolios may now have the funds needed to buy their second homes outright or at least have the money required for a down payment on a second home.

More patience may be required before the area market shows a complete turnaround.  I do think, however, that the most recent numbers can be read as showing very slight signs of life.  As is often the case with the real estate market, it's too soon to know whether we should tip our hats to the bull market that's just around the corner or pass the hat for the trouble that's ahead.  In this case, however, I'm going to tip my hat and hope the economy continues on its change of course. We encourage you to check out our Buncombe County real estate listings, or contact us if you have any questions.

Time to Purchase Your Own Asheville Rental Cabin?

If you have dreamed of owning an Asheville rental cabin of your own, you may be interested in the information presented recently in the Wall Street Journal. The article indicates that second home sales in some markets increased at dramatic levels last year. According to the article, the soaring sales levels can be attributed to deeply discounted prices on those homes, cash purchases by buyers not dependent on second home mortgages, and increasing stock portfolios of buyers.



Enjoy the NC Vistas

Mountain Views



If you have considered buying a second home, this may be the time to really start your search.  Before entering the buyers' market, however, there are some simple steps which can alleviate future issues during the buying process.  First of all, do your homework.  What purpose would the home serve?  Will you be renting it out when you aren't there?  Will you retire there in a few years? How much room do you need? Will you need a management company to keep the home in good condition and keep it rented regularly?

Another important step is to assess your own financial situation.  Will you need a second home mortgage which requires more stringent financials?  How much can you afford to spend?  It makes no sense searching through $1 million homes if you have a budget of $350,000.  Do you have a stellar credit rating?  If not, clean it up prior to applying for that second mortgage.

In the article, financial experts indicated that mortgage lenders were requiring as much as 25% down on second homes and clean credit reports.  Further, they indicated that the best prices on homes were found by buyers able to pay full cash for the home price.  The markets studied were Barnstable County, Cape Cod, MA, Mercer Island, WA, Hilton Head, SC, and Palm Beach, FL, and the increase of the number of homes sold ranged from 9% to 181%.

National numbers for 2010 second home sales will not be available until March 2011, but if these specific markets are any indication, it may be time to consider looking around for that second home. For more information, contact Greybeard Realty.

Montreat 2010 Real Estate Year in Review

2010 Montreat Real Estate Year in Review

2010 was a bounceback year for the Montreat homes market.  Nine homes were sold throughout the year, compared to only 3 in 2009.  Such a number of homes sold had not been seen since 2007, before the downturn hit the area.  Even in the very peak of 2006, the number of homes sold was 9.

One reason for the increase in sales in 2010 may be the variety of options available to buyers.  After the stock market decline of 2008, many buyers remained on the sideline in 2009.  But since the stock market began to increase and other economic indicators normalized a bit, buyers began to re-enter the market.  And homes that had been on the market in 2009 were more ready to negotiate, as seen in the 2010 Sales/List Price ratio.

To see details and photos of all 9 sales in 2010, click here.


The Montreat land market may have also begun a turnaround.  Of course, Montreat's land market is small, but 2010 saw as many sales as 2007 and 2008, and far more sales than in 2006.


Even with improved buyer confidence in 2010, there are still more homes and lots available at great prices.  To see the currenty inventory, use the links below.

1-Click Property Searches on Greybeard Realty's Website


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