The mid-year Asheville real estate numbers are in, and, on the surface, the statistics show a small decline in home sales for Buncombe County and continued growth in Black Mountain. After a closer analysis of the numbers, however, it appears that there may be some changes coming to the western NC real estate market.
For the first six months of 2018, the number of homes sold decreased 7% from the same period last year, declining to 1843 homes in 2018 down from 1991 homes the previous year. At the same time, the total sales volume declined 3%, to $639 million, while the average home price increased 5% to $347,051 for year-to-date 2018. In addition, the sales price/list price ratio (SP/LP) has stayed steady at 98% for the first half of this year. At face value, these numbers do not point to any strong trends, but a closer look reveals a few numbers that may raise some eyebrows.
At the same time as the home prices show some growth, the number of homes on the market has increased a moderate 3%, up to 1978 homes in 2018 from 1921 homes in 2017. That number, while an increase, is still dramatically below the 2011 number of 3089 homes on the market. What catches the attention here is the increase in the average home price at the same time the number of homes on the market has increased, albeit slightly. Also, the number of days on the market (DOM) has increased slightly as well, up to 74 days in 2018 year-to-date versus 71 days at the same time last year. Could it be just a small shift or are these numbers indicative of a new market trend?
The Black Mountain real estate numbers indicate a bit different scenario, again at face value. And as always, it is important to remember that the Black Mountain market is very small. Drawing firm conclusions from this small a market can be tricky. The number of homes sold increased in mid-year 2018 to 93 homes, up 3% from 2017’s 89 units sold. Total sales volume increased a hefty 17% in 2018, up to $30.6 million from $26.2 million in 2017. Of course, that means that there was an increase in the average home price in 2018, up 12% to $329,443. And, the SP/LP ratio tightened slightly from 2017, up to 98% in 2018.
And again, just like in the Buncombe County stats, it is the more detailed figures that catch the eye. DOM has increased from 64 days in 2017 year-to-date to 85 days in 2018. Also, there has been an 8% increase in the number of homes on the market. At mid-year 2018 there were 115 homes on the market, 29 of which were under contract. For the same time in 2017, that figure was 106 homes with 30 homes under contract. So, it seems as if the market may be loosening up a bit. There definitely seems to be some support in both Buncombe County and Back Mountain figures that a shift may be occurring.
What’s interesting to see is the combination of statistics that present mixed information. At the same time that the DOM is increasing slightly, the supply is also increasing. But, the price in both realms represented here continue to increase. It appears that there may be reasons to be observant to the market over the next few quarters.
For example, these statistics represent only one snapshot of the market news. It is not possible to predict or see a trend in this one set of data. It could just be a slight correction with the market continuing its growth in the next quarter. It could be, however, that the market is beginning to slow. It could be the impact of the slight rise and predicted further increase in market interest rates is impacting the market. There’s also a possibility that buyers are getting somewhat concerned about the US economy with tariffs imposed and investigations underway which may lead to a market slowdown. Also, if the prices continue to grow, that may make houses seem less affordable to folks which may in turn lead to a slowdown.
So, in short, numbers for the first half of 2018 present a very mixed message with price increases and small increases in demand with larger increases in average prices. At Greybeard Realty, real estate market numbers are tracked quarterly, and by the end of the third quarter, there should be a clearer picture of just what is going on in the western NC housing market. In the meantime, if you're interested in seeing Greybeard's exclusive real estate listing, please visit the Greybeard Realty listings page.