News Articles

Asheville Retirement Realities the Focus of Forbes List

Western North Carolina homes have long been valued for retirement. Now, the area is receiving national recognition from Forbes which recently named Asheville as one of the 25 best places to retire in 2012. The list cites Asheville's abundant physicians and good climate as just two of the reasons to choose our area.


Retiring to Asheville

Retire to Asheville


There is an excellent variety of homes for sale in Asheville that would be perfect for anyone considering retiring to the area. Greybeard has several long term rentals which can give potential home buyers a chance to sample our communities before making a commitment to purchase a piece of Asheville real estate.  In addition, long term rentals or vacationers can enroll in a retirement workshop and get some professional advisement on what to consider before retiring.

If retiring to Western North Carolina is on your bucket list but not on the immediate horizon, why not purchase an Asheville rental homeGreybeard Rentals, an award-winning property management firm, can manage all aspects of renting your new home until you are ready to move here yourself.

While the Forbes article focused on Asheville, several other local communities offer a more low-key, small town flavor while still providing access to Asheville's amenities such as the Biltmore Estate and the Asheville Art Scene.  Why not take a look at Black Mountain real estate or a Montreat  property which each have a flavor of their own. Our real estate agents know the area well and are happy to answer your questions about retiring to Western North Carolina.  Contact us today!

Asheville Arts Scene Receives Recognition

Anyone considering relocating to Asheville NC should consider the River Arts District, a very eclectic, arts-oriented neighborhood in Asheville.  An industrial center in the late 1800s, this historically significant area along the French Broad River is one reason that Asheville made American Style Magazine's list for the top 25 Small Cities for Art.


Asheville's open studios highlight local artists.


The article talks about the history and beauty of the Asheville area.  In addition to the River Arts District, the magazine cites the Asheville Art Museum as well as the annual Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands, July 19-22 this year, as just a few of the reasons Asheville tied for second on its list.  To get a taste of the Asheville art scene, check out the River Arts District's "Second Saturday Initiative, Collect Art Asheville" which happens the second Saturday of each month and includes studio open houses.

For information about homes available in or near the River Arts District as well as other unique communities within the Asheville real estate market, please contact Greybeard Realty.

Consider Asheville Foreclosure Properties As Alternative to Rent

The Asheville Real Estate market has not experienced the large number of foreclosure properties  that other areas across the nation have. Despite that, Greybeard's Asheville foreclosure properties listings offer a wide range of homes, and our Realtors understand the special considerations a buyer needs when purchasing a distressed property.

In the last few weeks, several articles have discussed the impact foreclosed properties has had on the national real estate market. As more people lose their homes and move into rental properties, the number of rental properties available has diminished which in turn has increased rental rates.  Also, mortgage rates continue to hover at record low rates, making becoming a home owner more affordable.


Asheville Foreclosures Benefit From Rising Rents


More people are finding that, if they have solid employment and an excellent credit rating, they actually can lower their housing costs by buying a home. In many instance, particularly if they can find a foreclosed property that appeals to them, buyers can spend less money monthly if they own their home rather than renting.

Again, while there are financial benefits, buyers need to understand the complexities that can accompany buying a distressed home. For more information on Asheville foreclosure properties or to get more information about the process of buying a distressed property, please contact Greybeard Realty.

Asheville Real Estate Benefits from Protected Land

A 492-acre parcel of Laurel Ridge property, purchased by the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC), preserves watershed headwaters located 19 miles outside of Asheville.  By protecting this land, the SAHC ensures that the majestic views from particular areas of the Blue Ridge Parkway will remain undisturbed and undeveloped.

Natural Beauty of Mountain Laurel

Carl Silverstein, Executive Director for SAHC summarized the importance of the purchase on his organization's website. "This acquisition is particularly exciting because the size and location of the property strengthens the protected landscape between the Asheville and Bee Tree watersheds. This provides a positive impact on water quality as well as keen advantage in protecting wildlife habitat, forest quality, and other conservation values."

SAHC, one of only 9 accredited lands trusts in N.C., has protected 49,846 acres since incorporating in 1974.

The land, situated within Laurel Ridge, contains about 4 miles of streams, rises 4800 feet in elevation, and harbors acres of hardwood forest. Laurel Ridge, a Black Mountain gated community, offers varied terrain with privacy and tranquility.  Greybeard Realty has several homes and land parcels for sale in this beautiful community. For more information about these properties, please contact Greybeard Realty.



Potential New Asheville Brewery Causing Buzz

Those of you who got a chance to sample a few of our locally brewed beers at this year's Asheville Oktoberfest will be excited to learn the new buzz about Asheville's craft brewing market.  Rumors within the Asheville business community are swirling around the possible news that a second major American craft brewery may be relocating to the Black Mountain area.  If true, business leaders predict that the new company could bring as many as 140 new jobs to the Asheville business market.


Beer Mug

More beer headed our way?


Rumored to be studying Black Mountain and Buncombe County very seriously, this brewery can only enhance Asheville's recognition as a premier beer community.  Buncombe County, home to 10 craft breweries already, has won the Beer City USA designation for the last three years.

Black Mountain already boasts of one major craft brewery, Pisgah Brewing Co.,  and that company's founder told a local journalist that adding another major craft brewery would increase local tourism. The new brewery, thought to be a West Coast business, would offer brewery tours and have a restaurant.

For more information or to check out local real estate offerings, please contact Greybeard Realty.

President Obama Praises Asheville

On day one of his three day bus tour, President Obama stopped by the Asheville airport and expressed optimism about job creation in Asheville and North Carolina. While promoting has job plan, he also expressed his love for Asheville.  Speaking before a primarily supportive crowd, he talked about the urgency for job creation not only in


President Obama Speaks

President Obama at the podium earlier


Asheville and North Carolina but across the nation.  In his remarks, however, he paid special tribute to Asheville.

"I love Asheville," he told the crowd.  "Every time I meet somebody I say have you guys gone down to Asheville?  Our family has great memories of staying here, and it's always nice to get out of Washington and breathe some of that mountain air."

The President and Mrs. Obama last visited Asheville in April 2010 and made several stops at local hangouts.  It's always nice when someone recognizes what those of us who live here have known all along.  Asheville is a special place.

For more information about Asheville Real Estate, please contact Greybeard Realty.

Asheville Real Estate Market Welcomes Vacation Rental Ordinance Change

The Asheville real estate market received a potential boost October 4th when Buncombe County commissioners voted unanimously to change the current zoning ordinance for vacation rentals.  Since December 2009, residential rental restrictions have been in place, limiting new properties from entering the rental market. 

With the rental restrictions, many Realtors reported that homebuyers looking for second homes were often deterred by the rental restrictions.  It is not unusual for people planning to retire in Buncombe County to buy a home prior to retirement and put it into the rental market until they are ready to relocate to the area permanently.  The restrictions meant that was no longer a legal option.


Buncombe County rental restrictions eased

Rental Restrictions for Buncombe County revized.


With the commissioners' action which allows rentals countywide, homeowners will now have that option restored.  In addition, visitors to the Asheville area will have more rental properties from which to choose.  Many tourists prefer to stay in a home and have a more authentic mountain cabin experience than a hotel room may provide.

For more information about Asheville area homes and rental properties, please contact Greybeard Realty.

Asheville Real Estate Benefits From A Greenway Path

A recent article in the Asheville Citizens-Times discussed the plans for expanding the greenways throughout Black Mountain and talked about the inherent benefits of greenways, including recreation opportunities and attractiveness to new businesses.  In addition, it's important to note the real estate advantages to having greenways throughout a community, and the Asheville area real estate sales may see a positive effect from the greenway system.


Peaceful Greenways Benefit Asheville Real Estate Market


Greenways are trails of open space preserved for recreation and conservation.  In many instances, the paths connect common areas and provide safe passage through communities with limited exposure to vehicular traffic.  Greenways often offer protection for native plant life and can help in flood protection as well.

National studies indicate that greenways have a positive effect on real estate sales.  In several studies, days on the market (dom) are reduced when the property is adjacent to a greenway. One particular study indicates that houses adjacent to the greenway sold in just over half the time properties further away from the pathways stayed on the market.  In addition, home values increase on those cites adjacent to the pathways, and sales prices were significantly closer to asking price for those homes as well.

So while Asheville and Black Mountain residents can take advantage of safe, beautiful areas for recreation, the Asheville real estate market can also expect to see some benefits in terms of prices and fewer days on the market for homes in proximity to the greenways.  For more information, please contact Greybeard Realty.


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

Greybeard Realty:Property for Sale



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.