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An Asheville Cabin with a Movie Star Neighbor, Please

Like other Asheville cabin owners, I have mixed feelings when I see that Asheville has made another top ten list.  While I am reassured by these lists that I have indeed chosen to live in one of the best places on Earth, I fear that more and more people will discover what those of us who live here already know.   The Asheville area is a very special place.


Andie MacDowell, Asheville Neighbor


The most recent top ten listing comes from Barron's, the weekly business publication, and highlights the top ten places for second homes in the U.S. The article cites one real estate expert as noting that in addition to a good R&R site, investors are now on the prowl for solid investments as well.  The article points out that the decline in prices of luxury homes, in these second home markets, seems to have bottomed out.

Asheville came in at #9 on the list, trailing Maui, Kiawah Island, SC, and The Hamptons which finished 1,2,3 respectively.   Barron used as its criteria "gorgeous homes, spectacular views, world-class fishing and skiing, fine dining and great shopping."  It also cautions that the rankings are somewhat subjective as are house styles, and that a return on investment in buying one of these homes may take a while. For Asheville, they list the median luxury home at $700,000, representing a 38% decline from peak pricing.   As a bonus, the article also notes the most famous movie star who could be your potential neighbor.  In the instance of Asheville, it is actress Andie MacDowell.  If you are a Barron's subscriber, you can read the full article.  If you want to look for your own luxury home in a top ten setting, please contact Greybeard Realty.




Black Mountain Appeal: Hot Market

Chip Craig, Greybeard Realty founder, studies the Black Mountain market regularly.  In a recent Asheville-Citizens Times article, he notes that the return of positive numbers in the local market is not surprising to him.  "It was growing a lot before this downturn," he said. "We were one of the last areas to feel it, so it makes sense we'd be one of the first areas to improve," said Craig. 

Black Mountain Views

Black Mountain Views

In addition, Buncumbe County continues to show positive signs of real estate growth.  Another piece in the Citizens Times attributes the growth to new buyers and price shifts.  Be sure to read the particulars of this article  for more insight into the steadily improving market.

From the previously mentioned articles, it appears the numbers indicate that the local real estate market is headed toward more steady growth. As other areas of the country improve, and more people can sell their existing homes in those areas, expect to see even more people coming to Black Mountain to enjoy what the area has to offer.

Black Mountain and Montreat Real Estate: "It's All Relative"

Last month I cited my father's advice in saying "if you can't say something nice then don't say anything."  This month, I would like to point to the wisdom of Albert Einstein when I say, when considering the annual numbers for homes sales for Black Mountain, just remember, "It's all relative."

A quick glance down the column of percent change for the annual home sale statistics for Black Mountain homes in 2009 (provided by MLS) would seem to indicate a slow market.  The largest positive percent change is in days on the Market, hardly a number you would like to see going up.  Even the increase in homes sold, while positive, is fairly small.

asheville2009If you compare the percent change from 2008/2007 and 2009/2008, however, I think you will see my point.  While the number of homes sold decreased dramatically in 2008, that number actually increased modestly in 2009.

In addition, if you compare Black Mountain homes sales with Buncombe County home sales for the year ending 2009, you will see that county-wide sales have actually fallen off 11%.  Again, that decline is not as steep county-wide as it was in 2008 (29%), but it is a negative number nonetheless.  The modest increase for Black Mountain illustrates to me that the housing market in our area is heading back in the right direction.

If you consider total sales volume for Black Mountain in 2009, you will see a decrease of 8% which on its own might be troubling. Compare that to the 39% decrease for 2008, and I believe you will see the reason for my optimism.  Also, compare Black Mountain sales volume for 2009 (-8%) with Buncombe County sales volume (-17%) for the same period which further illustrates my point.

An even more positive sign for the Black Mountain real estate market is the significant increase in sales for the latter half of 2009, indicating a marked improvement over the last sixth months.  In the last 6 months of 2009, total sales volume in Black Mountain was $16.3 million.  Contrast that with the $11 million during the same period of 2008; that's a 48% increase in the last sixth months of 2009 versus the same period in 2008 which is a very positive sign.

There are still some pockets of concern. For example, the average home price of homes sold has declined 11% for the year.  I would anticipate, however, that with the reduction in the number of homes on the market, that figure will also begin to stabilize during 2010.bmtsalesvolume

As usual when I reflect on the statistics I offer caution.  Yes, at first glance, it may look like there are more decreases than increases.  With a closer analysis, however,   I can glean some good news from less than positive numbers.


Boost For Buncombe County Home Sales


The ground hog predicts more winter, but Spring is showing some promise in the Asheville Real Estate Market (photo

Punxsutawny Phil is not the only one making predictions and prognostications this time of year. Industry experts  have noted the trends within the Asheville real estate market of the last few months, and for these observers, the future appears to be one of improvement.

A recent front page article in the Asheville Citizens-Times cites a 50% increase in monthly home sales in Buncombe County for December, marking the fourth straight month of sales increases over the previous year.  The dramatic increase is tempered by the knowledge that the fall and early winter of 2008 were economically challenging times for the area.  The four month trend upward, however, indicates that the market appears to be headed in a better direction.

"All my graphs are starting to point in the right direction," said Chip Craig, owner of GreyBeard Realty in Black Mountain. From Asheville Citzen Times

For the specific statistics and to read the whole article which includes more comments from Greybeard Realty founder, Chip Craig.

Asheville Ranked #6 on Forbes List of Business-Friendly Cities

The is the city of Asheville, North Carolina's...Image via Wikipedia

Asheville, NC was recently ranked #6 on's list of the Best Places for Business and Careers.  The list studied cities throughout the U.S., and ranked areas based on such factors as Cost of Doing Business, Net Migration, and Income Growth.  Asheville ranked #2 nationally on the Cost of Doing Business list, costing businesses 20% less than the national average.  As a state, North Carolina dominated this category, taking the top 4 spots and 6 of the top 7.

Overall, North Carolina had 6 cities in the top 20 of the Forbes list, including 3 in the top 6.  Kurt Badenhausen, Associated Editor at Forbes, explains North Carolina's business-friendly environment in a video posted on the Forbes website.  Click here to listen to his comments and watch the entire Forbes video.