Recent national headlines have announced the demise of the once-booming housing market across the country. Publications including The New York Times and USA Today have carried articles such as "Housing Market Slumping" and "Existing Home Sales Decreasing with Softening Prices." An October 11, 2006 article from the National Association of Realtors website states that "existing home sales for all of 2006 are expected to drop 8.9%." In addition, an informal survey within town of local vacationers has them reporting their home real estate markets, particularly in Florida, are very soft this year.
So is that national trend downward of real estate being felt in Black Mountain? It's not seen if one compares area statistics in real estate sales activity in Black Mountain this year versus last year. First of all, in numbers provided by the Asheville Multiple Listing Service, for the first three quarters of this year, total sales volume of homes in Black Mountain increased 14%. The average sales price year to date is $228,000, compared to $195,000 in 2005, a 17% increase. The median price of homes in the area rose 13% over 2005 to $192,000.
Two other important market indicators also defy the national real estate slowdown. Days on market, the length of time a house is listed prior to being under contract, year to date through September 2006 is 84 days, very similar to the 2005 average of 80 days. Similarly, list price to sales price in 2006 is 96%, which is exactly the same as 2005.
So why isn't Black Mountain seeing the softening of the real estate market that's affecting so many other national markets? In the first place, Black Mountain never saw the tremendous surge in prices that other markets have experienced in the last three to five years. The cyclical market correction other areas are experiencing therefore isn't necessary in the Black Mountain market.
Secondly, Black Mountain has received national attention in recent articles highlighting the area's high quality of life. For example, National Geographic Adventure magazine listed the Asheville area as one of its ten Great Adventure Towns in 2004. Consumer Reports chose the Asheville area as one of its five Best Places to Retire in 2005. All of this positive publicity increases the demand for housing as interest among second home purchasers and retirees grows. In addition, new developments such as the Settings of Black Mountain, Creston and Catawba Falls have advertised the area heavily in national publications.
So is Black Mountain just a little behind the times or has the area managed to avoid the downward trend? Nationally, the decrease in the housing market seems to be stabilizing. According to the National Association of Realtors website, pending home sales are up 4.3% from July to August this year, the latest data available. In addition, the national average for 30 year mortgage interest rate has declined to 6.3% from a high of 6.8% in July 2006.
In short, it appears that Black Mountain has likely avoided that national downward real estate trend, once again showing that the area remains a great place to live, invest and retire.