First quarter numbers for home sales in Buncombe County are in, and the real estate market momentum seems to be building. While the most recent numbers are not back to levels of the peak market times in 2007, the solid numbers seem to lay a firm foundation for continued real estate growth in the Asheville area.
Of particular interest is the 28% increase in the number of homes sold for the first quarter of 2013 as compared with the same period last year. While the 2013 average price is down slightly (4%) from the similar period in 2012, total sales volume has increased county-wide by 22% this year over last year's volume.
Black Mountain had a smaller increase in number of homes sold for this quarter, an increase of 1 unit over 2012 first quarter homes sold. In addition, average price in Black Mountain has not held as steady as the average sales price has county wide. The combination of these two elements has led to a decrease in total sales volume in Black Mountain. Before anyone draws any significant conclusions about the small decline, however, one has to be careful as the amount of data available is fairly small.
These most recent statistics of the real estate market in the Asheville area indicate that interest in homes in Buncombe County and in Black Mountain is climbing. A very close analysis points to an interesting trend in Black Mountain in particular. In the last four years, first quarter home sales every other year have shown very strong growth with a slight slip the following year. It's sort of the idea of one large step forward, one little step back. This year is slightly down from last year, which was a very large increase from the previous year. That being the case, if that trend holds true, it is anticipated that next year's growth could be another big step.
Another interesting point is one that is supported by these numbers but also has been presented anecdotally by fellow Realtors in the last few months. The housing supply in the Asheville area is shrinking. In Black Mountain, the number of units on the market for the 2013 first quarter is 128, a decrease from 132 on the market for the same period in 2012. County-wide, the drop in homes listed is even more dramatic. The number of homes on the market has decreased in Buncombe County by 10% for the first quarter of this year, as compared with last year. And area Realtors are beginning to notice. While several years ago there seemed to be a limitless supply of homes to show potential buyers, now, area Realtors are commenting that there are fewer and fewer homes to show. This tightening of the housing supply could lead to a price increase over the next year.
In addition to these positive signs for future market growth, it is always important to take into account the seasonal nature of the area real estate market. As the weather warms, more people come out to find their dream home in the area. Given the trend toward area real estate growth, it is probably a good idea for anyone ready to sell their home to take advantage of the warm weather as well. This quarter could be a good time to take advantage of the good weather and get a house market-ready and listed. As Greybeard Realty heads toward the area's busy real estate season, the Asheville housing market could benefit from having a few more good houses listed.