Since COVID-related reopenings began to occur in May, the residential real estate market acceleration across Western NC has been noticeable. The greater Asheville region has always been a popular place to live, work, recreate, and visit. Across the country, we’re seeing a rise in migration to popular places that offer a healthy and active lifestyle, along with access to the great outdoors. Asheville’s popularity as a destination is fueling a lot of the market demand we’re seeing, and personally, we don’t expect market interest to slow down anytime soon.
So how does this market demand relate to home sales pace, and what opportunities are out there for buyers and sellers? Available inventory is now one of our biggest market challenges, as Buncombe County currently has an astounding 42% less inventory available now than last September. We’ve seen many months in a row where more properties have gone under contract than have been listed, which is contributing to the decreased inventory amounts. In fact, we currently have less than 6 months of inventory available for all price ranges $900,000 and less in Buncombe County, with less than 3 months of inventory available for all price ranges $500,000 and less. For reference, 6 months of inventory is generally regarded as a metric for a balanced housing market. This inventory shortage is affecting the lower price ranges more substantially, as this is where the greatest market demand is seen. Multiple offers for desirable properties are becoming common, and days on market have been decreasing steadily due to housing inventory being absorbed at a faster pace. With low inventory and increased sales, home prices have been understandably increasing. For reference, home prices are up an eye-opening 33% from September 2019, and this sharp increase is primarily due to a higher volume of high-end sales occurring. These numbers specifically pertain to Buncombe County, yet we’re seeing similar trends across multiple smaller towns and Western NC submarkets. This market data report from our KW Colleague Zack Ruiz offers an excellent visual look at the most recent trends in Buncombe County.
In summary, these market conditions create fantastic conditions for sellers throughout Western NC. In fact, there has never been a better time in market history to sell real estate. For buyers, the market is more challenging to navigate, yet we are finding success for our clients with proactive searches and creativity in uncovering what’s on the market, sometimes with properties that have not yet been publicly listed. In any event, working with an expert real estate agent greatly increases your chances of success. If you are planning a new home build, be sure to coordinate with your contractor to track material and labor costs closely to keep the project on budget. The costs of lumber and other materials have been increasing.
For the Western NC land markets, these trends are also accurate. The demand for quality mountain land is certainly increasing as more people realize the potential for land as a long-term investment hold, with the benefit of being able to use it personally. Land prices are rising with this demand as well. What makes land a safer investment bet is that you cannot make more of it.
For the commercial real estate markets, different trends are being experienced. Understandably, retail, restaurants, hospitality, and other market segments are taking a hit, and we expect this to keep up as COVID-related effects continue to play out. We will follow up with additional commercial real estate information over the coming month.
Another notable trend is the outstanding performance of Airbnb properties over the Summer and Fall. Travelers have shown a preference for these types of accommodations over traditional hotels to avoid shared facilities with other guests. Western NC tourism demand has always been strong, and we expect the great performance of Airbnb properties to continue, creating opportunities for investors and personal use.
Curious to learn how you can succeed in the Western NC real estate market? We invite you to connect with our expert team today to learn more. With over $300M in combined career sales, our team is excited to share our expertise with you to benefit your family needs, lifestyle, and overall investment strategies.
Collin C. O’Berry
Altamont Property Group
Managing Broker / Owner