Asheville Mountain Real Estate Blog

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Location: Mars Hill, NC, United States

A small, highly personalized real estate firm specializing in mountain homes and land in greater Asheville.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Asheville Real Estate: Market Recap For 2008

It's the last month of 2008, and time for a year end roundup of greater Asheville real estate data.

These numbers are dramatic, even brutal, but our aim is to provide empirical information from which to make good decisions.

The Details
Yesterday, The Citizen Times reported real estate statistics for November, 2008. All that really matters is quoted below:
The 50.4 percent decline in sales over November 2007 is the steepest since at least 1995, according to records kept by Tom Tveidt, head of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce's research arm.
The article addressed only sales of existing homes, which are the lion's share of the market. It is useful though to bear in mind that this decrease is measured against the already depressed levels seen in 2007. When compared with the same month in 2006, the decline in greater Asheville is 62%.

How Does This Compare With National Averages?
In a word, poorly. Nationally, existing home sales for October, 2008, the latest month for which data is available, fell by only 1.6% from October, 2007. National numbers for November, 2008 will not be complete for another 10 days or so.

Why Does This Look So far Off From National Numbers?
Our best guess stems from a topic we have addressed more than once, the specific mechanisms of the greater Asheville market.

In short, Western North Carolina has traditionally relied upon buyers from Georgia, Florida, and Virginia. These states are at or near the heart of the foreclosure storm. On a percentage basis, they all occupy the top 10, maybe even the top 5, we've lost track to be honest.

High foreclosure rates hurt ordinary sellers, who cannot compete with cut rate prices. If someone cannot sell their home in our feeder states, they cannot buy one here.

The decline in closings in greater Atlanta for example, roughly matches the percentages we see here in the Asheville region.

What About Land Sales?
Land has been one of the great under reported stories in our opinion. In the counties that we watch most closely, land sales are down 75% to 85% from 2006, and in certain communities, the decline exceeds 94% from 2006.

Historically, land sales range from 1.5 to 2.0 times the number of home sales. In 2008, total land sales in our watch area will be around 75% of total home sales. No one we have spoken to can say this has ever happened before.

Summary: On An Annual Basis
We expect for the year as whole to see home sales in our counties down by 45% from 2006, and in certain communities, as much as 65%

The average drop in land sales for our area will be around 80% less than 2006. In certain communities, more than 94% less.

CONTACT us for any local or hyper local reports you may need, and...

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Black Bear Realty Website
828 689 2055
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Filed Under: Asheville Real Estate and Housing Statistics

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