Asheville Mountain Real Estate Blog

Asheville, NC real estate for sale. Information for buyers, sellers and mountain homeowners, without pressure. Rich content for those who are far away about what it is like to live here through the generous use of media. And some nostalgia with our, "Baby Boomers' Fun Stuff", Thanks for stopping by.

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

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Asheville: More Best of Lists

In recent years, Asheville and its surroundings have been named to enough "best of" lists that we stopped counting around 50 or so.

It might be said that we live in an age of lists, but still, we find it notable. In the past week, we became aware of two more best of designations.

First, from The Asheville Business Blog, we read that our fair city was again ranked as the #2 small town in the nation as an arts destination. We have always emphasized our region as hip, artsy and eclectic, and the recognition on some official level is nice.

The concentration of artists as a percentage of the total workforce is an area we wrote about last year. From downtown to across town, to the outlying counties, visitors and residents alike are face to face with artistic expression, studios and galleries of all kinds.

Second, from our friends at Carolina Mornings, we were alerted to a citation as the # 6 city in which to live for business and careers by Forbes magazine. You can check out the latest big picture economic indexes from the Economic Development Coalition whose March report should be out soon.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Asheville: Spring Festival Calendar

The Citizen Times clues us into the fact that it is spring with a list of upcoming festivals, through approximately Mid May.

Here is a small list of some personal favorites.

Hot Springs Trailfest: April 24-26
The small resort town, which really does have natural hot springs, gears up for the 14th Annual Trailfest. Hot Springs is one of perhaps just two towns that the world famous Appalachian Trail actually runs through.

MerleFest: April 23-26
Held in Wilkesboro, and paying homage to Merle Haggard and Doc Watson the event features many national acts from Linda Ronstadt to Doc himself. Full details at their website.

12th French Broad River Festival: May 1-3
Conceived around a camp fire some 13 years ago, the festival has grown to include two music stages, a raft race, bike race, river cleanup, a full list of national sponsors and more. Celebrating the ancient Madison County waterway, The French Broad River. Full details at their website.

LEAF: The Lake Eden Arts Festival: May 7-10
One of the largest and most uniquely Asheville gatherings in any year. This arts, music, dance, and food gala spans 4 days over the campus of Camp Rockmont.

LEAF boasts more stages and venues than one can count all in an almost Woodstock like atmosphere with the tents of exhibitors and festival goers dotting the landscape. Full details at their website.

As usual we close with this weekend on a shoestring.


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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bank Stress Tests Explained

A lot of headlines and talk are out there as to the upcoming stress tests for the banking industry. Summarized here in a 2 minute and 24 second video from The Wall Street Journal.


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Monday, April 20, 2009

Earth Day Events in Asheville

The Asheville Citizen Times today lists Earth Day events in our fair city which will run all week. A couple that stand out include:
Tuesday

-“Who Killed the Electric Car?” In honor of Earth Day, the UNC Asheville Society of Automotive Engineers invites the public to a free screening of “Who Killed the Electric Car?” Following the film, hybrid electric vehicle engineer Dave Erb will moderate a discussion of sustainable transportation. 6:30 p.m. in 125 Robinson Hall, UNC Asheville. Call 251-6744.
And on Wednesday, the "official" Earth Day:
Wednesday/Earth Day

- Orange Peel concert to benefit GreenWorks: Earth Day Asheville is a music and dance show in support of Asheville GreenWorks. 7-11 p.m. at The Orange Peel at 101 Biltmore Ave. Children younger than 12 admitted free. Tickets are $10. Visit www.earthdayasheville.org or www.theorangepeel.net. Call 254-1776.
Mountain Express reminds us that this is the 39th Earth Day, and provides its own list of events in the region for those nearby.

Be kind to your mother, (earth), as the saying goes.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Asheville: Of Walking, Weather, and Weekends

It is mid-April, and the weather forecast for our fair city is gorgeous this weekend. Why not come by and take a walk?

Walkability
We have written from time to time about how an area's walkability, can be a desired trait in real estate markets. The last couple of years have even given rise to online methods for far away buyers to measure a region's walk score.

Asheville is especially attractive as a walkable area, here is the current downtown walkscore, 98 out of 100. We even escaped the so called "Starbucks' Effect".

The idea there is that when neighborhoods lost a Starbuck's, that the walkscore suffered, and property values declined. We have even seen The Wall Street Journal pick up on the walkability phenomenon in its real estate commentary.

And Where To Walk in Asheville This Weekend?
As always, Mountain Express gives us its Weekend on s Shoestring.

The Asheville Citizen Times has what they call the Take 5 section which covers everything from music, to film, dining and more to do.

But, While Driving
The NC Highway Patrol will be out, with special focus on work zones.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

February, 2009: Real Estate Market Data

The Quick Summary
Buyers and sellers should be wary about month to month comparisons that may show deceptive increases when reported in the media. The market is still quite bearish.

What we all want to really know, among other things, is how does one number or another compare with some meaningful time of normalcy, not last month.

Supply Indicators
New Homes Permits, Starts, and Completions, (PDF): Declined from one year ago by 44.2%, 47.2%, and 37.3% respectively. These numbers were all improved over January. Discerning buyers and sellers however should know that this is always the case, and the amount of increase was nothing to get excited about.

Moreover, the lion's share of the increase
came from multi family starts. This is not an index that points to a healthy housing market as we traditionally use that term. Instead, it represents an increasingly established shift from ownership to renting.

Single family starts, the most leading of indicators have now declined 42.3% from one year ago, and 77.1% from the peak in January, 2005.

New Home Inventories, expressed as months of supply remains at 12.2.

Existing Home Inventories: The months of supply remains elevated at 9.7 months. 6 months of supply would be a more healthy level historically. Additionally, the raw number of homes for sale rose for the first time since July, 2007.

Demand Indicators
New Home Sales, (PDF): Volume declined by 41.1% from one year ago. As always one must recall that this comes on top of large year over year declines in 2006, 2007, and 2008, in order to have an accurate picture.

New home sales now stand at 76% less than the peak in 2005, with more than a year's worth of inventory, just under record highs.

Existing Home Sales: Declined by 4.6% from one year ago. Foreclosures and distressed sales comprise 40% to 45% of the national market. As such, foreclosures artificially lower prices, and increase total market volume from what it would be, while inhibiting the ability of traditional sellers to compete.

As long as this persists, the market for existing homes cannot be deemed healthy or normal. Any sales "increases" will have to be treated with caution.

And In Greater Asheville
Existing home sales have declined from one year ago at around 6 times the national rate of 4.6%:
The number of existing homes sold last month in the Asheville area fell nearly 30 percent last month compared with February 2008 and the average home sale price also dropped...

February sales were down in other WNC counties where figures are reported to the state association, falling 51.0 percent in Haywood County over February 2008, 36.1 percent in Henderson and 27.8 percent in Transylvania.

Local home sales have trailed national sales in recent months. Existing home sales nationally for February were down 4.6 percent over February 2009 and up 5.1 percent from January to February on a seasonally adjusted basis. Local figures are not seasonally adjusted.
A number of times we have written about the mechanisms of the greater Asheville real estate market. Specifically that we depend on buyers from "feeder areas". If one cannot sell their home back home, then population growth and the real estate market here will reflect that.

Our feeder markets are at or near the heart of the real estate bubble. The Citizen Times recently weighed in on this point:
“It's the bursting of a ‘migration bubble,'” said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution think tank who analyzed the numbers. “Places that popped up in migration growth in the superheated housing markets earlier in the decade are now just as quickly losing their steam.

“It's the constraint of not being able to buy or sell a home that is keeping people from moving long distances,” he said.
Still time it seems for buyers and sellers to pick their spots in the market.

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Easter Weekend in Asheville

Most folks travel home for the Easter Holiday, but if home is greater Asheville, or if you are planning a getaway, here are a few links of note.

*AAA Carolinas says that gasoline prices will be $1.20/gallon than last year.

*The Asheville Citizen Times notes that highway construction will cease at 4:00 PM today in order to facilitate driving.

*The NC DOT always keeps a page for current road work as well.

*My Weaverville give us a list of Farmer's Markets and hours of operation.

*Mountain Express, once again
with their cute little feature, "this weekend on a shoestring".

*Ask Asheville tips us off to a Laugh Your Asheville Off presentation this Saturday. The festival website, with complete info is here.

*Lastly, stop by the "Take 5" section for more weekend flings from dining to art galleries.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Asheville Economic Roundup: February, 2009

The Economic Development Commission of Asheville and Buncombe County delivers its February Economic Update, a nice feature that we hope continues.

The high points would be rising unemployment. Statewide, North Carolina now ranks 4th in the nation at around 10.3%. Locally however numbers are around 8.7%, though this is twice the rate of one year ago.

The real estate data comes in around 2 minutes and 25 seconds, with total home sales down 49% from one year ago. Nationally, the decline is in the low teens.

Video is just shy of 6 minutes. Orginal location.



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