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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Location: Mars Hill, NC, United States

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

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Uniquely Asheville: The Weekend

Uniquely Asheville is a modifier we've used in the past to encompass the eclectic nature of the region. Activities for the weekend ahead exemplify this quite well.

Friday May 29: The Drum Circle
Not so long ago, this Friday night tradition was under scrutiny, even a bit controversial. Times change though, and it now occupies an official place on the events calendar of the city website.

In another sign of legitimacy, the Downtown Association recently presented $1,000 worth of locally made drums to this fixture in Pritchard Park:
The donated drums will be available to drum circle participants and passersby who want to join the fun.
If you are unfamiliar, check out this 47 second video to get a flavor of what it's all about.

May 29-31: 9th Annual Mountain Sports Festival
The Citizen Times gives us an overview of this jam packed, and free event. As the name implies, visitors can experience everything from clinics on outdoor skills to music.

Check out The MSF Website, the all important events schedule, and our personal pick for uniquely Asheville, Ultimate Frisbee and frisbee golf.

Sunday May 31, US Air Guitar Regionals
Yep, the air guitar regionals are being held here at 8:00 PM on Sunday at one of Rolling Stone Magazine's Top 5 venues The Orange Peel. Love the slogan, "25 Cities, 1 Winner, 0 Guitars".

In Closing
Here is The Weekend on a Shoestring from Mountain Express, and the road report from The Citizen Times.

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Black Bear Realty Website
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Asheville's Drought

It seems like ages since since North Carolina, or greater Asheville, have seen a drought map that looked as good as this.

The Winston-Salem Journal noted the drought status with these words of context:
The drought of 2007-08 is considered the worst in North Carolina since record keeping on such conditions began in 1895. The drought began Feb. 13, 2007, moving from the mountains to the coast as a lack of rainfall depleted streamflows and reduced reservoirs to record low levels. Many towns imposed water-conservation restrictions.
Most of the recent improvement is attributable to an unusually wet month of May. The Citizen Times noted today that we might well set a record for rainfall before June begins.

Guarded Optimism?
Despite the past few weeks of above average moisture, our region at this point is still around one half inch below normal for the year. Over the past 30 months, the deficit is somewhere around 24 inches. This leads us to wonder about groundwater which replenishes more slowly than reservoirs.

According to the North Carolina Groundwater Association, 52% of state residents depend upon groundwater for drinking. This comes in the form of private or community owned wells. Outside of Asheville, in the mountain counties, groundwater is dominant for household and farm use.

The State Division of Water Resources monitors 46 wells across the state to assess the groundwater situation. Of particular note would be this page, which gives the current status. 33 of the 46 monitoring wells are still listed as being below mean flows.

One can only hope for continued rainfall, as it seems it will take some time yet for the groundwater situation to return to normal. But of course, not so much that it causes problems with mold and so forth for the many family farms.

The City of Asheville website has kept a close watch on this throughout, and offers water conservations tips as well.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Local Food: Greater Asheville

We touched upon local food last week with respect "pick your own" organic farms in the region. This week let's delve into some other aspects of Asheville's vibrant local scene.

One of the most comprehensive resources we can find would be The 2009 Local Food Guide from The Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.

The same organization is coordinating a Family Farm Tour on June 7 and 8 of this year, including 9 farms in our own Madison County. Full details are at the link.

Explore Asheville, a project of The Buncombe County Toruism Development Authority, has a website section known as The Foodtopian Society, and emphasizes as follows:
We believe that good food is sustainable food, with farm-to-table meals that feature seasonal ingredients from local fields.
From The Foodtopian page, readers can access options for growers, markets, dining, beer, and wine, of local origin.

From the same website, readers should not miss:
Local Flavors: Including links to organic food, regional specialties, farm to table restaurants and more.
Food Adventures: Including sidewalk cafes, gastro pubs, local breweries, free wine and beer tastings, and other local food resources.

This page from Sustainable Asheville lists as many local food groups and resources as one could imagine.

Not to be left out is The Asheville Food Blog, aka, She Who Eats.

We close with this piece from The Asheville Citizen Times, which surveys Asheville's place among great vegetarian cities:
The city was named the No. 1 Best Vegetarian-friendly Small City in the United States by a few years ago, based on its abundance of meat-free restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries and markets.
(ED Note: Citizen Times articles eventually disappear from their initial locations.)

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Asheville Economic Roundup: March, 2009

The Economic Development Commission of Asheville and Buncombe County delivers its March Economic Update. This is a regular feature from the EDC and is worth the 5 minute look.

The first two and one half minutes, as always, look at various economic sectors. The real estate data begins around 2:30. Depending on the month, sales in the region remain 4 times less than national numbers, or more.

We will have an in depth look at this in the coming days as to what it might all mean for local markets in homes and land for this summer. Until then, enjoy.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Uniquely Asheville: Best Beer City

We have always referred to greater Asheville as "the hip, artsy, and eclectic hub of the region". There are many elements in such a description. How else can a place claim to be eclectic?

Just a few aspects we have covered range from Best Arts Destinations, to the notable concentration of working artists, designation as one of America's Best Outdoor Towns, or as the home of a Top 5 Music Venue, among others.

Asheville: Best Beer City USA
An area we have not touched upon is now especially current for Asheville, and that would be beer. out of Atlanta recently ran a spirited online poll to name America's Best Beer City.

In a down to the wire finish, Asheville shared the ultimate title with Portland, Oregon. Asheville's breweries have been profiled at least once before, here in The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Our friends at Carolina Mornings inform us that "Asheville has the highest amount of micro-breweries per capita than any other city in United States." With that in mind, let's round up...

Asheville's Essential Beer Links
Asheville Beer Blog
Bruisin' Ales: One of the Top Ten Bottle Shops in the US by Imbibe Magazine.
Brews Cruise: Profile in Greater Asheville beers.
Romantic Asheville: Provides a list to some of the more well known brew places in our fair city.
Classic City Brew: Provides its own list for Asheville, and a number of other beer cities.

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Greater Asheville: "Pick Your Own" Organic Farms

We had a recent inquiry about "pick your own" organic farms in the area.

It seemed like a perfect way to learn some things we did not know and to highlight this part of the greater Asheville economy at the same time.

Sifting through a few pages of Google results we were able to come up with the set of online resources below.

Pick Your Own: Organic Farm Resources
Explore Asheville, from the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority provides a list of such farms, with links to their websites. Bottom line advice is to call ahead.

The Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project
gives us a nice search tool where visitors can use drop down menus to choose any such businesses from farm, to retail, wholesale, or tailgate markets. The same organization provides us with a list of members and links to the Mountain Tailgate Market Association.

North Carolina State University gives us this long list of organic resources ranging from marketing to tailgate markets and certifications.

The New Life Journal did a profile on The Zimmerman Berry Farm located in our home county of Madison. A quick look at their website indicates that prime picking season begins in mid June. Check them out at their website or call 828-656-2056.

What's in Season? A handy link to have throughout the year. For this point in May, major availability includes:
The year's first root vegetables are available, including radishes and turnips. Ramps--regional, wild onions--are also offered. Get them now--they're only briefly in season in the spring.

Moderate temperature keeps greens crisp. So, spring is also the prime time to shop for wide variety of greens for cooking and eating raw, as well as asparagus.
And we will close with a complete "pick your own" directory statewide from

Happy picking.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend,
Black Bear Realty Website
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Monday, May 04, 2009

March, 2009 Real Estate Data

The Quick Summary
There are a number of 45 or 50 year lows being touched in the different market segments. It is our belief that any calls for a market bottom, however timid, are premature.

The huge overhang in inventories and the dominance of foreclosed and distressed sales are huge and unhealthy factors that will take perhaps the rest of the year to work off. Local and national markets remain a long way from normal.

Supply Indexes
New Homes Permits, Starts, and Completions, (PDF): Declined from one year ago by 45.0%, 48.4%, and 30.9% respectively. In spite production cutbacks like these for more than 18 months now, inventories of new homes remain bloated at 12.2 months of supply, about twice the level we would like to see.

The Census Dept began this data series in 1959 and March comes in as the second lowest point seen in those 50 years. The Big Picture has nice graphics for those inclined. Single family starts, the most prominent of indicators remains around 77% below the peak in 2005. Single family starts were down 50% in the South.

Existing home inventories expressed as months of supply rose to 9.7 months. There is no escaping the fact here, with either new or existing homes that such excess inventory will continue to put pressure on prices, and keep buyers on the sidelines until then.

Demand Indexes
New Home Sales, (PDF): Volume declined by 30.6% from one year ago. The annual rate of 356K is the lowest level for any March since 1963. In the South new home sales declined by 29.7% from last year.

Existing Home Sales, fell by 7.1% from one year ago. In the South, they fell by 10.9%, while single family homes in the South declined by 11.3%. Around half of these sales are distressed or foreclosed properties. Business Week points out that foreclosures in March, 2009 set a new high.

We have stressed the wide, negative impact that distressed sales have on the numbers many times. Distressed sales artificially inflate existing sales levels, at artificially lower prices, thus hurting the ability of normal sellers to compete, and in fact, decreasing what might have been new home sales. See Calculated Risk for more.

And In Greater Asheville?
From The Asheville Citizen Times:
Existing home sales in Buncombe County fell 19.5 percent last month from March 2008...
In our home county of Madison, for Q1 2009 vs. Q1 2008, total home sales have declined by 35%, and land sales by 60%. When compared with Q1 2006, homes have declined around 80%, while land is down around 90%.

Inventories in all cases are highly inflated and the slope of decline has remained constant.

Buyers and sellers have plenty of time yet to pick their spots in the market.

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Filed Under: Real Estate Statistics and Data, Asheville Real Estate Data

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Friday, May 01, 2009

More Festival Info for Greater Asheville

We wrote last week on a selection of upcoming festivals around greater Asheville, and a quick perusal of the local blogosphere yields more information, some for this very weekend.

12th Annual French Broad River Festival: May 1-3
held in the great river and hiking town of Hot Springs, full info can be obtained from their website, however Mountain Express gives us a "What to Know When You Go" summary that is useful.

Askasheville chimes in with info on the bike race
portion of the 3 day festival. For more info on the town of Hot Springs, click here.

Lexington Ave Bizarre Bazaar May 2 and May 16
No one should visit the region without taking a walk in the Lexington Avenue neighborhood. Completely devoid of chain stores and rife with independent crafts and businesses, this new event comes to our attention by way of Ashevegas. To be held on the first and third Saturday of every month from 11:00 AM until 4:00 PM, the area is what we like to call "purely, uniquely Asheville".

The 2009 Wolf Ridge Hill Climb
I-26, north of Asheville, Exit # 3, follow the signs. We will let the video speak for itself for all the car enthusiasts out there.
2 minutes and 40 seconds

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend,
Black Bear Realty Website
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