October is one of Asheville NC busiest real estate months. In the past many people who visit Asheville during the leaf season decide to go ahead and purchase a house while they are here. Others have been planning to move here for years and finally take that leap of faith. This year the effects of global warming and the pandemic have caused even more people to come to Asheville. Over the past decade we have seen housing prices climb and inventory slack. Now we have a serious affordability issue based on our local average household income level.
If you are moving from CA, NY, FL, CO, or a place that has extremely high house prices, and made a large amount from the sale of your property, you may think that you can find a similar house for much less. I often have clients who are sticker shocked based on exceptions rather than the actual price. So is important to be knowledgeable about the area when you get ready to purchase a home.
Asheville, Hendersonville, Waynesville, Marshal, and Brevard have all been long time popular cities due to their great outdoor beauty and ethic art and music venues. Eventually, the people moving here had to expand out to our areas within the counties of Buncombe, Henderson, Haywood, Madison, and Transylvania.
Today, if you want to buy land “to do a mini farm” or to “have privacy” and your budget is below $300,000 you probably will need to look in McDowell, Rutherford, or Polk. For most people that is not what they were thinking of when wanting to be near Asheville. Western North Carolina is a mountainous area and there is a limited about of land that is farmable or buildable and that comes with a choice of paying more or moving farther out.
Many people who move here just want a house and a yard. They really don’t have a concept between a quarter or one acre really is. Plus, it really depends on where the house sets on a lot as to how big the yard feels. It is important to realize that the median home price in Buncombe county and the surrounding counties have been climbing at a very fast pace since the beginning of the pandemic. In my most recent, Real Estate Market Update Report, Buncombe county median home price had climbed to $342,000. That is still a good deal if you are moving from Denver, New York City, or LA. It might be a big sticker shock if you are moving from other areas.
Another, thing that people looking to buy in the Asheville area need to be aware of is that they must move quickly on a house when they find one, they like. Multiple offers are occurring in all price ranges. Even houses in the $700K+ are on the market less the 90 days. Bottom line if you are not ready, willing, and able to buy in 90 days you are just looking, because what you liked will be sold or under contract.
The rental market here is also very tight. So if you are planning to rent before you buy, you need to start looking for a place immediately and be willing to put up some money to hold your spot.
I think the most professional thing I can do is to set realistic price understanding at the beginning of our relationship. Early, in my career I had to do this with first time home owners. Back then I would say now if you qualified for $400K you could have everything. Now I have to tell my clients that the $400K cash they have will not buy everything on their dream list. There are homes currently on the market priced between $225K-$275K. They just may not meet your expectation.
Once people understand what their “qualified/willing” amount to spend will buy them, one of two things happen. Either, they adjust their needs/want list or they come up with more money. Regardless, of the result, I think it is my job to help you as the buyer to come to Asheville with realistic open-minded concept of buying in this area. This is accomplished by a few steps. First, you must be pre-qualified or actually have the proof of funds. We need to know how much you can spend before we can decide what that will buy. Also, most sellers require this before allowing a physically showing. Second, we make a wish/must have list. I will help you fine tune this before we start looking. This is important because if a garage is a must then that limits your selection in our area. However, is storage is what is really important then that opens us up to more houses. Third, I’ll create a MLS search engine for you that is in real time and updated daily to ensure the house you like is currently active before we schedule an appointment. It can be so frustrating to like a house that Zillow or Facebook says is active only to find out it went under contract five days ago. Fourth, I will review houses with you per Zoom so we can fine tune that must/want list. Most of our local sellers require a drive by before requesting a showing. This is a good way for you to get to know the area and worth doing your first few days in Asheville. All this primarily work will help you be prepared to make a realistic offer quickly when you find a house you like, hopefully affording the disappointment of not having your offer accepted.
Asheville is a wonderful place to live. The greater Asheville area is also a beautiful place to live. Prices will continue to climb as more and more people move here. Currently the interest rate is low and helps offset the monthly payments, in some cases it may be lower than rent. So if you are even thinking about moving here, now is the time to start taking an active role in understanding this market. I certainly, don’t want to scare you away from our lovely area, I just want to establish realistic exceptions. Of course, the best thing to do is schedule a time to talk and we can help you match your exceptions with your budget. I also have an extensive Realtor referral resource, that will be glad to help you with the surrounding outer counties.