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Positive gains continue in WNC housing market

Positive gains continue in WNC housing market

The mountain counties of Western North Carolina posted yet another strong month of home sales in November according to the latest Canopy MLS housing report for the Asheville region.

Home sales across the 13-county region jumped 39.6 percent year-over-year as 1,192 homes sold, showing no sign of the typical winter slowdown heading into the new year. Year-to-date closed sales show the region outpacing 2019 sales by 11.1 percent with 11,400 homes sold since January 2020.

Low mortgage rates and recent accolades from Topretirements.com, which named Asheville its number one “Best Place to Retire”, and Resonance Consultancy, which ranked Asheville fifth in its “Best Small Cities” in June 2020, may have fueled interest from buyers fleeing pandemic conditions in larger cities or seeking second homes.

November’s housing statistics show the median sales price in the region ($315,000) increased 13.5 percent year-over-year, while pending sales, which increased 33.6 percent year-over-year as 1,169 homes went under contract during the month, show strong buyer demand. Additionally, sellers brought 1,025 homes to market, marking a 6.0 percent increase in new listings over last November.

Buyers looking for homes in the 13-county region will find tightening inventory conditions, with inventory falling 51.8 percent year-over-year, leaving 2.2 months of supply of homes for sale. Sellers listing homes will enjoy the faster pace of sales as days on market in November dropped to 53 days versus 78 days on market in November 2019.

Brian Cagle, a Canopy MLS Board of Directors member and Vice President-Managing Broker with Beverly Hanks Realtors, said, “Despite the economic challenges of this past year, the region’s housing market is stronger and healthier than ever going into the new year. Housing demand continues to increase, and area Realtors® are working hard to ensure clients find homes, even with the challenges of rising prices amidst low inventory.”

The Asheville region includes Burke, Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania and Yancey counties.

Asheville MSA

The Asheville MSA, which is the core economic driver of the region, continued its streak of strong positive numbers in November. Closed sales rose significantly and were up 33.7 percent year-over-year with 782 homes sold, which is 197 more homes sold in November 2020 than in November 2019. Buyers continue to signal a strong desire for homes closer to the metro, as pending sales rose 31.6 percent year-over-year to 754 transactions in the pipeline, ensuring a steady supply of closed sales over the next 45-60 days. New listings also increased by 4.0 percent year-over-year as sellers brought 671 homes to market. Still, buyers will find the market tight as inventory dropped 49.2 percent year-over-year to 2.0 months of supply. With the metro in high demand, the median sales price ($334,000) and the average sales price ($398,476) rose 13.2 percent and 10.9 percent, respectively. Sellers brought the average list price to $435,986, an increase of 11.9 percent over November 2019, while the list price to sales price ratio rose to 96.8 percent as sellers got most of their asking price. Homes throughout the metro averaged 48 days on market in November.

Cagle continued, “For buyers seeking homes in metro Asheville, strong seller’s market conditions of low inventory, frequent price increases and faster pace of sells, will continue next year. Low mortgage rates, a vibrant growing city and the natural beauty of the area, along with access to a number of outdoor activities, will continue to attract buyers. However, affordability is an increasing concern and our leadership will have to be innovative in their solutions to this growing issue.”

Buncombe County

Buncombe County sales and new listings remained positive year-over-year for a fifth-consecutive month. Closed sales increased 28.6 percent year-over-year to 423 sales versus 329 last year, while pending contract activity rose to 29.0 percent year-over-year, ensuring the county will see a steady supply of sales during the winter selling season. New listings increased 7.2 percent year-over-year as sellers brought 385 homes on market. Inventory remains challenged and is down 45.5 percent year-over-year, which leaves the county with 2.1 months of supply. Prices continued to trend upward, with the median sales price ($355,000) and the average sales price ($430,614) increasing 18.3 percent and 12.1 percent year-over-year, respectively, while the average list price increased 9.8 percent year-over-year to $474,543. The original list price to sales price ratio was 96.9 percent as sellers got closer to their full asking price. Homes sold quickly, with days on market averaging 47 days in November versus 68 days in November 2019.

Haywood County

November’s home sales rose dramatically by 69.6 percent year-over-year as area agents closed 134 transactions versus 79 closings in November 2019. Buyer demand remained strong with 102 contracts added to the pipeline of sales, an increase of 25.9 percent over contract activity last November. New listing activity was also positive and rose 4.6 percent as sellers entered the market with 91 new listings. However, inventory is down 53.9 percent to just 2.1 months of supply, which will continue to impact prices for the foreseeable future. The median sales price ($263,500) had a slight uptick of 2.1 percent year-over-year, while the average sales price ($329,959) increased 8.7 percent. The average list price this month was $331,717, an increase of 4.0 percent over November 2019’s list price. Seller’s market conditions are in effect as sellers are getting closer to asking price, as signaled by the original list price to sales price ratio registering 96.7 percent this past month. Sellers also enjoyed their properties averaging 53 days on market until sale.

Henderson County

Henderson County’s home sales remained positive, rising 23.6 percent year-over-year with 199 homes sold during in November 2020. Demand from buyers shows Henderson is highly desirable, as pending contracts during the month increased 38.6 percent year-over-year as 201 homes went under contract, ensuring a steady supply of closed sales in the next 45 to 60 days. New listings fell by 5.2 percent year-over-year with only 164 homes entering the market. Inventory is down 50.4 percent compared to last November, leaving 1.8 months of supply. This scenario will impact prices, which will continue to rise. The median sales price ($328,000) and the average sales price ($377,930) rose year-over-year by 5.8 percent and 11.7 percent, respectively, while the average list price increased 19.7 percent year-over-year to $408,617. The original list price to sales price ratio in the county was 97.3 percent, a positive indicator for sellers who are interested in listing their homes. Sellers in Henderson County also enjoyed a faster pace of sales, as days on market averaged 37 days in November.

Madison County, with a smaller share of homes for sale, saw larger percentage increases throughout its November 2020 indicators. Closings rose 62.5 percent year-over-year as 26 homes sold, while the 28 homes that went under contract represented a 47.4 percent rise in contract activity compared to last year. Sellers brought 31 new listings to market in November, while inventory dropped 61.7 percent year-over-year, leaving 3.0 months of supply. Prices compared to last year rose substantially. The median sales price rose 37.5 percent year-over-year to $385,000 and the average sales price rose 15.8 percent year-over-year to $380,002 in November. The average list price of $404,648 was up 10.2 percent compared to last November’s average list price. Properties move much slower in Madison County and averaged 147 days on market until sale.

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