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Blog :: 04-2014

Which way will Asheville housing market go?

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tech <p><span class="asset-metabar-author asset-metabar-item">Mark Barrett,</span></p> <p><a href= ""> <img class="aligncenter wp-image-403 size-full" src= "" alt="housingmarketb" width="534" height="401" /></a></p> <p><span class="credit">(Photo: John Coutlakis ,</span></p> <p><strong>Figures for the next few months should show whether this winter's decline in home sales was a blip or a signal of a more fundamental change in the local housing market.</strong></p> <p><span class="character dateline">ASHEVILLE -</span> No one looked forward to spring this year more than your local Realtor.</p> <p>After rising for the first 11 months of 2013, sales of existing homes in Buncombe County flattened in December and were down in January and February this year when compared with the year before.</p> <p>Figures for the next few months should show whether this winter's decline was a blip caused by harsh weather keeping buyers from looking for a house or whether it signals a more fundamental change in the local housing market.</p> <p>The picture for the home building industry looks reasonably good, with the number of building permits issued in Buncombe County up significantly in 2013 and city and county officials reporting good activity levels so far in 2014, although figures for the entire first quarter were not available for this story.</p> <p>Sales of existing homes in Buncombe County were up every year this decade after bottoming out in 2009. The total of 3,375 homes sold in 2013 in the county was 56 percent higher than in 2009, but still nearly 18 percent below the market's peak of 4,109 sales in 2006, according to the N.C. Association of Realtors.</p> <p>The National Association of Realtors said last week that sales of existing homes across the United States slipped in March to their lowest level since July 2012, The Associated Press reported, as rising prices and a tight supply of available homes discouraged many would-be buyers. The 0.2 percent decline was the seventh drop in the last eight months.</p> <p>National analysts have said the tough winter hurt sales during the first two months of the year, but higher interest rates and sluggish growth in wages threaten the housing recovery over the long term.</p> <p><b>Too cold to buy?</b></p> <p>Local experts say weather was definitely a factor in slow sales early this year in Buncombe County, but there is uncertainty about whether the slowdown will continue.</p> <p>Sales in Buncombe County always fall during the winter months, but sales last winter were not as high as the winter before.</p> <p>"I think it's just truly weather-related," said Terry Horner, head of Preferred Properties of Asheville. Many buyers in the Asheville are moving here from elsewhere and, "It was not a good time to travel," he said.</p> <p>Figures compiled by Mike Figura, head of Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty, show home sales rising a bit within the Asheville city limits for the first quarter but declining 11.6 percent in the rest of Buncombe County.</p> <p>"In the city of Asheville, anyway, the recovery is not coming to a halt. As far as Buncombe County, the numbers do kind of imply that," he said.</p> <p>The split probably reflects a renewed interest nationally in living closer to city centers, Figura said. He said it is also possible that it was more difficult for prospective buyers to get to homes for sale in rural areas this winter.</p> <p>Analyst Don Davies said weather dampened sales countywide, but out-of-town buyers do not have the seemingly endless desire for a home here that they did early in the last decade.</p> <p>"I'm still not seeing the second home buyers coming out here saying, 'I don't care what it costs,'" he said.</p> <p>The number of homes on the market last week was down about 20 percent from where it was at the same point in 2013, Davies said. He said the current figure of about 1,800 homes for sale in Buncombe County is "definitely in the range that is comfortable for our market" but that it could contribute to a gradual increase in prices.</p> <p><b>Building on the rise?</b></p> <p>Falling inventory and rising prices for existing homes usually signal an opening in the market for new home construction. Preliminary indications are that home builders are indeed still seeing positive signs.</p> <p>The number of single-family homes permitted by Buncombe County government during the first quarter was up 14.3 percent. Exact numbers for the city of Asheville were not available Friday, but city Development Services Director Shannon Tuch said the department has seen considerable permit activity and preliminary planning for new construction, although much of the interest is in commercial structures.</p> <p>According to figures from The Market Edge, 2011 was the low point for home building in the county, with permits up 19.7 percent in 2012 and 23.5 percent last year.</p> <p>Dale Akins, head of the research firm, based in Knoxville, Tenn., said he expects declines in first-quarter building permits in many of the Southeastern markets the company tracks because the pace of job growth has slowed. But, he said, first-quarter figures are not always good indicators of what will happen the rest of a year.</p> <p>Christopher Fox, owner of Christopher Fox Builders and president of the Asheville Home Builders Association, said members have done a lot of renovations in recent years as people wanted more space but were reluctant to take the plunge of buying a new home. Now, he said, some home owners are making repairs needed to put a home on the market and are interested in buying a new home themselves.</p> <p><strong>Blip or turning point?</strong></p> <p>Sales of existing homes in Buncombe County have risen every year this decade so far and were strong for most of 2013. Below are the number of homes sold by month and the percentage change over the same month vs. the year before.</p> <p><a href= ""><img class="alignleft wp-image-407" src= "" alt="homescittimes" width="810" height="638" /></a></p> <p> </p> <p><a href= ""></a></p>


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        Bike ride effect: Asheville home prices outpace county

        Asheville Home | Buncombe County Real Estate marketFrom 2003-2009, the median sale price for a home outside Asheville but still in Buncombe County was higher than it was inside the city. But the city and the county figures flip-flopped in 2010.                                                                                       

        The number of home buyers looking to live in neighborhoods within a reasonable bicycle ride of downtown Asheville reflects more than a desire to be close to a favorite brewpub, says local Realtor Mike Figura.  Demographers and real estate analysts nationwide say there is an increase in interest in urban living in many parts of the country, although there is disagreement about how strong it is and what it means for home sales in suburban and rural areas.

        Statistics complied by Figura, head of Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty, suggest there has been a shift of some kind in the positions of the housing markets inside Asheville and outside city limits...more

        Read the entire article here.

        Mark Barrett,

        (Photo: John Coutlakis ,




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                                          Dining Out For Life Event - April 24, 2014

                                          Reservation for 12,000, please, for WNCAP's largest fundraiser!

                                          You are cordially invited to join your friends, clients, family and co-workers on Thursday, April 24, 2014, for the 12th annual Dining Out For Life® benefit to support the mission of the Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP). Over 100 of the finest restaurants in WNC have generously agreed to donate 20% of their gross sales on April 24th to help ... needs are greater than ever this year with a reduction in federal funding, and an increasing number of clients who need help. You can do your part by simply dining out for breakfast, lunch or dinner or all three.

                                          We at Mosaic are proud to be ambassadors this year, come see us at Sunny Point in West Asheville, and at Cucina 24 downtown.

                                          Through the efforts of so many giving individuals and businesses, much needed AIDS awareness and education has been provided throughout WNC, while providing case-managed care to those whose lives have already been affected by HIV/AIDS.

                                          Mark your calendars! Thursday, April 24, 2014.


                                          ASAP releases latest Local Food Guide

                                          2014lfgcoverforhighqualityprintASHEVILLE - It's spring. That means local produce is growing and Western North Carolina tailgate markets are opening. To guide local food followers and support certified local farms and businesses, the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project has released the latest edition of its Local Food Guide. This year's Local Food Guide features more Appalachian Grown tailgate farmers market and Community Supported Agriculture listings than ever. Additionally, the guide has been updated with newly opened WNC restaurants committed to sourcing local food, as well as grocers, artisan food producers, wineries and more. ASAP's mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. Among its projects is the Growing Minds Farm to School Program, organizing Asheville City Market and coordinating the Mountain Tailgate Market Association.

                                          More than one million copies of the Local Food Guide, part of the nonprofit's Local Food campaign, have been distributed since 2002.

                                          The 2014 Local Food Guide can be picked up at ASAP's booth at the Mother Earth News Fair, Saturday and Sunday at the WNC Ag Center.

                                          The latest guide listings can also be found online at Print copies will be distributed after the fair to more than 400 locations, the locations of which can be found on the guide page of



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                                              Atlanta artist to launch new Montford festival

                                              miya baileyMiya Bailey wants to give back to hometown, he says. Atlanta-based tattoo artist Miya Bailey has made sure that he never forgets his hometown. He tattooed Asheville's area code -- 828 -- on his hand. Long before he was tattooing the likes of R&B star Usher or top model Eva, Bailey was catching crawfish in the creek at Montford Park in the 1980s. Or learning how to apply makeup, and later paint, from artists working with the Montford Park Players. Or selling his first piece of art, a piece of pottery, at a neighborhood festival. Now, he is using those same hands to return the gift Asheville gave him this summer. With help from another Asheville native and Atlanta artist, Paper Frank, Bailey will launch the Little Montford Festival this summer. "I want to get the community together together as much as possible," he said, noting he wanted the block party-type event to welcome everyone from the urban to the hippie communities in the city. He is still finalizing his vision, but noted that it will feature free food -- he's thinking barbecue with some veggie options -- live music performances, art demonstrations, with a vendor component that would be part craft fair/part neighborhoodwide yard sale. He is producing the festival during his national tour, which will take him to Los Angeles, New York, Houston, and, of course, his hometown of Asheville on June 19-22. He will launch a European tour in the fall. Ultimately, he hopes the festival could expose a young person to a new creative venture. "I think if young people get exposed to seeing (an artist paint) live, it could spark something in them," he said, much like Montford Park happenings inspired his artistic achievements. An artist painting in Montford inspired Bailey to paint for the first time, he said. He says he visits the Montford Park every time he visits Asheville. "It's just so beautiful," he said. "When you see something every day, you might overlook it." His emphasis on community-building and also creating a truly diverse event this summer echoes his interests of breaking down barriers in his shop, through his work and having honest, direct conversations about race. Bailey featured Montford Park in "Color Outside the Lines," a documentary that chronicles the work of black tattoo artists. He put some $30,000 of his own money into the film. The production took three years, and featured artists from across the country, and in London and Amsterdam. Bailey told Asheville Scene last year he wanted his scenes in the movie to say something about Asheville, the city that shaped him. "I shot most of my scenes in Pisgah View and Erskine Street apartments," Bailey said. "I wanted to show people my scene, show me coming up, show that you don't have to stay at the bottom." "Both sides of Asheville are never seen. So in the movie, you'll see downtown, then Hillcrest. You'll see beautiful Asheville, and the Asheville people don't want to show," Bailey said. "I want people to understand there are people there in the projects, and understand that Asheville is not physically segregated, but mentally segregated," he said. "It's something I want to break." Born in Asheville's Klondyke public housing complex in Montford, he moved to the Hillcrest complex near downtown. The family moved back to Montford, and then West Asheville. He attended Asheville High School. His time in Montford, however, has a strong hold on him. "It always creeps up in my dreams," he said of that area. "I've always thought I was going to do something there to give back." Now, he says, he can because of professional success in Atlanta. He is in the planning stages, and is looking for people want to participate. He asks for interested people to give him a call at 404-644-1912. To learn more about Miya Bailey, or see some of his work, visit



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