Market Report: 2016 Year in Review
Compared to last year, home prices in the NC Mountains MLS service area increased 9.1%. Buncombe County experienced a 10.2% increase and Asheville 13.7%. Buncombe County’s median price is currently $253,400 and Asheville’s is $270,000.
The average person stays in their home for five years. If you purchased a $250,000 home in the Asheville area in 2011, the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s housing price calculator says your home would be worth $308,724 at the end of 2016, which is a gain of 23.5%.
Closed sales increased 6% over the previous year. Buncombe County and Asheville accounted for a high percentage of sales increase in 2015, so while sales still increased they were lower as a percentage to other neighboring counties. Buncombe County experienced a 2.3% increase in sales during 2016.
A good sign for our market is that sales may have been higher if not for the lack of inventory. We have plenty of buyers looking for homes, but they are struggling to find the right property. The availability of active listings was down year-over-year in 2016 by 1.6%. One thing we are watching carefully is if low home supply is a drag on the number of sales in 2017. Buncombe County and the city of Asheville have the lowest supply of inventory in the entire MLS. Currently Buncombe has 3.2 months supply and Asheville 2.6 compared to the WNC MLS average of 5.4 months. Four to five months is typically considered healthy. The good news for sellers in this scenario is supply vs. demand will continue to push prices higher.
One word that’s almost vanished entirely from our real estate vocabulary is “distressed.” For the last few years distressed homes, foreclosures and short sales, were an everyday reality in our market. In 2016 the percentage of distressed sales fell 24.2% and made up only 1.4% of total sales.
Looking towards the remainder of 2017, we believe several things will impact our community’s real estate. With the stock market hitting new highs, many investors could look for portfolio diversity in real estate. Since our market is a hot vacation destination, those dollars could find their way here. Experts believe Baby Boomers may take profits from the stock market and buy real estate they can rent and enjoy personally in their retirement. Boomers are expected to make up one-third of all buyers this year.
Another positive is our region’s economic strength. With Buncombe County’s unemployment rate the lowest in North Carolina and our tourism numbers consistently rising, our region’s economy should remain strong for the foreseeable future. Our economic fundamentals are strong so housing prices should remain stable even if geo-political situations arise or interest rate increases put pressure on the market.
All data sourced from North Carolina Mountains MLS (January 2017)
What makes a home “green?”
A Brief History of Green Building
The green building trend began to take off as a reaction to the short-lived Oil Crisis of 1973-1974. Poor insulation and a lack of climate adaptation in buildings of this period meant homes were drafty and used fuel inefficiently. Meanwhile, fuel uncertainty caused prices to rise, however briefly, generating increased interest in both improved building techniques as well as wind and solar energy. The end of the Fuel Crisis restored low prices, decimating the alternative fuel industry. However, the over-insulated homes produced in the wake of the Crisis began showing troubling side effects by the 1980’s such as rotten wood inside walls, mold, sick building syndrome and fogged dual pane windows. As a result, building science took off so builders could make sense of and eventually prevent these issues while continuing to improve insulation and home efficiency.
Green Building Today
The original interest in green building has only grown, both as a reaction to the early 2000’s trend of large, inefficient homes and in light of growing environmental concerns. However, it’s the benefits of green building that have driven most of the industry’s growth and pushed even traditional builders to adapt some green building techniques.
Home Owner Benefits:
- Lower Energy Bills: through energy efficient lighting, equipment, and appliances
- Healthier and Comfortable Indoor Environment: consistent temperatures and reduced risks
- Increased Market Value: higher resale value of a home
- Financial Tax Incentives: state and federal tax credits for renewable energy and energy efficiency
- Performance Report: third party verification quantifying the home’s overall energy score, annual energy cost savings, and pollution prevention
- Reduced air pollution through energy efficiency
Most of the “green” certified homes in Asheville use the Green Built NC certification, which is a third party verified program. The home is tested and then scored on a check list.
Green Built NC
Green Built NC Homes is a statewide program in North Carolina that provides a certificate for builders who meet “green home” guidelines. These guidelines emphasize comfort, health, energy and water conservation, site preservation, and renewable energy use. This certification includes either ENERGY STAR certification, or a HERS Index of 85 or less and showing that the house is 15% better than the 2009 International Energy Code, plus inspection of additional items specific to the Green Built NC program.
- The Green Built NC program encompasses all aspects of environmental design and construction including:
- Site and Landscape: healthy outdoors by using erosion control and saving existing trees
- Water Efficiency: lower water bills by using high efficiency irrigation and plumbing fixtures
- Building Envelope: lower utility bills by using high efficiency windows and insulation
- Heating and Cooling Systems: higher comfort with efficiency equipment and sealed air ducts
- Appliances and Lighting: lower utility bills by using Energy Star appliances and lighting
- Indoor Air Quality: a healthy interior with non-toxic finishes and minimizing moisture
- Materials: a low maintenance home using durable, local, and recycled content materials
- Third Party Verification: reassures the home owners that your homes are reviewed by an independent team of high performance building professionals.
EPA’s ENERGY STAR Program was created to help identify the best ways to save energy. The little blue label says this product, this home, this building or factory is doing the right things to save energy. Energystar.gov offers the most comprehensive resource available for energy efficiency advice and information. ENERGY STAR certified homes are independently verified to meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These homes save money on utility bills, provide a more comfortable living environment with better indoor air quality, and help protect the environment.
- Typical features to look for in ENERGY STAR certified homes include:
- Efficient Walls and Windows, the levels of wall, floor and attic insulation properly installed designed to block drafts, and high-performance windows;
- Efficient Air Ducts, so rooms get enough air to have consistent, comfortable temperatures throughout the house;
- Efficient Equipment for heating, and cooling the house, helping you save money while staying comfortable;
- Efficient Lighting and Appliances, including ENERGY STAR certified dishwashers, refrigerators, light bulbs and clothes washers.
Better energy efficiency and performance means lower utility and maintenance costs. Homes earning the ENERGY STAR label use 15-30% less energy than typical cow homes, and even more when compared to most resale homes on the market today.
- Based on national averages, ENERGY STAR certified homes built in 2015 are the equivalent of:
- Reducing CO2 emissions by 141,952 metric tons
- Growing 3,607,528 tree seedlings for 10 years
- Avoiding the consumption of 330,131 barrels of oil
- Removing 29,867 passenger vehicles from the road
The Home Efficiency Rating System (HERS) is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured relative to other buildings. It’s also the nationally recognized system for inspecting and calculating a home’s energy performance, similar to the Miles Per Gallon (MPG) rating for cars. The lower the HERS rating the more efficient the house. To calculate a HERS score, the variables under consideration include all exterior walls, flooring, ceilings and roof, foundation, windows, doors, vents and ductwork, HVAC systems, water heating systems, etc.
The current International Energy Efficiency Code (IECC) is a HERS score of 100. What does all of this mean to you? A low HERS rating can mean high resale value, lower utility bills, better air quality and lower environmental impact.
For more on HERS Scores and their meaning: http://www.resnet.us/hers-index-score-card
Written by LeAnn Bound, Broker, REALTOR. LeAnn and her husband James founded GreenCraft, a locally owned and operated green building company that focuses on energy efficient design and environmentally sound building practices. LeAnn uses her first hand knowledge of green building to assist buyers, sellers, and new home buyers.
Market Report for December 2016
The market trends we saw in December strongly reflect the larger market trends for our area. While there were fewer new listings and closed sales overall, the sharp increase in median sales price in Buncombe County as well as the significant decrease in month supply of homes in Asheville and Buncombe County indicates that the market is “hot.” Fewer days on the market until sale and fewer days between list and close compared to last December further support this conclusion. Check out the data below for a more targeted look at our local markets.
Asheville City Market Report
Buncombe County Market Report
If you’d like additional data about our market in general or even a specific neighborhood in the area, we’re happy to help. Send one of our agents a message or give us a call at (828) 232-4030. Happy New Year!
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