Market Report for February 2017
The February numbers are in and much of what they have to say confirms our 2017 predictions. Median sales price is up significantly over last year and can be explained by the continued trend of low inventory.
Asheville Market Report
Buncombe County Market Report
To see what the numbers look like in your neighborhood, our agents are happy to provide a more in-depth analysis.
3 Simple Steps to Hiring the Best Moving Company
Hiring a mover can be a daunting experience especially when simultaneously trying to organize the other aspects of moving to a new home. After more than a decade of experience coordinating cross-country relocations and helping folks with local moves, I’ve developed a list of tips and interview questions to help you find the most professional mover so you have the best moving experience.
1. Decide what type of move you need.
Intrastate or Local
For intrastate moves (moves within the same state) visit your state’s website for a list of licensed and insured movers. In North Carolina, you can find carriers who are in compliance with the state’s regulations here.
Interstate or International
For moves across state lines (interstate) or internationally you can search carriers using the federal motor carrier safety administration’s site.
2. Determine how much assistance you want with your move.
There are a few different levels of service and pros and cons to each depending on the specifics of your move.
Full Service Move
Choose this option when you want the moving company to safely pack every item in your home, supply all the boxes, bubble wrap and packing paper, pad and shrink-wrap all furniture, load, move, unload the truck and unpack as many of the boxes as you want, wherever you want.
This is the most commonly requested service. You pack and box your belongings. They pad and shrink wrap your furniture, load, move and unload the truck at the desired location.
Load & Unload Only
Movers can help you to load or unload your rental truck, storage pod, ABF truck, storage unit or garage. This option is most useful to people who are able to drive a rental truck or who want to use a freight service. While you can save money using this option, you take on the responsibility for your belongings while they are being moved. The moving company, truck rental or Freight Company will not be responsible for any damage while in transit.
Some companies will recycle boxes and packing materials after use. They can help you to obtain free, clean, sturdy and inspected recycled boxes or plastic bins to help lessen your move’s impact on the environment and your wallet. Some moving company’s trucks also run on bio-diesel to reduce emissions.
3. Interview Your Mover.
Once you have determined the type of move you need and the service level you desire, there are a few questions to ask each mover you interview to ensure everyone is on the same page.
“Do you work for the mover or are you a broker?”
Brokers play an important role in helping customers match up with moving companies. Keep in mind, however, that a broker cannot give you a binding estimate and a broker is not responsible for loss or damage.
“Do you give binding quotes?”
A mover or broker may give you a quote over the phone, but those are generally not binding. Upon reviewing your items in person, a mover might then give a binding or “not to exceed” quote. However, brokers don’t typically give binding quotes.
“Does the quote include extra charges?”
For example – flight charges, long carry charges, appliance charges, parking charges, storage charges, fuel charges, awkward objects, etc. If you have a piano, you should let them know up front. Ask them if they have equipment to help with heavy and awkward items.
“Will my items be transferred?”
Long distance moves can sometimes require your items be transferred to another truck. This extra handling increases the chance that damage may occur.
“What forms of payment do you accept and on what terms?”
I do not recommend you hire a mover if they only accept cash. Be sure you are clear about the amount that is due on delivery versus the deposit amount, and whether deposits are refundable. Most companies that have a merchant account will accept credit cards, so be sure to ask if credit cards are an option.
“What type of insurance is included in your quote? What else is available to me?”
Basic coverage is 60 cents per pound but your moving company may offer an upgrade at a reasonable price. You can also work with third party insurance providers to cover the move.
“What is the process if something were to break or is missing? Who’s responsible?”
This is a follow-up to the previous question that clearly breaks down who is responsible for what. If you’re discussing a self-service move, you may not get reimbursed for something that you packed poorly. Wherever the responsibility lies, it’s better to know in advance.
No matter which type of move you are facing, a little planning and preparation can go a long way to reducing stress. Whether you are planning a local move or a long-distance move, using an independent local moving company, a national carrier or going DIY, these tips can make your move a smarter, safer and smoother experience!
Written by Jen Woodward, Broker, REALTOR with special thanks to Sean Lallouz, owner of Dry Ridge Moving and Transportation LLC. With more than a decade working in real estate and relocation, Jen utilizes her personal and professional moving experience to assist buyers and sellers in the Asheville market and beyond.
Holly Martin Named Top 100 REALTOR
Broker Holly Martin earned a distinguished spot as one of Asheville’s Top 100 REALTORS of 2016. PlumDog Financial, an Asheville area mortgage lender, releases this designation annually based on transaction volume data from the Asheville Board of REALTORS’ Market Share Report. They praised Holly and the other top REALTORS for their “hard work and dedication to our community development” and for providing home ownership and satisfaction to thousands of Asheville area residents.
Holly was also DixonPacifica Real Estate’s Top Producer and Sales Leader for 2016. Says DixonPacifica owner, Tad Dixon, “We are so proud of all that Holly has accomplished this year,” which includes nearly doubling her 2015 sales volume, “and we look forward to supporting her as she continues to grow her business.”
Market Report for January 2017
January saw predictably steady market growth with a slight increase in average list to sales price as well as a slight decrease in months of inventory. However, there was a significant uptick this month in change in average price. This reflects the greater volume of homes sold in a higher price bracket than in previous months more so than individual home prices drastically increasing. We believe the trend of greater sales in higher price brackets will continue this year as more people move into the Asheville-Buncombe market from other markets.
Asheville City Market Report
Buncombe County Market Report
Our agents would be glad to give you more information about our market as a whole or your individual neighborhood or area of interest. Send an email or give as a call at (828) 232-4030 and we’re happy to give you more insight into current trends.
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!
Market Report for November 2016
November is typically the slowest month of the year in the real estate industry. Clients find it challenging to make time for house hunting and keeping the home they’re selling pristine for showings during the holiday season. Because there are fewer sellers in the market, the months supply of homes is at the lowest it’s been this quarter, which means those sellers who do decide to list homes in November have less competition. We also saw that without as much inventory to choose from, the average days on the market ticked back down. That said, buyers don’t have it so bad either: the average sales price and the YOY change in average sales price is the lowest this quarter.
Asheville City Market Report
Buncombe County Market Report
For more information on the Asheville real estate market, you can check out the reports for October, September, and August or give us a call at (828) 232-4030. We’re happy to go in depth about the trends we’re seeing generally or more specifically in your area of interest.
Market Report for October 2016
With prices up and inventory down, the market was hot for sellers in October, which is consistent with the trends we saw in August and September. In fact, the median home price in Asheville continues to show increase month over month. That said, we are seeing the months supply of homes has leveled off and in some cases risen slightly, meaning that market growth is becoming more consistent and less extreme. This conclusion is also supported by the data for days on the market, which has been ticking up ever since it hit the lowest point in years in June/July.
Asheville City Market Report
Buncombe County Market Report
If you’d like to see more data from these locations or want to know what’s happening in a different part of Western North Carolina, we invite you to email one of our agents or call us at 828-232-4030. We’d love to provide more information so you have a better picture of what these real estate trends mean for you.
Congratulations to Our New BIC: Bethany Behrmann!
DixonPacifica Real Estate is thrilled to announce that Bethany Behrmann has been promoted to Broker-in-Charge & Director of Recruiting. She has been a Broker/REALTOR with the company since March 2014.
“We’ve been representing buyers and sellers in Western North Carolina for almost four years and are excited about pursuing new growth opportunities and providing additional tools and support to our Brokers,” said Tad Dixon, DixonPacifica Real Estate Owner. “Bethany is a natural leader who has an excellent reputation amongst area real estate professionals and in our community. She has already been an outstanding resource for our Brokers, and I’m highly confident she will continue providing our clients with the highest level of service.”
Bethany returned home to Western North Carolina in 2001 and, after a rewarding 12-year career in international student exchange, became a full-time real estate Broker in 2009. She has been named both a DixonPacifica top producer and an Asheville Top 100 Broker. She carries several industry designations: Accredited Buyer’s Representative, Seniors Real Estate Specialist and Strategic Pricing Specialist. On top of her Broker-in-Charge duties she will lead recruiting efforts. “We are committed to hiring top quality Brokers, and Bethany will continue seeking out the best of the best,” said Dixon.
“I’m excited to help the company grow and excited about the challenge of finding the right Brokers for our office,” Behrmann said. “I like thinking outside the box on how we can serve and support Brokers’ needs. We have amazing marketing materials, support systems and people in our company – I can’t wait to share this with Brokers looking to make a change.”
Bethany is an active volunteer with Manna Food Bank, the Estes Elementary PTA, and Fellowship Asheville. She lives in South Asheville with her husband, Jens, daughter, Laura, and two dogs, Riley and Tillie, and enjoys international travel, hiking, home staging, and exploring area restaurants in her spare time.
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