February 2019

Asheville Real Estate Market Report – 4th Quarter 2018

Interested in learning about how Asheville and Buncombe County looked overall last year, as well, as how the markets closed out 2018? Read below for the Asheville real estate report, including the Buncombe County real estate report. The 2017 Asheville housing market was marked by renewed optimism because of a strong stock market and higher wages while 2018 delivered a more reserved approach toward real estate. Home buyers have been seeing rising prices and low inventory over the past several years. As a result, buyers have become more selective in their purchase choices as housing affordability reached a ten-year low. The overall median sales price increased 5.4 percent to $255,000 for the year. Single Family home prices were up 5.5 percent compared to 2017. A booming economy would seem to indicate more sales, but fewer homes to choose from coupled with lower affordability made it tougher for buyers in 2018. Despite the low affordability, there is still a strong desire for home buying, driving up prices in virtually all the U.S. markets. Prices have been rising so much the last few years that we’ve seen over a 50% price increase from February 2012 to September 2018. Accounting for inflation, that increase comes to about 40 percent. The national median household income was last reported with a year to year increase of 1.8 percent, while home prices have gone up 5.5 percent in roughly the same amount of time. That kind of gap is unsustainable, but for now prices are expected to rise, but at a slower pace.

Sellers received about 93.8 percent of their original list price at sale, that comes out to about a 0.1 percent improvement from 2017 to 2018. If demand shrinks in 2019, original list price received at sale could drop as well. Consumer optimism has been tested by four interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve in 2018.

For a closer look at our 4th quarter real estate markets we’ve included line graphs below to show the differences in new listings, closed sales, and median sales in Asheville and Buncombe County in 2017 and 2018.


4th Quarter New Listings in Asheville 2017 vs. 2018. The number of new listings in Asheville overall decreased during the same period in 2017 and 2018.


4th Quarter Closed Sales in Asheville 2017 vs. 2018. Although we saw the same general trend during this period for 2017 and 2018, the number of closed sales decreased by about 10% in 2018.


4th Quarter Median Sales in Asheville 2017 vs. 2018. The median sales price was at its highest in November of 2010 during this period when it stood at $314,500 then showed the most dramatic decrease in December 2018 at $290,000.


4th Quarter New Listings in Buncombe County 2017 vs. 2018.


4th Quarter Closed Sales in Buncombe County 2017 vs. 2018. Closed sales in Buncombe County showed similar trends for the same period from 2017 to 2018. The biggest decrease we saw was from November-December 2018 when the closed sales decreased from 330 to 275.


4th Quarter Median Sales in Buncombe County 2017 vs. 2018. Median sales showed the highest spike in November 2018 at $298,950 then decreased by more than $10,000 to $285,000.

Real estate is local and requires a high level of local knowledge. Our Agents understand the Asheville and Buncombe County markets and they know the best ways to help you Move Smarter. If you would like to learn more about our market insights or are interested in buying or selling a home, please don’t hesitate to contact us!





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Kenilworth Neighborhood in Asheville

The Chiles house designed by architect Ronald Greene.

Kenilworth is considered a downtown neighborhood. Although it is located about a mile south of the vibrant downtown scene, it feels remarkably quiet and peaceful. Residents live conveniently close to shopping, restaurants, and schools, yet enjoy the feeling of living in a forest retreat.

My husband and I put down roots in Kenilworth in 2008. We were searching for a quiet neighborhood near amenities, where privacy would be equally as valued as making new friends and sharing activities. We both work from home and were looking to reduce driving time for errands, and enjoy the benefits of living in town.

Every morning we walk the dogs and greet the other early risers. Even though by now the neighbors have become our friends, we still refer to them as “Bailey’s mom” or “Jasmine’s dad.” Dogs and babies — natures icebreakers. We stop to share news or just to say hello. I take comfort in the rhythm of routines encouraged by good neighborhood design.

The home of architect Ronald Greene.

Kenilworth is distinguished as the oldest established neighborhood in Asheville. In fact, it used to be an independent city, and was annexed to Asheville in the 1920s. Intriguing nuggets of local history are hidden in plain view on every street. Many of these tidbits are only noticeable if you’re on foot, or take the time to get to know the people who live here, who will pass on the stories.

For example, Waverly Street looks like an ordinary blacktop road to anybody zooming over it in a car. But a closer look at the ground reveals that beneath the asphalt lie lovely old red bricks, placed there by hand more than one hundred years ago. These roads, that once echoed with the rhythm of horse hooves and carriage wheels, curve and wind uphill and down because they were originally paths trod by the horses kept in the stables at the historic Kenilworth Inn at the top of the hill.

A beautiful winter scene at Lake Kenilworth.

People from outside the neighborhood are often surprised to learn there is a small lake at the heart of the Kenilworth community. There are few lakes in Asheville where it’s possible to own a waterfront home. 18 acre Kenilworth Lake is one of them, where lakefront homes with modest docks and kayaks wait at water’s edge. The lake is small enough to freeze over in winter, and last year while on my dog-walk during a cold snap, I noticed a lone figure out ice-skating across the glimmering surface. An older resident who has lived on the lake for decades, once told me about a time way back in the 1940s, when a pilot traveling through had made a frightful emergency landing on the small gleaming bit of ice inside the thick forest, in his private plane.

The lake is cherished by locals, and supports countless numbers of wildlife. I’ve seen fish jump, turtles amble, hawks study, owls stare, and Canada geese fly in formation overhead. Flashing red cardinals dash and dart through the rhododendrens and azaleas. Ducks, foxes, rabbits, and a generous population of wild turkeys all live here. Gazing out my window into the stream below one afternoon, I spotted a tiny blue river heron—no bigger than six inches tall—move like a master martial artist to snap up a brilliant silver fish.

This being Asheville, we also live respectfully with a few families of black bears, who can occasionally be spotted lumbering through the streets or uncannily vanishing into swaths of forest. I once witnessed a mama bear and her cub swim across the lake. We respect the wildlife, it keeps away from us, and the neighborhood seems to maintain a natural equilibrium. I think one of the big reasons people are drawn to WNC is because, like me, they’re looking for an environment just like Kenilworth with its blended mix of urban enjoyments and natural beauty, spiced with a pinch of wildlife—just enough to keep us on our toes.

Kenilworth neighborhood signs.

Active families eager for a game of tennis or soccer, or a quiet morning run have their pick of possibilities here. Looking for a basketball hoop and a playground? Impromptu games and neighborly chats often occur at the Leah Chiles Park, one of Kenilworth’s many neighborhood city parks. This park sits nestled beneath maples and oaks on the gentle slope below the Chiles house, a historic Spanish Revival home recently restored by its loving and devoted owners. Catty-corner to the Chiles house is another architectural gem, a gothic beauty with steep slate roof tiles, that was designed by renowned architect Ronald Greene, who also designed the Jackson building downtown.

Made up of single family homes, Bed & Breakfast Inns, and multiplexes, Kenilworth is a mix of old Arts & Crafts gems, Tudor homes, angular modern houses overlooking the city, lake cottages, and new construction.

My husband and I fell in love with it because of the proximity of the lake, the forested spaces, and most of all the friendly people we were meeting. All that and only a mile from downtown? It didn’t take us long to figure out that the Kenilworth neighborhood was what home should feel like.

Written by Suzanne Arthur, Broker, REALTOR. Connect with Suzanne at [email protected] to see how she can make buying or selling your home easier for you. To keep up with all of Asheville’s local happenings follow @suzannearthur_realtor on Instagram and check out her website suzannearthurrealtor.com.

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Pickleball in Asheville

Asheville is a place that keeps you busy. There’s so much to do in this town that even if you’ve heard of the racquet sport called Pickleball you may not think to seek it out here. But you should. Like Asheville itself, the Pickleball community is growing, it’s welcoming and it’s downright fun.

The game was founded on Bainbridge Island, Washington in 1965 by three guys who were trying to cure their own kids’ boredom. It worked not only for them but for thousands of others, clearly, as Pickleball is now the fastest growing sport in our country. And as the years and decades have passed, Pickleball has evolved from a backyard game to a sport that features national championships and play around the world.

Some of the allure comes from how easy it is to learn, the quick back and forth points and a court that’s a fraction of the size of a tennis court. While the smaller court benefits an older crowd (read: less running), all ages are having a blast playing pickleball. It can be a social game, too, as doubles is most popular. There are also courts indoors and outdoors so the action continues year round.

Pickleball is played with short paddles and a modified whiffle ball. Games are played to 11 and points are only scored when serving. Unlike tennis where you get a second serve after missing your first attempt, you’re allowed only one serve and it has to be struck underhand from below your navel. Oh, and the first two shots of every point have to bounce. This is known as, you guessed it, the double bounce rule. There are some other rules you’ll want to pick up on, too, but perhaps the most unique aspect of Pickleball is something called “the kitchen”. The kitchen is a zone that extends seven feet back from the net that you cannot stand in and simultaneously hit the ball in the air. This keeps players from completely blanketing the net because you lose the point if you volley in the kitchen. Thus short, low touch shots are constantly in demand until your opponent finally pops the ball up high enough to smash while standing outside the kitchen. It’s perhaps this combination of touch and power that I find most addicting.

Pickleball player enjoying a game.

There are a variety of places to play and people to play with in town and the surrounding areas. Local player, Rob McKown, says “Asheville is ideal for pickleball, where there’s a nearly-perfect 12 month climate and a healthy number of adults who are still physically able to play sports. By my count, there are 15 or more places to play pickleball around Asheville. This number will undoubtedly grow. Some subdivisions are starting to recognize Pickleball by putting in dedicated courts. A lot of people are retiring to Asheville and what a great way to make new friends, play Pickleball!”

Lastly, because I know you’re curious, I’ll tell you where the name came from. Most people say the game was named after one of the founder’s dogs who was called Pickles. This is the most common name origin story. The other circulating theory is that it was named after the pickle boats in rowing. Take your pick. I just know that it’s fun to play.

If you’re interested in talking about places to live and places to play Pickleball in Asheville please contact me. I’d love to help you in any way possible.
Written by Pete Anderson, Broker, REALTOR. Connect with Pete at [email protected] or (302) 563-2193 to see how he can make buying or selling your home in Asheville easier for you.

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