Real estate is not a market that is the same everywhere. What is true in Raleigh or Los Angeles is not necessarily true in Houston. In fact, real estate markets tend to differ greatly from one area to the next. From distances as short as just across town, to even across the street, real estate is a game to comparable buying. And in Asheville, NC, the comparables are steady. There are many reasons why. But, first we will explain comparables as they pertain to real estate.
Comparables is a term real estate appraisers use to compare the subject property, or the home for sale, to an exact model match. An exact model match is not always available. So, appraisers search for as close of a model match as possible. The value is then determined by many factors. The most important factors are square footage of the home, size of the lot the home sits on, age of the home, and neighborhood of the home. So, in determining a home’s worth, the appraiser must look within a 1 mile radius for other homes that have very similar measurements that were built around the same year. The appraiser then compares the sales price of these homes. The sales must be recent, usually limited to one year, but even then the appraiser should use the most recent three to four comparables to determine the value of a home for sale.
Now that I have covered how home values are determined, I want to explain why Asheville seems to be immune from dropping home values, even when the rest of the country seemed destined to drop. The answer is quite simple. People want to live here, so they are willing to pay fair market value. Another reason is because while the rest of the nation experienced a real estate bubble, Asheville’s home values did not over inflate. They remained steady, with about a 10% increase in value annually. Contrast that with 100% increases from other areas and it’s easy to see why Asheville has remained a steady real estate market.
But, there is more here than just math and numbers. When I first visited Asheville in 1995, the snow blanketed the slopes of Sugar Mountain, the air was crisp, the city was bursting with energy and I felt something I never expected. I felt more alive than ever before. I felt like I had found my home.
During that trip in 1995, I experienced, and not for the first time I might add, true Southern Hospitality. Having spent time in the South prior, I had experienced the “Hey” greetings you get from all of the natives. But, never before was that an invitation to stop and chat. It was just a polite gesture, a simple acknowledgement. In Asheville, chatting for a few minutes is actually expected and in a city with over 70,000 residents, that was completely unexpected. While the charm of the local people cannot be listed on an appraisal report, it in doubt helps the homes hold their value.
Moreover, Asheville has 4 mild seasons that each have something special to offer. The summers are mild, unlike the nearby cities of Charlotte or Raleigh. Temperatures usually reach highs of 85 degrees in July and August. Charlotte and Raleigh reach highs of 98 degrees each year in contrast. The altitude of Asheville is the reason for the mild summers, which is easily my favorite time of year. The winters are fairly cool but even with snow capped mountains, the winters are quite bearable while also offering the best skiing and snowboarding in the state. Spring is breathtaking when the flowers are all in bloom and the fall is absolutely majestic, with the leaves changing colors as they fall to the ground. At any time of the year, Asheville is mild, with an average temperature of 66.7 degrees.
In conclusion, it is fairly easy to see why Asheville has a steady real estate market. The charm of the people, the charm of the mountains, the mild weather, the energized buzz of the downtown area, Asheville is a true place of beauty and a secret still well kept by the natives.