Regional Real Estate Market Update & Forecast for May

Despite “Stay At Home” Restrictions, Real Estate Begins Rebound 

Buncombe & Henderson Counties:

Similar to other counties which deemed real estate an “essential service” yet which remained under “stay at home” restrictions for many consumers, once the complete lock down expired in Buncombe and Henderson Counties in early April, showing activity has rebounded nicely, despite remaining stay at home and travel restrictions impacting some consumers and out of state traffic which normally picks up as spring returns.  

Currently, overall showing activity has rebounded to around 65% of last year’s end of April activity, and continues to trend positively. The luxury segment, a bit more dependent upon out of state and second home consumers, has lagged, yet recently begun to rebound up to around 27% of last year’s end of April activity and is trending upward week over week.  

We believe both categories will continue this recovery in May, with mid-market activity rebounding to around 90% of last year’s same period, and luxury activity continuing its recovery in the 50-60% range compared to last year, as travel gradually kicks back in. This market should benefit from a possible shift in consumer preferences to living in space, particularly those migrating from more congested areas of the country.  

Foothills: Rutherford, Polk, and Cleveland Counties

The foothills counties experienced similar downturns to that of many of the other counties in western North Carolina the initial weeks of “stay at home” statewide requirements. That said, in all 3 counties real estate was considered an essential service, and with much lighter transmission numbers, consumers in need of new housing engaged at levels that quickly rebounded over the 4 weeks of April.  

Showing activity in the most recent week ended 4.26, actually exceeded that of last year’s 4.26 week in the price range under $500,000 in the foothills area, the upper end of the market is rebounding a bit more slowly, but overall, this region is seeing showing activity already returning to 90% of last year’s levels and should see similar sell thru activity to last year’s May/June with the exception of a slightly slower to recover high end market.  

Overall, given that our state has been under “stay at home” guidelines as well as travel restrictions imposed in other states, we believe the upward showing trend is surprisingly positive for this early stage of recovery. With the lifting of the statewide restrictions being phased-in beginning in the next few weeks, we believe showing activity will display some pent up spring demand and will rebound into the 80-90% range of last year’s May/June, particularly in the mid-market segment. Low interest rates continue to attract earlier stage buyers more engaged in the traditional move up market, while the higher end of the market may re-engage more gradually. With 10 homes over $1 million under contract in Buncombe county, there remain pockets of continued million dollar plus activity and we see this as a bright spot for the luxury market locally. For this reason, we also believe it to be an opportunistic time for listings who’ve delayed or withdrawn from the market to consider re-entering ahead of a May push by buyer consumers. Real estate firms have implemented showing conditions which include sanitary wipe downs, masks, and restrictions on the number of persons entering a house that are extremely stringent in comparison to other permitted activities. Firms are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of consumers and agents.

Meet Our Team | Advice & Insight From Janet Blake

Today we meet Ivester Jackson BlackStream agent Janet Blake, a trusted real estate advisor in Western North Carolina. Janet is focused, professional, informed, and kind. Her 20+ years of paralegal background experience in real estate development, corporate, estate and trust administration serve her clients well.

Tell us your favorite things about being a real estate broker.

I am very motivated by helping others and by connecting with people.  I also have a love for architecture and design. My type “A” personality side enjoys the business part of real estate, organization, negotiations, due dates, etc.  It has been the most fantastic professional “fit” for me.

Do you have specific areas of focus? 

As an agent in Town Mountain Preserve, I am experienced with new construction and mountain properties, as well as home renovations.  I assist my clients as well with the moving transition from city life to mountain life. 

What advice do you have for people right now during this down period?

I am trying to keep at least a few of my “normal” daily activities in tact but making modifications; such as working out.  There are so many free on-line classes, however, the motivation is not the same! I also order at least 2 to-go meals a week to help support our wonderful local restaurants. 

 How are you keeping busy with today’s Stay at Home Restrictions?

I am consistently learning the world of marketing,  which will in turn benefit my clients . I am also attending on-line classes to obtain my GRI in real estate.  My 2 goldendoodles are also learning new tricks!

Are you giving back or helping your community during this time? 

Yes, I have made donations to local food pantries to insure our children through the school systems have food. I also volunteered to make weekly phone calls to several church members to check on them for needs and to serve as a companion.

View Janet’s Listings Here!

Regional Market & Covid-19 Update, April 2020

Buncombe and Henderson Counties Open Showings for Realtors

After several weeks of virtually all real estate showing activity restricted, Buncombe County lifted its moratorium on showings as of last Thursday, April 9th. While surrounding counties considered real estate activity “essential” as per the Governor’s declaration, Buncombe and Henderson County placed restrictions on real estate activity early on in the process. The prior guidelines were very restrictive and had brought the local real estate market to a standstill.

Below is an analysis which shows the period covering the past 3 to 4 weeks, coinciding with the initial impact of the Stay at Home Period. Chart 1 compares pending contracts placed, new listings, and closings, with both new listing and pending contract activity bottoming the first week of April. With the easing of restrictions by the Counties to now allow showing activity (and of course vital closing activities like surveys, title/legal work, inspections), results finally began to trend upward over the most recent 7 days.  

One ray of light in Buncombe and Henderson counties, is the data that indicates that pending contracts and closings continue to outweigh new listings coming on the market, which means that inventory remains low, and in fact in some areas is actually shrinking as homeowners elect to wait to put houses on the market for later in the spring.   

As real estate activities and showings start to gradually pick up steam, Ivester Jackson BlackStream as a firm has put into place safeguards to protect not only our agents and clients, but the greater community at large. All of our agents have signed the “Covid Aware Agent Commitment” that was drafted by the local Land of Sky Realtor Association and was guided by CDC recommendations, along with NC Realtors Association and the National Association of Realtors.

Buncombe and Henderson Counties Approved Real Estate Activities

  • Essential Closing Activity – Final Walk Through, Surveys, Appraisals, Home Inspections, Accounting, eSign documents
  • New Listing Activation – All Homes (vacant or occupied), Homes Visited Prior to Stay-at-Home Order, Virtual Tour Listing
  • Realtor Showings – All properties can been shown at this time while following guidelines from the CDC and Local Realtors Board
  • Virtual Activities – Virtual Tours, Virtual Listing Presentations, Online Client Meetings

All Other Counties:

  • Essential Closing Activities – Surveys, Inspections, Walk thrus
  • Listing Activation – Social Distancing & CDC Best Practices
  • Realtor Showings – Social Distancing & CDC Best Practice

Kind Regards, Reed Jackson and Lori Ivester Jackson

Asheville Regional Real Estate & Coronavirus Update

Given the fast moving issues regarding the Corona virus in our region and how it has and will impact real estate activities moving forward, here are some clarifications and observations as to activities that will likely be limited in the next few days or week, vs those which appear to be allowed even under shelter in place or stay at home declarations (which are starting to appear in our major counties in North Carolina). We are strongly advising clients, our staff, and our agents, to adhere to governmental guidelines in the interest of getting through this challenging time. What follows is a brief discussion on current logistics, our presentation of activities critical to real estate closings that the government considers “essential”, some macro information on what conditions looked like heading into this period, (up to date through today), as well as our thoughts on the next few weeks.

Logistics: Real estate transactions were caught mid-stream during these past weeks’ growing restrictions. We had parties in mid-relocation, etc. and fortunately were collaborating with agents and clients on our many virtual platforms as a normal course of business in what until about 14 days ago was one of the most robust real estate marketplaces in North Carolina history. We were one of the first firms in the state to go to a virtual agent network many years ago and are well suited to work from today’s best cloud-based platforms. Additionally, our key staff personnel have been equipped with laptops for several years and are used to collaborating remotely from home, as well as virtually. We discontinued group meetings several weeks ago, enacted strict office visitation protocol and have been practicing CDC and Johns Hopkins protocols for several weeks. We are digitally transacting current contracts, displaying listings, and transmitting and processing offers digitally for e-signatures. We also have extensive digital marketing capabilities due to our robust HD photography, drone video, and social media sharing capabilities, which are increasing in engagement daily as people spend more time at home. 
At this time, in many of our major counties, shelter in place rules are falling in to place and/or will be enacted shortly should spread of the Covid-19 virus dictate that reaction, so we are advising as to our most current practices:

  • Digital/video tours have been completed by our agents via FaceTime and by drone video
  • Contracts and paperwork are being processed end to end in Dotloop, our cloud-based e-signature program, allowing “in process” transactions to proceed
  • Precautions have been taken to sanitize and control surface contacts during inspections, surveys, etc., and those county-determined “essential steps” have for the most part proceeded and are deemed as “essential” so far, even in shelter in place environments
  • Attorneys have their staffs working remotely, which allows them to research, process, and conduct closings with minimal contact, and thus far they’ve done a tremendous job minimizing closing disruptions
  • County recording staffs have been working remotely, and in combination with legal staffs, their combined digital processing has so far allowed closings to remain on track absent this week’s temporary stoppage in Buncombe County for 2 days, and we anticipate that all steps to continue processing and recording will continue
  • Banking, finance, and other closing related activities are also considered essential and are for the most part moving forward as are inspections
  • Our state association has prepared an addendum which allows for both parties to agree to a contract extension specifically conditioned upon unanticipated shutdowns or delays due to Covid-19

What Has Transpired:

  • Over the past two weeks, Buncombe and Henderson County have continued to see contracts placed albeit with a slight decline (167 to 127), yet these have virtually matched new listings arriving on market. Showings have deteriorated by about 50% and we anticipate this dropping to almost zero from a physically present standpoint should the county enact shelter in place guidelines.
  • From a total standpoint over the past two weeks, 394 contracts were placed as 399 new residential listings came on the market, a virtual wash in terms of impact on inventory.
  • We came into March with just over 3600 homes on the market in active inventory. By comparison, last March, considered a healthy one in terms of conditions, we had almost 5000 actively listed homes. We believe this critical shortage gap may help the region over the next few months to avoid pricing instability depending upon the duration of the minimized activity

Below are three charts depicting this dynamic, the past two weeks’ under contracts vs new listings, first by the past week and week before, then a total, and finally, Asheville regional MLS total inventory trends comparing last year to this year’s total homes listed for sale and trendline.

What’s Next? It is not easy to predict day to day, some traditional real estate activity continues with much precaution, but areas with shelter in place orders will likely see in person showings stop temporarily and we anticipate this shortly for Buncombe and Henderson Counties. This would not stop transactions in process, but probably limit open houses and showing activity in person.

  • We believe most closings will stay on track, pending the availability of vendors to handle vital hurdles such as inspections, surveys, and legal work all of which is deemed “essential” by most local counties and the Department of Homeland Security
  • Virtual video tours are rising rapidly which we believe will keep people engaged in the viewing of real estate provided the containment of the virus does not become a prolonged exercise that inhibits “in person” activity late into the summer
  • One of the unique variables in this downturn is that it has also impacted inventory levels from rising as people elect to hold off listing their homes, which should also serve to limit the development of distressed inventory like we saw in 2009, at least in the short run. Again, inventory levels 3 weeks ago were 1200 homes short of last year’s supply at the same time. Where that fundamental measure of supply then heads (given it was in critically short supply in many areas two weeks ago) over the longer duration, is harder to predict. In the short run it should allow for some cushion and pricing stability. The longer term 3 to 5 year viability of the region remains pretty unquestioned. This leaves the medium term six month to a year out picture more dependent directly on containment and duration questions, both of which are up in the air currently. 

We will continue to provide updates frequently to help our team and clients understand the shifting seas we are all navigating. Stay safe out there, exercise spacing in distance, and lets all try to get this thing out of our communities as quickly as possible.

Kind Regards, Reed Jackson Lori Ivester Jackson

Browse our Active Listings and Read our newest Blog Post of Western NC Virtual Home Tours

Asheville & Western NC Home Tours

During this time of social distancing, we want to share with you some of our favorite home tours of active listings around Asheville that will let you take a peek inside right from the comfort of your own home.

6 Pilsgate Way | Asheville, NC

Listing Agents: Britt Allen | 828.450.8166
Miriam McKinney | 828.777.7924

18243 Joe Brown Hwy | Murphy, NC

Listing Agent: John Clark Kent | 864.784.9968

163 Appian Way | Shelby, NC

Listing Agent: Joy Pharr | 704.418.2963

Portfolio of Fine Properties

Enjoy Ivester Jackson Blackstream’s Portfolio of Fine Properties, featuring the region’s finest collection of luxury property.

This bi-monthly magazine is mailed to more than 8,000 affluent readers in the Carolina’s and beyond, it’s unrivaled exposure with the finest homes in the region.

Asheville & Western NC Market Report & Forecast

Read our Quarter 2 Luxury Market Update for Asheville and Western North Carolina. We analyze market conditions compared to the previous year, broken down by neighborhood to offer you the most accurate picture, as well as our predictions for the upcoming months.

Second Quarter Luxury Market Report


Western North Carolina and the Asheville area saw a surge in showings and pending contracts as we moved toward the third quarter and summer kicked into high gear in late June. The mid-market luxury segment ($500,000 to $999,000) saw fairly active sell thru with 73 homes selling in Buncombe County and another 48 pending as we move into the third quarter, while other western North Carolina communities saw similar conditions to last summer in the mid-market segment.

The luxury segment above $1 million saw 14 sales in Asheville, 5 in the Fairview/Fletcher quadrant, and another 4 in Hendersonville, all in line with, or slightly ahead of last year’s results during the same period.

Showing activity in Asheville in the luxury price segment continues to run almost 35% ahead of last year’s June/July period, indicative of improving conditions in the million dollar property segment.

While much of the mainstream media’s attention tends to be focused on reporting tight inventories and rising prices, it’s important to understand that today’s real estate market is “hyper local”, meaning its critical to understand what’s going on in a specific neighborhood, and beyond that, the price segments within that neighborhood/community. It’s entirely possible that one price segment can have high inventory conditions while another price segment can have limited inventory and very competitive conditions.


Click here to view the full report and see the neighborhood break downs!