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sheville Housing Market Numbers

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6/3/2009 - Asheville Housing Market Numbers
by Asheville Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE People looking for a bottom in the local housing market may have to wait at least a bit longer.

The number of existing homes sold in Buncombe County fell 41.1 percent in April compared with April 2008 and even dropped 21.9 percent from March 2009, contrary to the usual trend of rising sales in the spring.

Three nearby counties also saw large declines over the same month a year ago, according to figures from the N.C. Association of Realtors.

There have been some signs of a turnaround in the national economy the Dow Jones Industrial average jumped 196 points Tuesday on a report of rising consumer confidence but that doesn't appear to have translated into more home sales locally.

I wish I could say that I have seen signs of the end of the decline in the local market, said Mike Miller, owner and broker at Town and Mountain Realty. I keep hearing about and reading about a little light at the end of the tunnel in national markets, he said, but he's seen no evidence of changes here yet.

The unemployment rate for the Asheville metropolitan area Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson and Madison counties stood at 9.4 percent in March, the last month for which figures are available.

That's more than double the 4.3 percent reported for March 2008.

Miller said he expected to see more of an impact by now from a federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers. He suspects the uncertain job picture may be discouraging some buyers.

The state of the general economy typically has a major impact on an area's housing market, said Tom Tveidt, head of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce's research arm. That is less true in this area because so many sales are to people moving here from elsewhere, he said.

The average price of a home sold in Buncombe County actually rose slightly, from $278,690 in April 2008 to $285,552 last month.

National home prices are at levels not seen since 2002, according to a national index released Tuesday, although there was a wide variation in price movement from city to city.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller National Home Price index reported that home prices tumbled by 19.1 percent in the first quarter, the most in its 21-year history. Home prices have fallen 32.2 percent since peaking in the second quarter of 2006.

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The index is based on 20 major cities. Home prices edged up 0.3 percent in Charlotte from February to March, the best performance of any city in the index.

Prices fell 1.7 percent from February to March in Atlanta and dropped 15.7 percent over a 12-month period.

Prices in two Florida cities continued their decline, falling 3.5 percent from February to March in Miami and 28.7 percent for the 12 months and declining 2.7 percent monthly in Tampa and 22.4 percent for the year.

Many buyers of homes in Western North Carolina come from Florida, and experts say difficulties in the real estate market there are a major factor in declining home sales in the mountains.

The 19.1 percent decline nationally is from the first quarter of 2008 to the first three months of 2009. We see no evidence that a recovery in home prices has begun, said David Blitzer, chairman of the committee that puts the national home price index together.

 

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller National Home Price index reported that home prices tumbled by 19.1 percent in the first quarter, the most in its 21-year history. Home prices have fallen 32.2 percent since peaking in the second quarter of 2006.



The index is based on 20 major cities. Home prices edged up 0.3 percent in Charlotte from February to March, the best performance of any city in the index.

Prices fell 1.7 percent from February to March in Atlanta and dropped 15.7 percent over a 12-month period.

Prices in two Florida cities continued their decline, falli ng 3.5 percent from February to March in Miami and 28.7 percent for the 12 months and declining 2.7 percent monthly in Tampa and 22.4 percent for the year.

Many buyers of homes in Western North Carolina come from Florida, and experts say difficulties in the real estate market there are a major factor in declining home sales in the mountains.

The 19.1 percent decline nationally is from the first quarter of 2008 to the first three months of 2009. We see no evidence that a recovery in home prices has begun, said David Blitzer, chairman of the committee that puts the national home price index together.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

By Mark Barnett, Asheville Citizen Times

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