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Annual Report on the Asheville Region Housing Market

As we look to 2021, signals suggest buyer demand will remain elevated and tight inventory will continue to invite multiple offers and higher prices across much of the housing inventory. Mortgage rates are expected to remain low, helping buyers manage some of the increases in home prices and keep them motivated to lock in their housing costs for the long term. These factors will provide substantial tailwinds for the housing market into the new year. 
(The following counties are considered a part of the Asheville region: Burke, Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania and Yancey counties in North Carolina.)

The 2020 housing market was unexpectedly turbulent towards the end of the first quarter due to the pandemic that spread across the country. As the first wave of COVID-19 hit in the spring, housing market activity slowed substantially before staging a dramatic comeback just a couple months later. Home sales and prices were higher than 2019 across most market segments and across most of the country. Seller activity recovered significantly from the COVID-19 spring decline, but overall activity was still insufficient to build up the supply of homes for sale.

While markedly improved from their COVID-19 spring lows, seller activity continued to lag buyer demand, which had strengthened the ongoing seller’s market for most housing segments as inventories remain at record lows.

Sales: Pending sales increased 16.4 percent, finishing 2020 at 13,321.

Buyer activity was the leader again in 2020. With mortgage interest rates setting record lows multiple times throughout the year and a strong drive by many buyers to secure a better housing situation – in part due to the new realities brought on by COVID-19 – many segments of the market experienced a multiple-offer frenzy not seen in the last 15 years or more.

Closed sales were up 13.0 percent to end the year at 12,687.

Listings: Comparing 2020 to the prior year, the number of homes available for sale was lower 8.9 percent. There were 4,351 active listings at the end of 2020. New listings decreased by 7.3 percent to finish the year at 14,303.

Distressed: The foreclosure market continued to remain a small player in the overall market amid numerous forbearance efforts undertaken by the government and lenders. In 2020, the percentage of closed sales that were either foreclosure or short sale decreased by 8.0 percent to end the year at 0.8 percent of the market.

Foreclosure and short sale activity may tick higher in 2021 as forbearances expire with some homeowners unable to meet their obligations. Showings: Showing activity had a dip in spring due to the pandemic, but the year-over-year activity turned positive in the second half of the year. There were 15 showings before pending, which was up 5.1 percent compared to 2019.

Based on information from Canopy MLS for the period January 15th, 2021.

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