Realtors graduate from Workforce Housing Specialist Certification program

Diane Greene, Director of Community Outreach for the North Carolina Association of Realtors, speaks in this video about the housing affordability gap at this morning’s recognition ceremony at Pack’s Tavern. Video by Michael Muller

Over 50 real estate agents were recognized this morning for completing the Workforce Housing Specialist Certification Program, a course designed to help realtors learn about the federal, state and local programs available to potential homeowners who would otherwise have a difficult time affording their own homes.

Mayor Terry Bellamy recognized the graduates, who gathered in the banquet room upstairs at Pack’s Tavern for the ceremony. Also on hand were Buncombe County Commissioners Carol Peterson, Holly Jones, and K. Ray Bailey. Mayor Bellamy specifically thanked members of the Asheville Board of Realtors for its leadership in the area of affordable housing.

Asheville leads the nation in the number of people participating in the certification program, which was first created by the National Association of Realtors in 2009. The course was offered locally by the Asheville Board of Realtors between February and May of this year and is one of just three pilot programs in the state. Asheville was chosen because of the high proportion of its working population that is unable to afford to buy a home.

According to figures released by the North Carolina Board of Realtors, as many as 80% of Asheville’s workforce — including critical occupations like teachers, police officers, firefighters and journalists — earn less than what is needed to afford the average-priced home. “Wages are not keeping pace with housing costs in the Asheville area,” said Diane Greene, Director of Community Outreach for the North Carolina Association of Realtors who spoke at the event.

“The median home price in Asheville is around $180,000, which requires an income of about $57,631 to purchase,” said Greene. “A licensed practical nurse makes on average $36,439 annually; a police officer $45,802, a fire fighter $37,203 and an elementary school teacher makes $46,351. None can afford that home. And those are averages: entry-level wages are even lower.” According to the North Carolina Commission on Workforce development, about half the state’s new jobs will be considered “low-skill” jobs, which pay only about 60%of current average earnings.

These workers often make too much to qualify for typical housing subsidies but not enough to afford median-priced homes, so they tend to rent and often give up entirely on the idea of owning their own homes, according to John Newman, President of Homes4NC — a non-profit arm of the North Carolina Board of Realtors. He said that it’s better for people and their communities if these workers own instead of rent their homes: “Research shows that home ownership not only grounds workers in their community, but improves the educational performance of children, improves health and lowers crime rates.”

Bank of America is a major sponsor of the new certification program, and James McDuffie, Vice President for Business Development for BoA, travelled from Charlotte to thank the realtors for their hard work and commitment to serving all the members of the Asheville community. Several other organizations also participated in the program, including OnTrack Financial Education and Counseling, Mountain Housing Opportunities, USDA Rural Development, Habitat for Humanity, and the Self-Help Credit Union.

For more information on the programs designed to help you afford your own home and to find a realtor who has been specifically certified in this area, visit

Graduating from the program today are the following Buncombe County realtors:

Antonia Anderson
Beverly-Hanks, Weaverville

John Austin
Beverly-Hanks, Weaverville

Randall Barnett
The Buyer`s Agent of Asheville

Randall Blankenship
Beverly-Hanks, Weaverville

Karey Brooks
Keller Williams Professionals

Candace Butner
Keller Williams Professionals

Carolyn Calloway
Mountain Vista Properties

Caleb Coaplen
ERA Sunburst Realty

Mary Duffy
Asheville , NC

Rosemarie Edgar
Betty B Williams & Associates

Larry Ellis
Coldwell Banker Kasey Real Estate

Michael Figura
ECO Concepts Realty, Inc.

Deborah Francis
Prudential Lifestyle Realty-S

Autumn Freeman
United Country Peregrine Properties

Kristie Frizsell
Century 21 Mountain Lifestyles

Timothy Gillis
Town and Mountain Realty

Deborah Hellman

Keller Williams Professionals

Paul Hornyak
Keller Williams Professionals

E. Andrew Huska
George Morosani & Associates

Jennifer Keleher
Town and Mountain Realty

Michael Keleher
Town and Mountain Realty

Danielle King
Prudential Lifestyle Realty

Michelle Klein
Kraft Professional Realty, Inc.

Alexandria Lord
Keller Williams Professionals

Mary Love
Love The Green, LLC

Debra Marshall
Century 21 Mountain Lifestyles

Joel Martin
RE/MAX Advantage Realty

Lyn McFarland
Trillium Properties Of Asheville

Lenoir Medlock
Preferred Properties

Sona Merlin
Appalachian Realty Associates

Dolly Moore
Home Selling Service, LLC

Suzanne Mari Noble
Keller Williams Professionals

Kurtis Prinz
Keller Williams Professionals

Andrea Purcell
Purcell & Associates Realty

Kim Schroeder
Snowy Cove Realty, Inc

Douglas Sherry
Preferred Properties

Diane Simmons
Keller Williams – Weaverville

Patricia Spaulding
ECO Concepts Realty, Inc.

Karen Svites
M7 Realty Solutions, LLC

Joy Thylander
RE/MAX All Stars Realty

Aidree Tolan
Tolan Realty

Charles Wagner
RE/MAX Advantage Realty

Nancy Waldrop
A Personal Touch Realty, LLC

Cindy Zinser
J D Jackson Associates, Inc.


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2 thoughts on “Realtors graduate from Workforce Housing Specialist Certification program

  1. Build Density

    Gordon Smith
    July 13th, 2010 at 12:05 am
    The Planning and Zoning Committee will meet on July 22nd at 4pm at City Hall to consider alteration in the UDO to allow for increased density on corridors and in neighborhoods.

    Please attend and offer your input!

  2. Build Density

    On the table is the alteration of the UDO so that the public will not have input into these types of zoning decisions, freeing up the boards and councils to pass many more projects, quicker. Be there and help push.

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