USA Today: Asheville housing market? Comme ci, comme ca

USA Today, in its daily Money section, routinely looks at real-estate conditions across the nation, focusing on a particular city. In its latest edition, the flagship paper of the Gannett Company, Inc. gives readers a snapshot of the Asheville market. The verdict? Sort of bad, but could be worse, all things considered.

While a wide swath of the nation is reeling from the bursting of the housing bubble, record foreclosures and general economic malaise, Asheville has so far begun to experience decreased sales volumes as well, even though home prices here have not fallen nearly as precipitously, the paper reports.

The median home price has fallen 3.2 percent, to $208,000, from a year ago. Meanwhile, sales volume is down 31.5 percent. Compared to a trio of cities in opposite ends of the country, the sales volume decrease is worse in Albuquerque, N.M., and Spokane, Wash., but way less, in comparison, to frigid Rochester, N.Y.

North Carolina as a whole has fared a bit better than Asheville in the past year. While the median home price statewide is just $165,000, that figure remains unchanged from a year ago; meanwhile, sales volumes are down by only 25 percent.

So who’s to blame? Floridians, of course, as well as other out-of-staters who have increasingly begun to call Asheville home. Unfortunately, Florida (the state which accounts for most of the city’s in-migration) has been among the handful of states hardest hit by the housing crunch. In other words, it’s hard to buy a home here when you can’t first sell your home there.

— Hal L. Millard, staff writer


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