Tag Archives: home value

Real Estate Market Holding Steady

Single Family Home Sales Statistics
Land Sales Statistics
Overall Market View


No Extraordinary Sales Expected

While the Highlands/Cashiers area real estate market is coming back into its busy season, statistics show the market as status-quo.  In layering the sales data from 2014 until March of 2016, we see no major changes in the market. In fact, we see 2016 starting a little slower than 2015. What does this mean?

For Buyers, this is still a great time to buy a home in the mountains. It also means that buyers are in the drivers seat.

For Sellers, it means that expectations to sell their home should not be set too high. High expectations can result in homes staying on the market for longer periods of time (DOM or Days On Market).

Recent homes sales Macon and Jackson Counties
Market Outlook for Real Estate – Click for LARGER IMAGE.


Be reasonable. Look at the chart below. This shows the number of homes sold in March 2016 as compared to the inventory available. You might say, the blue area is your competition.

Inventory of homes in Highlands, Cashiers, Macon County
Price Competitively to Sell – Click for LARGER IMAGE

Now realize that the ORANGE SLIVER represents the 32 homes that did sell. So, divide the ORANGE SLIVER into 32 equal pieces. That one small section you end up with of the 32 is equal to your home. So, how do you compete? How do you  plan to get your home sold?

Believe it or not, your Broker wants the same thing you do; To sell your home for the most money they can get. However, your Broker is in the best position to tell you what the Market is doing. They watch the Market continually to offer you advise. While it is true you may “feel” your property is worth more or that you may have paid more for it or put a lot improvements into it, COST ≠ VALUE (Cost does not equal Value).

Be “IN” the Market, Not “On” the Market

While Market Data will state that homes sold for 90% of there List price, this does not paint a real picture.  This percentage is based upon the List price at the time it sold. In reviewing the “Original” List price, we find these homes sold for about 69% of the “Original” list price. Take a look at this graph to see what that looks like:

List to Sell Ration
Original List Price vs. Sold Price – Click for LARGER IMAGE

After many Days On Market (DOM) Sellers were forced to reduce their prices to get their homes sold. The mentality of many is, “The buyers are going to beat us up on price, so we’re going to price high so we can give a little,” is not a good strategy. Why not?

If you are overpriced, buyers are not going to look at your property. They will go look at properties that are closer to their budget. For example, if you’re priced at $495,000, buyers looking in the $400,000 – $450,000 range may never see your listing. If your home is not “In the Market” for what they are looking for, you are overpriced. The competition for the Market is tough and you have to be priced right to sell. Buyers know the market and they simple will not consider properties that are priced to high.

If you’re not getting many views on your home, chances are good you are priced too high. If you want your home sold during this upcoming selling season, you need to develop a strategy now.



Total homes listed in Highlands/Cashiers MLS: 1159 – This number is expected to rise as many Sellers desire to take advantage of the selling season. This number is expected to rise to around 1500.

Homes Sold This Month: 32-Less than the 2015 model, as seen in chart at top.

Average Sales per Month 1 Year Average: 47 (Unchanged)

Inventory: 24 months – This is determined using the Average Sales Per Month, as this market is very seasonal. Remember, a healthy market inventory is considered to be 6 months or less.

DOM: 533

Average DOM (YOY): 460

Median Sales Price: $243,500– This is a more significant number than “Average Selling Price.” This helps us to see where the middle of the market is selling.

Average List/Sell Ratio: 90.03% -Take into consideration this is not the “Original” List Price, as mentioned earlier. This continues to show that homes are overpriced. Sellers need to be aggressive in pricing to stir competition for their home. Pricing aggressively is what creates more lookers and more offers.

Synopsis: As we are coming into our Selling Season, Sellers should want to take advantage and be aggressive. As we go further into the season, if there is a lack of lookers, Sellers should want to consider their pricing and adjust accordingly before the season wanes.



Land Units Sold: 8

Total listed in all MLS: 1188-This number should continue to increase, which is not good for Sellers.

Inventory: 84 months. That’s 7 years of inventory. Some sellers have given their land away if the buyer covered the closing fee’s. Land is moving, but there is no real demand.

Synopsis: No demand means prices for land remain very low, compared to former pricing.


Overall Market View:

31% of home sales ranged from $200,000 to $499,999. This is the major portion of market sales.
15% of home sales ranged from $500,000 – $749,999. This was a significant rise in homes in this price range.
12% of sales were above $1,000,000. Unchanged.

Sellers, you should not expect top dollar for your home. If this is what you desire, you may want to remove your home from the market, temporarily.

Buyers, as we head into our busy season, good buys don’t last long. You need to be on top of any listings that pique your interest and be ready to move on them.



If you’re considering listing your home for sale or purchasing a home in NC, please feel free to contact a local agent or REALTOR®.  They  will make a specific report for your area of our MLS (Sapphire, Norton, Glenville, Highlands, Toxaway, Clear Creek, Breedlove, etc). You can then make an informed decision on how to sell or buy your home.



This material is based upon work performed by Rick Creel, Broker. It is intended to provide an overall view of the real estate market for Highlands, Cashiers and surrounding areas of the Highlands/Cashiers Board of Realtors. It is composed of data from the HCBOR and NAR for this MLS only. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations are those of the author and do not reflect the views of any others. There can be no assurance that this information is complete, accurate, or includes all available market data; all information is subject to change. Users of this information are advised to consult with their financial experts about the interpretation and usefulness of information contained herein. It is unlawful to duplicate or distribute the information contained in these reports. For more information or to consider listing your home with an agent or buying a home CLICK HERE.

“Homes Losing Value” – October Report

Home Value
Homes Losing Value

Click above image to view National Housing Market Update


  • Single Family Homes
  • Land Sales
  • Overall Market View

    Not All Markets Are Equal

    Many clients in the Highlands/Cashiers real estate market want to know why their homes have not sold. They often speak of markets in other areas where they may also have homes and speak of how the market is doing there. According to Zillow’s Dr. Gudell, she states, “…we’re still seeing a number of homes losing value.” The real estate market varies in different regions.

    For example, in the Highlands/Cashiers market area we have about 1350 homes on the market. The yearly average in sales is around 49 homes per month. That’s about 3.6% of the inventory sales in any given month. As a result, one might say you have about a 3.6% chance of selling your home. Not a good number, especially for investors trying to “flip” a home. What can you do to improve the opportunity to sell your home? You need to price better than your competition, also known by appraisers as Substitution.

    (Click on Chart to see Larger Image)
    Home Sales and market for Highlands and Cashiers area.
    Decline in Home Sales Expected

    However, there’s no need to panic. This is the yearly decline in sales that happens every season in our part of the world, as you see represented in the chart above (blue line is 2014). However, what we have seen in 2015 (represented by the orange line) is that sales have been up overall in comparison with 2014. This is good news.  What is in store remains to be seen. However, some ask, “Should I take my property off the market for the winter months?” Let’s look at the chart and make a few considerations.

    If you’re home is off the market, it is  not being seen by the over 200 brokers in our MLS. This almost assures it will not sell. However, when we look at the chart, we see sales start to increase around January. Why is this?

    Visitors come to our area in October for the leaves, November to get their Christmas tree’s and December, hoping for a white Christmas in the mountains and possibly to do some skiing. They fall in love with the area and start looking around. Now, consider how the buying process works.

    It may take a couple of weeks for negotiations, then another 2-3 weeks for Due Diligence (inspections, financing, etc). Closing and financing may take an additional couple of weeks, as well as Title search, etc. In view of this, it can easily take a couple of months to finally close on a property. This means, if we want our home to be one of the rising statistics for March, we need to be listed as early as January. One thing is for certain, if you are not listed, your chances of selling are greatly reduced. And, since many people will take their homes off in the winter, the inventory is reduced which may increase your opportunity to be seen.


    Total homes listed in Highlands/Cashiers MLS: 1373

    Homes Sold This Month:  70 – This is a 10% drop in sales from previous month. Sales are expected to decline for the next couple of months.

    Average Sales per Month 1 Year Average: 49

    Inventory: 28months – Unchanged. A healthy market is considered by many to be less than 6 months.

    DOM: 369 – This number has continued to drop. Part of the reason appears to be that many of the newer listings are getting closer to the real market price.

    Average DOM (YOY): 463 – This is unchanged Sellers should not expect their home to move quickly, unless it is very well positioned.

    Median Sales Price: $390,000 – This is another good sign in that the “middle of the market” is continuing to increase. It would seem buyers are spending more on homes.

    Average List/Sell Ratio: 87.37 -This shows that many homes are overpriced. If your home is not being shown, this could be the reason.

    The following chart shows Macon County Tax Assessment ratio much closer than Jackson County. It’s also interesting to note that Highlands, NC did see more home sales, possibly as a result. Macon has lowered the value on many properties. However, the millage  rate has been increased.


    Tax assessment for Macon and Jackson County
    Macon County Tax Assessment Near Market Values – Click image to see larger display.

    You will also note in the chart above that homes have been listed way above their Closing Values. This will add to the Days On Market, if your home is not priced correctly. Remember, buyers drive the market, not Brokers.

    Synopsis: While sales are expected to drop off during the next couple of months, it is important to have your home priced correctly. If it is priced correctly, you may even have a better chance of selling as others come off market. You may want to have your broker do another CMA if it’s been a while.



    Land Units Sold: 11

    Total listed in all MLS: 1226

    Average Sales per Month YOY Average: 16 Unchanged.

    Inventory: 77 months.

    Average List/Sell Price Ratio: 68% This shows that land is still considered to be overpriced.

    Synopsis: There continues to be no real demand for land. Also, land is considered to be overpriced by buyers, as seen in the List/Sell Ratio above. With large inventory, anyone expecting to sell their land soon may have to consider stronger incentives/lower prices to encourage purchasing.


    Overall Market View:

    40% of home sales ranged from $250,000 to $499,999.
    40% of home sales ranged from $500,000 and above.

    Sellers, remember, it’s not what we would like to get for our property, but what the market will bare.

    Buyers should not hesitate. The market in this area is showing signs of increase. As the increase continues, prices will be expected to follow.
    If you’re considering listing your home for sale or purchasing a home in NC,  please feel free to contact a local agent.  He will make a specific report for your area in our MLS (Sapphire, Norton, Glenville, Highlands, Toxaway, Clear Creek, Breedlove, etc). You can then make an informed decision on how to sell or buy your home.




    This material is based upon work performed by Rick Creel, Broker. It is intended to provide an overall view of the real estate market for Highlands, Cashiers and surrounding areas of the Highlands/Cashiers Board of Realtors. It is composed of data from the HCBOR and NAR for this MLS only. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations are those of the author and do not reflect the views of any others. There can be no assurance that this information is complete, accurate, or includes all available market data; all information is subject to change. Users of this information are advised to consult with their financial experts about the interpretation and usefulness of information contained herein. It is unlawful to duplicate or distribute the information contained in these reports. For more information or to consider listing your home with an agent or buying a home CLICK HERE.

    Home Value

    How Much is My Home Worth?

    To determine the value of your home you should contact a real estate agent. However,  it’s not “Rocket Science”.  Still, you need to know the determining factors for a  Current Market Analysis. The key word here being “Current”.

    How to Determine Current Market Value

    Housing Index Rising
    Image courtesy of cool design / FreeDigitalPhotosdotnet

    The “Sales Comparison Approach” is probably the simplest method to determine the value of your home.  However, this requires having access to current data and knowing how to interpret trends. Here is some information you will need:

    Comps – This is just short for “comparisons” or “comparative”. In other words, you try to find a home that is similar to yours, the “subject property”. Unfortunately, unless you live in a “cookie cutter” subdivision chances are pretty good you’re not going to find a home just like yours.  Also, these need to be “sold” comps, not those currently listed on the market. This is what real estate agents and appraisers use from the MLS.  DO NOT COMPARE YOUR HOME VALUE TO LISTED PRICES.  It is the “sold” price that determines what knowledgeable  buyers are willing pay.

    Adjustments – Once you have found a comp similar to your property, it’s time to start making adjustments. Things to consider are:

    • age of home
    • condition of home
    • number of bedrooms and bathrooms
    • square footage
    • garage/carport (attached, detached)
    • size of lot (wooded, cleared)
    • frontage (views, lake, street, etc)
    • location (near town, country club, remote, gravel or paved road, HOA, etc)
    • landscaping
    • other improvements (generator, a/c, etc.)

    You can use a Uniform Residential Appraisal Report to help you see how determine the value of your home.  However, unless you are familiar with these values and their differences it may be unwise to try to make such adjustments.

    Unfortunately, sentimental value carries no monetary value. This is where most homeowners have a hard time separating their feelings from the reality of what a home buyer is willing to pay.

    Tax Assessment – This IS NOT a good factor in determining the value of your home. For example, here in Macon and Jackson Counties of NC, property tax does not have to be re-assessed for every 8 years. Property values may rise or fall and current assessment can be quite different from the current market values. Macon County just raised their tax rate in 2015. Jackson County may also show an increase in millage rate coming soon.

    Real Estate Market Trends – You should know the current market trend. Is it rising, falling or holding steady.  This, too, will help you determine the current value of your home.

    Motivation – Why are you wanting to sell? How soon do you want your home sold? These are factors to determine as well.

    Selling Your Home

    Finding a good real estate agent
    Image courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    Your Real Estate Agent is the best source for helping you to determine the value of your home. Remember, they’re not your enemy. They want to sell your home for as much as possible. Their salary and profession depend upon that. However, an over priced home does no one any good. It sits on the market, becomes known as an overpriced home and other agents may not show it. It wouldn’t be fair to their potential buyers. So what do you do? Hire a Professional.

    A Real Estate Agent is here to help you. Their knowledge and activity in the Real Estate World is what helps you get your home sold. Yes, they do charge a fee for their services, but think of it this way; you can hire a professional painter to paint your house or you can get your neighbor to do it and maybe save some money. However, which would give you the better and/or desired results?

    Hire a real estate agent to help you determine the value of your home.

    Please share your comments below on how you determine the value of your home.


    Should I Hire An Appraiser?

    Why hire an appraiser?

    find Home Appraisers
    Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net

    If you are trying to sell your home yourself, one thing you want to do is make sure you have a fair price for your home. How is that determined?

    Contrary to popular belief, the tax assessed value of your home may not be anywhere near the current real estate market value. Market values and trends tend to fluctuate and have many variables. You also don’t want to price according to your neighbors house. Just because they may have something with a “price” on it does not mean it is a fair market price. Also, don’t assume that what a property was listed at is what it sold for. Currently, in our local market many sales may only get 78 – 85% of the listing price. Others may get less. And don’t just pull a number out of the air based on how you feel. You could be to high or worse, to low.

    You may want to hire an appraiser. An appraiser uses a lot of information and resources that are available to him to find “comps” (comparable properties) based on recent sales. He then compares a lot of data such as location, type of structure, age/depreciation, replacement costs and more. This may cost a few hundred dollars to get this work done, but it may tell you if you want to sell now or not. It will also ensure that you don’t sell to cheap, leaving money on the table.

    Another option is to list your property with a real estate agent. They can prepare you a CMA (Current Market Analysis) as a part of their service. While not an official appraisal a broker will use much of the same information and technique that an appraiser may use. True, many people trying to sell their home themselves do so because they don’t want to pay commissions, thinking they can save the money and put it in in their own pocket. However, pricing too low can cost you as well and if you don’t really know the market pricing to high will mean your time and advertising dollars could be wasted.

    What ever method you choose you need to make sure you are pricing correctly. It is always best to use someone that is familiar with current market values to make sure you get top dollar. Hattler Properties, located in Glenville, NC is a firm with several brokers that are eager to assist you in selling your home. If you would like to find the current market value of your home contact Rick or any of the agents at Hattler Properties.

    Do I Need a Real Estate Agent to Sell My Home?


    For Sale By Owner Tips
    How To Sell A Home

    The short answer is NO! You do not have to have a real estate agent to sell your home. You can go through the process without any representation. However, this could be likened to going to court without a lawyer. So before you decide to try a For Sale By Owner approach, you may want to consider what an agent does. True, you can do all of the work yourself, but if you have a busy life or lack the resources and marketing skills, you may come out ahead to consider using a real estate agent.


    What is My Home Worth$$$

    One of the first things to consider is the current value of your home. There are a few ways that many try to asses it’s value:

    1. Property Tax Value – Oddly enough, when we get our bill each year, most of us KNOW that our home is not worth its assessed value. Assessed is the county’s amount to generate tax revenue for the county budget.
    2. Neighboring Homes For Sale PriceThere is a difference between a “Listed” price and the actual “Selling” price. Just because a home is “Listed” for a certain amount does not mean that is what it sold for. And don’t expect your neighbor to be honest about the “sold” price. However, this is public record and you can get this from the tax records.
    3. I’ve Lived Here for XX Years – Known as “Sentimental Value” your emotions have no value in the market price of your home. Although your father may have built the house and 3 generations grew up there, this does not equate to “value” in the minds of buyers.
    4. My Friend Sold His House For… – While this may be true, where is his house? Is it in close proximity or in another area? Does it have a view? How many square feet is this house in relation to yours? Did his have a fireplace or lake view like yours? This and many other variables come in to play and adjustments have to be made. Without experience and current information and knowing how to make adjustments you could leave money on the table or be asking too much.
    5. I Paid $$$ For My House– What you paid for your house and what is its current value are two different matters. Housing markets are constantly changing. According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency a home purchased in the middle of 2008 for $450,000 was only worth about $430,000 by the end of 2013. Use this link for a FREE HOUSING PRICE CALCULATOR on your home.
    6. CMA (Comparative Market Analysis)– This is most often used by Real Estate Brokers. They look at all data available to them, including recent sales and amounts of similar properties. They often use programs to make adjustments according to size and other special features to arrive at a Current Market Value. Listing Prices and tax values are usually not considered as these could be inflated. This is not considered to be an appraisal, unless your agent is a licensed appraiser. However, the techniques used are very similar.
    7. Use of An Appraiser – You will need to hire and pay an appraiser to give you a value on your home. Although this is similar to a CMA, appraisers are licensed, trained individuals that use many of the same concepts as a CMA. However, appraisers will often use distressed and foreclosed properties. Real Estate agents usually elect not to use these as they will drive down the overall price of your home.

    While this is not a comprehensive list of all methods used to calculate value, you can begin to see that the process of pricing your home correctly for a sale is really an art. It also requires some experience to get a marketable price. Using your best guess could cost you in loss of revenue or pricing to high so as to discourage potential buyers. The process may also take a few days with much research. One needs to consider such time and resources when trying to sell their home without an agent.

    Using a real estate agent does not mean they will lower your price to make a sale. The truth is, agents are paid in commissions. They want to make as much as they possibly can. To do that your home must be priced fair and in a range that potential buyers are willing to pay. As a “Sellers” agent in NC, your agent must exercise skill, care and diligence to the “Sellers” best interest. If not, he could open himself to disciplinary action by the NC Real Estate Commission. If you feel your NC agent has not treated you properly you can file a complaint HERE.

    This is the first in a series on How to Sell Your Home With or Without an Agent. Return often to learn more on How To Sell Your Home.

    What’s the current real estate market in Glenville, Cashiers, Highlands, Lake Toxaway or Cullowhee, NC?      CLICK HERE.