Leaves Are Changing. How about Real Estate?

Fall Colors Peak
Will Real Estate Fall Like the Leaves?

The leaves are just beginning to show their true colors. But as the leaves change, what can we expect for the rest of the real estate season for Highlands and Cashiers area? There will be a change, but the change appears to be normal. Sound like an oxymoron?


Recent Home Sales for Cashiers and Highlands

September 2017 saw a good number of home sales, overall. Still, it appeared to be typical for this time of year in the Highlands and Cashiers area. One of the important things in real estate is to understand the market.

Single Family Home Sales Statistics
Land Sales Statistics
Overall Market View

Home Sales and What the Numbers Really Mean

The total number of “units” moved the past September was the lowest in 2 years. However, that spread is only 10 homes lower than the highest number in 2015. So was it really that bad?

Consider: The reduction in “unit” sales was just over 11% from 2 years previously. But, is that bad? Do we really expect to sell the same number of homes each year? With an average of over 1000 homes in inventory, that’s actually less than a 1% variable. One could say we’re staying on tract, somewhat.

So depending on how one looks at the numbers and what numbers they are using, they could actually use such to exaggerate a situation that actually shows itself to be somewhat normal. So what can we expect for the future?

Stability Adds Strength

When you were a kid, did you ever bend a wire back and forth until it broke in two? Either that or it got so hot in your hands you couldn’t hold onto it! The real estate market is much the same. When it’s all over the place it can lose its integrity. You never know what’s going to happen. However, in our market climate there is stability. You pretty much know what things are worth due to a consistent market. Those that purchased properties from 2006-2008 have seen the results of fast market growth and experienced its instability. Some were able to capitalize in that market, while others are still suffering.

The past few years in Highlands/Cashiers area have been somewhat predictable, as the following chart shows:

2017 Home Sales Highlands Cashiers Glenville
Home Sales Steady

We see that the number for units of home sales for the last 4 years  range about the same. These numbers rise considerably through the summer months. In fact, they more than double the number of sales in January. Then the cycle repeats itself. There is another factor to consider in these numbers.

Home sales typically take about 4 plus weeks from contract to closing. As a result, the graph may reflect a delay of about 1-2 months. What does this mean for the Seller?

We start to notice a rise in home sales about March and April. This means that those sales most likely started in January and February. This holds true to what this broker has seen through the years. People will start to back off from looking near the holidays at the end of the year, then resume their search and purchases shortly thereafter. For the Seller, this means if your house is not on the market early on you could be missing an opportunity to get your home sold. Why is this the case?

Any where from 200 – 300 homes may be off the market during the winter months. This is good news for those that are on the market, since they will have less competition. During the summer, many of these homes that were off the market will come back onto the market. Sellers will then have more to compete against.  So, what homes are selling, where?

Best Places to Sell a Home

Buyers can be very particular. This is especially so with those buying a second  or vacation home. This is the majority of this market share.  Since this is a relatively small community anyway, the majority of buyers are seeking easy access to town, paved streets and any amenities that might be available. Homes outside of these parameters still sell, but not nearly as many, as this next photo shows:

Homes sold in Cashiers and Highlands
Area Home Sales for September 2017


Look closely. Can you identify the clusters? Most are near town, near a club and around Sapphire where there are amenities. True, there are homes in outlying areas. In comparison, they are very few.  As you will notice, people do buy out further, but most do not. Where is your home?

If you have a home in an outlying area, you can price it the same as those near town. However, it is clear that you are less likely to have success. How do you compete?

Price. A seller must be priced to attract a buyer to outlying areas. For example, lets say you have a $300,000 home that takes 20 minutes plus to get to town. You live on a gravel road. It’s very quiet where you live. Now let’s say there’s another $300,000 home with paved streets, nice amenities for family and friends when they visit and it’s only 5-10 minutes to town.  Both homes are identical, but remember, this is a second or vacation home. Now which one do you think will win out?

Pricing is everything. If your home is on the market and you’re getting little to no action, what do you think is the problem? Many like to blame their broker. They then go find another broker. Usually, the first thing the next broker will tell them, “You’ll need to adjust your price.”


Price it right to sell. The Average Days On Market in this area is around 400. That is high compared with many markets, but typical in this area. This brokers ADOM is less than 200. However, this is due to the fact that my clients listen to suggestions and act accordingly. Pricing high and expecting to come down is a poor strategy. Price right and sell it. Price high and expect to hold onto it.

Buyers determine the market price, not sellers. Brokers help you to see what buyers are willing to pay. Having accurate data is huge in helping Sellers. Remember, the goal is to sell your home, not just put it on the market.

September 2017 Statistics for the HCBOR:


Total homes listed in Highlands/Cashiers MLS: 1195

Homes Sold This Month: 75

Average Unit Sales per Month/1 Year Average: 54

YOY Inventory: 22 months – Unchanged. Very high inventory.

Average DOM: 335

Average DOM (YOY): 400 – This number proves more useful to determine the DOM is relatively unchanged.

Median Sales Price: $425,000 . This is the highest median in about 2 years. This is largely due to the fact that the majority of homes sold in September were closer to this price. This could be great news for this market, showing more buyers are considering some of the higher priced homes in the area.

Average List/Sell Ratio: 93.36% – Evidence that homes are still over priced. Buyers just aren’t willing to pay the List price on homes. This makes buyers very picky about any home they choose. Brokers do well to encourage their Sellers to price closer to market value to encourage the sell of property. Also, if priced correctly, you will have to negotiate very little if any.

Synopsis: The market for this area appears stable overall. There is no increase. As such, pricing should be what the market will bear and not based upon aspirations.



Land Units Sold: 12. There is no demand for land in this market.

Total listed in all MLS: 1105

Inventory: 92 months. Over 7 years worth of inventory. The land market is glutted and should keep prices down for some time into the future.

Synopsis: Don’t expect to sell land. Very few parcels are selling. Pricing and usability of land are paramount


Overall Market View:

  • 21% of home sales ranged from $200,000 to $499,999.
  • 33% of home sales ranged from $500,000 – $749,999.
  • 12% of home sales ranged from $750,000 – $1,000,000.
  • 5% of sales were above $1,000,000.

BUYERS: This is still an optimum time to consider the purchase of a home in Highlands/Cashiers area. There is room to bargain and there are still some great deals available. Make sure your broker is here to help you get the best deal.

SELLERS: While the market is showing itself to be somewhat stable, home sales are continuing. Talk with your broker about the best strategy to get your home sold. Let them help you see what the market is doing. Ask for supporting evidence. Brokers that tell you how they “feel” about the market may not be the brokers you want. Your broker should have the facts and figures to show you exactly what the market is doing. Ask them to share these with you.


CONCLUSION: Real estate in Highlands and Cashiers is selling. The market appears to be somewhat stable. As a result, one should not expect to capitalize on any gains. However, buyers should be able to purchase with confidence.

Selling Homes in Highlands, Cashiers, Glenville and Sapphire Area, as well as Franklin and Sylva.

[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Phone’ type=’text’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]



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.



By Rick

Real Estate Broker for Franklin, Highlands, Cashiers, Glenville, Sapphire and surrounding areas of NC. JW, Pioneer.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *