Early Fall Expected (real estate, not the season)?

blue ridge fall leaves
Field in the morning during Fall season
There’s a Change in Climate

While we expect a chill in the air as fall approaches, we certainly don’t want to see the real estate market in Highlands and Cashiers area to drop off just yet. The leaf season is approaching and usually brings our winter buyers. Still, the month of August was not our hottest month in sales. We saw less in home sales than in 2016, but still a good number for August.


Recent Home Sales for Cashiers and Highlands

While August 2017 home sales were down a little from 2016, it was still the largest number of units sold for any month thus far in 2017. The 2017 yearly average of home sales is 47 units per month thus far. This should be compared with the 51 units per month for the 2016 average. So we’re a little off, but not bad. You may say we’re holding our own here. Still, if you’re trying to sell your home, this doesn’t offer much hope as we see the market as holding steady, as it pretty much has for the past few years. It’s a different market here than most areas.

Single Family Home Sales Statistics
Land Sales Statistics
Overall Market View

Home Sales and Weather

Now that Hurricane Irma has passed, will Florida and coastal residents begin considering the mountains a better option?  Who knows. What we do know is that we don’t have the threat of hurricanes and floods as do coastal cities and Gulf Coast states. Mind you, we do get some winds from such, which does cause some power outages, fallen tree’s, etc. But nothing on the scale of what we see from Hurricanes.

Snow, sure. But most people see pictures of snow on the mountains and watch movies of people being stranded in blizzards, etc. These are usually in the Rockies and upstate New York. This is not the kind of snows we receive in these mountains. According to Sperling’s Best Places we average less than 9″ of snow per year. We’ve had 64 measurable snows in the last 12 years (source weather underground), so that’s just over 5 snows per season. That averages less than  2 inches per snow, which is about right.

This is a great area to live in. So tell your friends! Let them know that now is a great time to buy before everyone wants to get away from the hurricanes!

August 2017 Statistics for the HCBOR:


Total homes listed in Highlands/Cashiers MLS: 1231

Homes Sold This Month: 79 – While this up from July, the average for the year is down a little.

Average Unit Sales per Month/1 Year Average: 55

YOY Inventory: 22 months – This is still a very large inventory.

Average DOM: 265 – This has been steadily falling. However, the local MLS made a recent change which may be having its affect on this number. Since there is no great increase in the number of units sold, this is most likely the result of that change.

Average DOM (YOY): 403 – This is a more accurate number that helps us to see the DOM is relatively unchanged as the YOY DOM average for July was 408.

Median Sales Price: $250,000 . This is quite a drop from the previous months of being in the $300,000’s.  Basically it tells us where the middle of our market lies. In other words, homes around the median price may be more likely to sell. This is the “middle” of our market (do not confuse this with average sell price).

Average List/Sell Ratio: 94.24% – This number is rising and is a great sign! It shows that sold homes are still overpriced, but not as much as they once were. Sellers are averaging about 94% of their asking price. It still shows that Sellers are having to come down on their pricing, overall. A good indicator if you are overprice is if you are having few home showings. Buyers will only look at a home if they feel it is priced well. They don’t like to bargain that much in fear they may upset the homeowner. Price it right to sell and you greatly improve your opportunities.

Synopsis: The fact that the market is still having the same number of homes sold as to comparison years show the market to be stable. The increase in the List/Sell Ratio shows that homeowners are finally seeing the need to lower prices to match the market. Your home can be sold, but you must price it right to be a contender.



Land Units Sold: 48. This is a HUGE increase in land sales. However, it’s interesting to note that 23 of those unit sales was to one company as they purchased multiple lots in a single development.

Total listed in all MLS: 1100

Inventory: 23 months. This is not an accurate reflection of the inventory as the sales we skewed by the large purchase of several units by one developer.

Synopsis: It’s best to get accurate, long term numbers to see what the market is really doing. Keep in mind that this months land sales are high because of one large purchase of multiple units.  Land sales are still very poor in this area.


Overall Market View:

  • 41% of home sales ranged from $200,000 to $499,999.
  • 20% of home sales ranged from $500,000 – $749,999.
  • 6% of home sales ranged from $750,000 – $1,000,000.
  • 10% of sales were above $1,000,000 (129% increase!).

Selling Your Home? As winter approaches, some brokers will take homes off the market for the winter months to reduce DOM. However, many Buyers will take a look around during leaf season and consider having a home in the mountains. They may wait till after the holidays to make a purchase, but have a broker sending them listings in the mean time. So if you’re not listed, brokers don’t send your property out. The advantage to listing during the winter months is less competition. You may actually have a better chance of selling during this time.

BUYERS: The recent weather from Irma has many reconsidering their choices of places to live. Many end up in this area, known as “half backs.” That is, they moved from up north to down south, then come halfway back. Don’t wait until the rush comes in. This will reduce inventory and could start to drive prices back up like they were before.

SELLERS: While we must have a “wait and see” attitude to some degree, don’t give up on selling your home. There are some positive signs. However, we don’t want to “jump the gun” either. To think we can raise the price in anticipation of what “may” happen may prove detrimental to our efforts

Where is Property Selling and How Do I Sell My Home?

Location is everything and can’t be stressed enough. We seen in last months report the maps showing the majority of homes being sold near town. Yes, there will be those that will buy further out, but they are fewer in number. As a result, your success is limited as you buyer pool is limited. If your home is further out form town here are a few things you can do to entice buyers.

  1. Make sure your home is in the best possible condition it can be in. Loose gutters, missing trim, peeling paint all detract from home buyers as they feel the home needs work.
  2. Keep home clear of “clutter.” To many pictures, nick-naks, kitchen counters full of appliances or paperwork, stuffed animals everywhere, etc, all detract. They make the space seem smaller.
  3. Yard maintenance. Be sure all limbs and debris are picked up, shrubs and grass trimmed, not a lot of tools and equipment stored outside or in the yard.
  4. Lights. Be sure ALL lights are working properly and replace burned out bulbs.

In short, you want you home to show its absolute best. Don’t assume buyers will just look over things. They don’t. Anything that looks out of place, old, worn out, etc, are all indications that you may have let other things go as well. While everyone sells, “as is,” buyers of vacation homes don’t want to take on a project.


CONCLUSION: The market is moving, albeit a snails pace at times. Still, we see progress. This area has typically been slow. Although it did have a good run for about 25 years, the collapse in the housing market has had a huge affect here. We will do well, but it may take a little more patience.

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

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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.

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