In the Asheville real estate market, spring and summer are known as prime selling season for homes. But winter should not be overlooked. For sellers, winter offers a unique opportunity to sell your home while competition is low and there is still a strong number of buyers in the market.
Here are the top 4 reasons to sell your home this winter, as well as some tips on how to get it ready to sell so it will close before the summer. First, let’s look at the reasons why selling your home in the winter offers several advantages over waiting for the prime selling season.
Inventory is at the Lowest Level of the Year for Selling a Home in Winter
In Western North Carolina, inventory for selling a home hits its annual low point in the winter during January or February. This happens for 2 reasons. The most obvious reason is that many homes that went under contract in the fall typically close prior to Christmas. Most buyers and sellers would rather not deal with real estate closings around Christmas, so they structure their contracts to close before then.
Another reason for low inventory is the large number of listings that are withdrawn from the market. These homes didn’t sell in the summer or fall, so their owners take them off the market during the winter. They usually put them back on the market in the spring, and this contributes to the influx of new spring listing competition.
While low inventory for selling a home is the norm for wintertime, February 2020 represents near-record low inventory levels. As of today, Asheville has 459 homes (including condos and townhomes) for sale. That’s the lowest level for Asheville since June 2007! Buncombe County as a whole has 996 homes for sale, which is the lowest figure since September 2008! Simply put, buyers have very few choices.
There is Pent-up Demand from Buyers
The Asheville real estate market mirrors the tourism season in many ways. The tourism season was once very busy in the summer and fall, but very slow in the winter. That’s no longer the case, as Asheville’s booming restaurant and brewery industries attract visitors year-round. And many visitors have learned that even in the winter, the weather is frequently mild enough to enjoy a hike or a mountain bike ride.
Add in seasonal attractions like the Biltmore Estate’s “Christmas at Biltmore,” the NC Arboretum’s “Winter Lights,” and other winter activities, and you quickly realize there are just as many reasons to visit Asheville as any other time of year.
With increased tourism in the winter comes additional demand for real estate. There are also a lot of buyers who were house shopping in the fall that did not find a suitable property. These buyers are typically pre-qualified, and perhaps even a little frustrated. They probably even missed out on a house or two or were outbid in a multiple offer situation. Having been educated on the market, they are now ready to move quickly when a new listing comes on the market.
We can see that buyer activity remains strong by looking at how many showings are taking place. In January, each Asheville listing received an average of 7 showings per listing, which is the highest since April 2017. And by almost any standard, April would typically be considered a much busier time of year than January. Countywide, listings received 6.5 showings on average, which was the highest number since March 2016. When we see January numbers that rival spring months is previous years, it indicates buyers are very active in the market.
Prices are at Record Highs
Most certainly, the best reason to list your home now is to take advantage of record high home prices. As you can see below, the average home price in Asheville reached a new high of $386,000 in January. The average home price in Buncombe was $372,000.
Your Home Should Sell Quickly
Another great reason to sell now is the relatively short time it is taking for homes to sell. The average home in Asheville or Buncombe County is on the market just over 2 months (meaning it goes under contract at that time).
How to Prepare your Home to Sell this Winter
Just like any other time of year, it’s a good idea to prepare your home for the market. Be sure to take care of deferred maintenance and finish up any outstanding projects or repairs.
It’s also good to improve your home’s curb appeal. Of course, you can’t plant new flowers in the dead of winter, but you can trim back overgrown shrubs, put out fresh mulch, and touch up paint. Many times, these steps can help further set your home apart from other homes on the market. And when buyers have very few options, this can mean a stronger offer price.
And as always, be sure to price your home correctly. While competition may be low, this doesn’t mean buyers will overpay. They’d rather wait for more listings in the spring and summer than pay too much for a house. However, a correctly priced home in the winter could mean less negotiation off of the list price, since buyers have relatively few other homes to choose from.
Thinking of Selling? We can Help.
If you’re curious about what the strong market means for your house, let us help. We’d be honored to answer your questions and help you decide if now is the time to sell your home.