If you’re interested in purchasing a second home in the western North Carolina mountains, you’ll find plenty of bargains, says Terry Tincher, managing broker at Asheville Premier Sotheby’s. Just as Florida real estate was pummeled by the Great Recession, so was western North Carolina’s, and it’s taking longer than Sarasota to come back.
“Florida is our biggest feeder market, and the recession hit the second-home market here extremely hard,” says Tincher, who’s been selling real estate in North Carolina for 15 years. “We stayed down longer than most other markets, but the [recent] pick-up in Florida has helped us and property values are starting to increase.”
Tincher says those values range from a 4,500-square-foot home in an exclusive golf course community priced at “a million or so,” to “a great mountain home in Hendersonville for $200,000 to $400,000.” The driving point, “without a doubt,” is a mountain view, he says. “The better the view, the more money you’re going to spend.”
Farther south, realtor Beth Townsend concurs. Townsend, a Sarasota native who has been selling real estate for McKee Properties in and around Cashiers for 23 years, says 2005-2006 was the top of the market there. “2015 was an improvement with the quantity of sales and dollar volume but the average price is still lower than even in 2008-2010,” she says. “Bottom line: We had a price adjustment like everyone else did. We have not recovered yet, but still, sales are strong.” Her average buyer, she says, is 50 years old; sellers typically are in their late 70s.
And what are they getting for their money? Townsend offers a snapshot (prices may vary a bit in other North Carolina destinations).
$250,000: A small 1,800- to 2,000-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath cottage on a half-acre lot in Sapphire Valley; or a one- to two-acre lot with a nice view in a gated neighborhood close to town.
$500,000: A 3,000-square-foot home with a great view built in 1990 on two to five acres; or 15 to 30 acres of raw land within 10 miles of the center of town.
<<$1 million: A 4,300-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath home in a high-elevation gated neighborhood with a great view; or a 1980s home on 10 acres with a three-acre private lake and treehouse; or 60 acres in a private hiking community with rolling meadows, waterfalls and underground power.
$3 million-plus: A 6,000-square-foot designer showhouse home built in 2010 at Wade Hampton Golf Club; or 200 pristine acres five miles to the center of town with surface water and adjoining conservation easement.