2020 home sales in western North Carolina outperform 2019

January 22, 2021

Contact: Kim Walker, 704-940-3149

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – As cold weather settled into the mountains of western North Carolina, the region’s housing sales continued their hot streak and ended 2020 with sales up 13.0 percent over sales in 2019 with 12,687 properties sold across the 13-county Asheville region, according to data from Canopy MLS. Home sales in December 2020 rose 27.7 percent year-over-year as 1,244 properties were sold compared to December 2019. Completed transactions include single-family and condo/townhomes only.

Year-end housing figures show buyer demand will continue to be strong in 2021 as evidenced by the 13,321 pending contracts written in 2020, representing a 16.4 percent increase over contract activity in 2019. December’s pending contract activity showed the region has an abundance of buyers, as contracts rose 42.3 percent year-over-year with 939 properties going under contract, ensuring steady sales over the next 45-60 days. Seller confidence is also growing, as displayed by the 26.9 percent year-over-year increase in new listings in December 2020 with 751 newly listed properties. Year-end figures, however, showed new listings down for the year by 7.3 percent compared to new listings for all of 2019.

Dave Noyes, a Canopy MLS Board of Directors member and Broker-in-Charge with RE/MAX Results, said, “Even though the pandemic presented challenges during what should have been the spring selling season last year, agents were able to transition quickly to showing homes safely using virtual tours and showings, while also managing to outperform 2019’s sales activity. And though slowdowns due to additional lockdowns and job losses could disrupt us briefly in first quarter 2021, we anticipate sales will continue to be steady this year, even as challenges persist with inventory.”

Buyers will continue to face headwinds, as year-end 2020 figures show price increases continuing, with the median sales price ($293,000) and the average sales price ($353,372) increasing 12.7 percent and 15.0 percent, respectively, over prices in 2019.  Conditions are optimal for sellers who are looking to list homes, as inventory fell 53.8 percent year-over-year in December to just under two months of supply (1.8 months). This should continue to keep prices elevated this year.

The original list price to sales price ratio of 95.1 percent in 2020 showed sellers across the 13-county region were getting nearly all of their asking prices. Days on market until sale in 2020 averaged 69 days compared to 75 days in 2019, another positive sign for sellers.

The Asheville region includes Burke, Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania and Yancey counties.

Asheville MSA

The Asheville metro area, or MSA, also ended the year on an up-note, with December 2020 sales registering a 29.8 percent year-over-year increase with 844 homes sold.  Year-end figures show the MSA’s sales for all of 2020 increased 9.5 percent compared to 2019 as 8,480 homes were sold last year. Pending contracts, which rose 34.3 percent year-over-year in December 2020, show buyer demand will continue to be strong this year as 618 properties entered the pipeline of sales during the month. At year-end, pending contract activity, which totaled 8,859 in 2020, was up 12.9 percent over contract activity in 2019.

New listings rose 18.8 percent year-over-year across the MSA during the month as sellers brought 467 homes on market. However, year-end figures show new listings, which totaled 9,607 in 2020, were down 7.1 percent compared to 2019, likely due to the disruption of the spring selling season last year. The median sales price ($315,000) and the average sales price ($376,305) for 2020 rose 11.5 percent and 13.0 percent, respectively, compared to 2019. Inventory, which fell 51.4 percent year-over-year leaving 1.7 months of supply, will continue to be challenged in 2021. Overall, homes will continue to sell quickly, as year-end figures show days on market this past year averaged 59 days compared to 67 days in 2019.

Noyes added, “As the economic core of the region, the Asheville metro area will continue to be attractive to buyers, especially given the low mortgage rates we’re seeing. This will also continue to threaten affordability as inventory trends lower. However, sellers in this market get optimal exposure and have the added benefits of selling the home quickly and receiving nearly all of asking price, which makes this an ideal time to sell.”

Buncombe County

Home sales were strong overall in Buncombe County in December 2020 as well as for the year. For all of 2020 homes sales were up 6.9 percent compared to 2019, with 4,580 homes sold. Pending contracts, or pending sales, ended the year 12.1 percent ahead of 2019 as 4,829 properties went under contract during 2020. New listing activity in 2020 was down 5.2 percent compared to 2019, which means buyers will continue to face inventory headwinds in 2021. The median sales price, which is the best measure of price over time, was 10.4 percent higher in 2020 than 2019 and ended the year at $339,000. Inventory at report time was down 47.5 percent year-over-year with a little less than two months of supply (1.7 months of supply) available for sale. The original list price to sales price ratio for the year was 96.0 percent, showing sellers received close to their asking prices in 2020. Days on market averaged 54 days in 2020 compared to 65 days in 2019. The dynamics of low supply and high demand will continue in 2021.

Haywood County

December 2020 homes sales in Haywood were strong and rose 33.0 percent year-over-year as 121 homes were sold during the month, while 98 homes went under contract in December, an increase of 60.7 percent when compared to December 2019 contract activity. New listings also increased in December, rising 29.1 percent year-over-year as sellers brought 71 homes to market during the holidays. Overall 2020 home sales in Haywood County at year-end were also positive, ending the year with 2020 sales up 14.7 percent compared to 2019 as 1,319 homes were sold versus 1,150 sold in 2019. Pending contract activity in 2020 was also positive and rose 16.4 percent over contract activity in 2019 as 1,378 contracts were written over the course of last year. 2020 new listings, however, were down 6.2 percent when compared to 2019 with sellers listing 1,427 properties for sale. With inventory down 54.4 percent year-over-year to 1.8 months of supply, the median sales price of $259,950 registered a 13.0 percent increase over the 2019 median sales price. This dynamic of low inventory amidst high demand will continue to pressure prices in 2021. Overall, homes sold quickly in 2020, averaging 75 days on market until sale compared to 78 days on market in 2019.

Henderson County

In December 2020 buyers purchased 217 homes, representing a 22.6 percent increase over homes sold in December 2019. Pending sales in December 2020 were also positive and rose 9.9 percent over December 2019 with 144 homes entering the pipeline of sales during the month. New listings during the month were down 11.5 percent compared to new listing activity in December 2019.

Henderson County’s home sales in 2020 rose 10.8 percent over 2019, with 2,313 homes sold during 2020. Pending sales were also positive at year-end and rose 10.0 percent over contract activity in 2019. New listing activity for 2020 was weak and down 10.1 percent when compared to 2019. However, Henderson County has enjoyed high demand from buyers over the course of 2020, which has yielded steady sales throughout the year and should continue in 2021. The inventory situation in the county is constrained and fell 51.9 percent year-over-year to 1.5 months of supply at report time in December. Prices are pressured, with the median sales price at year-end 2020 topping $309,900, an increase of 12.7 percent over 2019’s median sales price. Homes were not on market long this past year, with days on market averaging 53 days in 2020 compared to 62 days in 2019.

Madison County

Home sales at year-end rose 22.4 percent with 268 transactions in 2020 compared to 219 in 2019. Pending sales counts for 2020, which indicate buyer demand and future sales, rose 35.8 percent over pending sales activity in 2019.  However, 2020 new listing activity was down 16.8 percent compared to new listing activity in 2019 as sellers brought only 308 homes to market this past year. Inventory is extremely low, falling 69.1 percent year-over-year in December to 2.2 months of supply. This dynamic of low supply and high demand will mean prices will be pressured in 2021. The 2020 median sales price of $291,000, the best measure of price over time, was 15.0 percent higher than the 2019 median sales price. Days on market until sale averaged 119 days last year.

Other counties around the region

Burke County’s closed sales, pending contracts and new listing activity were all positive in December 2020, which caused year-end figures to be roughly on par with overall sales activity in 2019. Year-end figures show 2020 sales activity unchanged compared to 2019, with 807 properties sold and 826 properties under contract over the course of 2020. December 2020 shows 61 properties still under contract, and thus sales should be steady over the next 45-60 days. Inventory in December 2020 declined to more than half of December 2019, leaving 99 homes for sale at report time or 1.4 months of supply. The median sales price in 2020 was $180,000, a 12.5 percent increase over the 2019 median sales price. Sellers are getting closer to full asking price in Burke as shown by the original list price to sales price ratio of 95.9 percent in 2020. Homes sold quickly last year, with days on market averaging 45 days versus 59 days in 2019.

Jackson County ended 2020 with 302 closed sales, representing an increase of 26.4 percent over 2019 sales, while pending sales showed 336 contracts written over the course of the year. Sellers brought 351 new listings to market in 2020, which is down 17.0 percent when compared to new listing activity in 2019. Total inventory at report time in December 2020 showed 77 homes on market or 2.8 months of supply. Though year-over-year price changes skewed large last month, they do not reflect the true market, which by year-end showed the 2020 median sales price had risen 18.6 percent over the 2019 median sales price to $266,750. Days on market for all of 2020 averaged 131 days compared to 137 days in 2019.  

McDowell County’s home sales rose 25.4 percent with 439 properties sold in 2020 compared to 350 sold in 2019. Pending contracts this past year were also strong, as 465 properties went under contract in 2020, an increase of 24.3 percent compared to 2019. New listings ended the year down 9.8 percent with 513 properties listed during 2020 compared with 569 listed in 2019. Prices saw double-digit increases over 2020 as demand caused inventory to shrink 53.1 percent, leaving 2.1 months of supply of homes for sale at report time. The median sales price for 2020 ($207,000) rose 20.3 percent over 2019’s median sales price of $172,000. Overall, properties were on the market an average of 74 days in 2020. However, sales were brisk in December, averaging 42 days as buyers rushed to close during the holidays.

Mitchell County’s small number of homes for sale yields large percent changes across its indicators, even at year-end. A total of 198 homes were sold in 2020, a 42.4 percent increase over homes sold in 2019. Pending contracts showed 220 homes went under contract in 2020, an increase of 57.1 percent over homes under contract in 2019. Surprisingly, new listings for 2020 remained positive and increased 3.1 percent over 2019 activity as 231 homes were brought to market last year. The 2020 median sales price was $215,750, an increase of 37.4 percent over the 2019 median sales price of $157,000.  Inventory is low and down 53.6 percent with 58 homes for sale during the month of December. This represents 3.2 months of supply of homes for sale. Homes averaged 133 days on market in 2020 compared to 152 in 2019.

Polk County‘s small number of homes for sale yields large percentage changes across its monthly indicators. Closed sales for all of 2020 totaled 420, an increase of 21.0 percent over 2019, while pending contracts were also at a healthy level as 436 homes were under contract in 2020, a 25.3 percent increase over 2019 contract activity. New listings remained challenged at year-end, declining 13.9 percent with only 452 homes brought to market in 2020. Inventory is down 60.8 percent year-over-year with 73 homes for sale or 2.0 months of supply at report time. At year-end the 2020 median sales price registered $297,500, an increase of 10.2 percent over 2019. Homes were on market in 2020 an average of 89 days compared to 111 days in 2019.

Rutherford County home sales at year-end showed 900 homes closed in 2020, representing a 27.8 percent increase over home sales in 2019. There were 943 pending contracts in 2020, representing a 28.3 percent increase in contract activity over 2019, while new listing activity was down 3.1 percent for the year with sellers listing 961 properties for sale versus 992 listed in 2019. The median sales price for 2020 rose 20.0 percent over the 2019 median price to $217,000, and inventory fell 62.9 percent in December 2020 to 1.5 months of supply. Days on market in 2020 averaged 84 days versus 88 days in 2019.

Swain County has such a small number of homes for sale and overall sales activity that the indicators show large percentage increases across all indicators. The county recorded a total of 66 closed sales last year, which is 42 more sales than in 2019, and 75 pending sales in 2020, which was 48 more pending sales than in 2019. New listings also came in higher than in 2019 with a total of 89 homes listed versus 65 listed in 2019. With so few homes sold throughout the year, Swain County had large swings in price based on what sold. The median sales price for 2020 was $242,250, which is an increase of 57.3 percent over the 2019 median sales price. Inventory was low in December 2020 with only 19 homes for sale or 2.8 months of supply. Days on market in 2020 averaged 98 days versus 153 days in 2019.

Transylvania County had positive sales activity across all key indices in 2020. Year-end figures show 2020 closed sales rose 17.2 percent over 2019 with 744 homes sold last year compared to 635 sold in 2019. There were 810 pending sales in 2020, an increase of 30.2 percent over pending sales activity in 2019, while new listings ended the year with a 0.9 percent increase over 2019 with 859 total properties listed in 2020. Inventory fell 60.6 percent in December 2020 to 1.9 months of supply, and the median sales price for 2020 rose 17.9 percent to $330,000. Days on market in 2020 averaged 94 days versus 102 days in 2019.

Yancey County ended the year with 331 closed sales in 2020, an increase of 35.1 percent over closings in 2019, while pending sales totaled 351 last year, an increase of 37.1 percent over 2019 pending sales activity. New listings, however, showed a 17.9 percent decline when compared to 2019 with just 352 properties brought to market in 2020 versus 429 in 2019. Prices were pressured by inventory over most of the year, which brought the 2020 median sales price to $240,000, an increase of 11.9 percent over 2019. Inventory fell 49.2 percent in December 2020, leaving 4.5 months of supply of homes for sale. Days on market until sale in 2020 were nearly unchanged compared to 2019, averaging 158 days versus 157 days last year.

For more residential-housing market statistics, visit www.CarolinaHome.com and click on “Market Data.”  For an interview with an Asheville-area Realtor®/broker, please contact Kim Walker.


Canopy MLS is a wholly-owned subsidiary corporation of Canopy Realtor® Association and is the private broker cooperative used by Realtors® to bring buyers and sellers together with access to thousands of residential listings in a multicounty service area, including Charlotte, the mountains area of North Carolina, South Carolina, and beyond.  Canopy MLS, which nearly 20,000 Subscribers, provides the most trustworthy, timely, accurate and complete property data along with proprietary tools for showings, market stats, predictive analytics, and more, used by its members to support consumers in their residential real estate transactions, whether selling, buying, investing or renting.

Original Publish Date: 1/22/2021