The Asheville/Buncombe County real estate market is going very strong right now, but only in certain sectors of the market. If you believe newspaper reports, the apartment vacancy rate in Asheville is an incredible 1%. Primary residences priced under $300,000 are in strong demand, often commanding multiple offers and there are actually a few new small subdivisions popping up. Haven’t seen actual residential land development in a very long time. So what does this mean for Creston?
Like nearly all master planned gated communities of its type, Creston is largely a second home community although we have a much higher percentage of year round residents than most such developments. The second home market, especially for vacant lots is still very soft. The development boom from 2003 to 2007 put thousands of lots on the market, only to have their developers fail in 2008. Dozens upon dozens of developments were mothballed and went dormant as their lenders struggled to work through them. In the past two years, one day or weekend “event sales” have been used to sell off these lots and today, that inventory has nearly been absorbed. That’s a good thing. But at the same time, it put downward pressure on valuations as these lots often sold for 25 cents on the dollar.
The good news for Creston is that Creston is getting along much better than most of its competitors. It was built without any debt and was able to weather the storm. All infrastructure and amenities are in place. There are several houses under construction with more in the pipeline in addition to the 38 that are already built. The community is being well maintained and the POA operates on a balanced budget with professional oversight from IPM, Inc. Our proximity to Black Mountain is a tremendous plus.
A survey of the Multiple Listing Service of the Asheville Board of Realtors for eight area competitors revealed that Creston has had more lot closings than these others in 2015. To date, Creston has seen three lots sales closed in 2015 versus one in 2014. The Boulders outside Hendersonville has reported two closings. All others have had one or none in 2015. Its still slow going, but the fact that two lot sales closed just this past Friday is a good sign. Property values remain well below their peak of several years ago but they seem to be stabilizing.
Since November we’ve made numerous changes to the Creston development website, blog page, Facebook page and YouTube Channel to include aerial videos of the community and various properties for sale. We have some additional print media going out through the Black Mountain Visitors Guide and Black Mountain News which will soon be printed. Additional outreach to area real estate firms has been an ongoing endeavor which is paying dividends. All of this marketing effort helps every property owner in Creston, not just those who have properties listed for sale or just those listed through our on-site office. Our conversions of tours to contracts is a tremendous 23.53% since November 2014. That means nearly one out of four parties who tour go to contract. Not all reach the closing table, but most on-site sales offices would be thrilled to close 10%.
The bottom line is that when folks tour Creston, they tend to love the community. Therefore, we should all be ambassadors for Creston, speaking well of our community to our friends and others we bump into. They simply need to come see us. We welcome all real estate agents and their clients to tour our special mountain with us. We have a great story to tell, so lets spread the news!