Archive for the 'Economy' Category

Asheville fares well in mortgage analysis

How do Asheville’s real estate problems compare to other markets?

Not too bad, according to a mortgage analysis by CoreLogic, a leading provider of real estate reporting and analytics (www.corelogic.com).

CoreLogic released a report for 164 metro areas that shows Asheville ranking better than 90% of the rest of the country in “negative equity share.” That means Asheville is far better off than the rest of the country when it comes to home owners who are “underwater” or “upside down” in their mortgages — borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.

“… 11 million, or 23 percent, of all residential properties with mortgages were in negative equity at the end of the second quarter …  2.4 million borrowers had less than five percent equity. Together, negative equity and near-negative equity mortgages accounted for nearly 28 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage nationwide.”
via CoreLogic Negative Equity Report Q2 2010 (PDF)

The most recent data was better than the first quarter of 2010, but CoreLogic said the reason was because of foreclosures rather than stabilizing or improving housing prices. And where foreclosures are high, housing prices fall.

Las Vegas topped the list of metro areas with the highest negative equity report, with 72.8% of its  homeowners in negative equity. Comparatively, Asheville has only 6.6% in negative equity — 13th lowest in the country. That bodes well for home values here.

The worst states for underwater homes are California, Nevada, Florida and Arizona. But many experts expect housing prices to continue falling through the rest of the year.

“Negative equity continues to both drive foreclosures and impede the housing market recovery. With nearly 5 million borrowers currently in severe negative equity, defaults will remain at a high level for an extended period of time,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist with CoreLogic.

Rumors of our death are greatly exaggerated…

No, Iwanna isn’t going out of business.

That’s the short answer to an awful lot of questions being tossed our way after WLOS-TV Channel 13 broadcast a news item this week about the impending closure of the Iwanna press facility. For some reason, people equate the Iwanna printing plant with the published Iwanna newspaper products.

They’re not the same.

Our plant at 991 Sweeten Creek in Asheville has printed newspaper-like products for many years — including the weekly Iwannas in Asheville, Greenville, Hickory and Spartanburg. But we’ve also printed Iwanna specialty publications — including the growing and popular Sophie Magazine for women — at other locations. Lately, we’ve been test printing some regular issues of the Iwanna at other locations as well.

The Iwanna press facility is aging, and in many cases, it no longer meets the needs of customers who want a lot of color and more sophisticated print quality.
So, we’ve decided to consolidate the printing of our Iwannas and associated publications at the modern press facility of Fayetteville Publishing, our corporate parent in Fayetteville, N.C. It prints color-intensive products like USA Today.

Tragically, that means the end of 12 full-time and 12 part-time jobs at the Asheville Iwanna printing plant. The press facility will close at the end of August, and the employees working there will get severance packages depending on their length of service at Iwanna. Job assistance is being offered to some of the skilled press operators.

But as far as the Iwanna newspapers: You’ll still be able to find them, as always, at your local newstand or convenience store.

And soon, you’ll see a new cutting-edge website at Iwanna.com. But more on that later.

House auction to help benefit hospital pediatric unit

Some of the proceeds from the auction of a house in Candler will benefit the pediatric unit at Mission Hospital.

The seller has had a fruitful recovery and is offering $5000 of net proceeds at closing, to be donated in the name of the purchaser should they desire, to the Mission Hospital pediatric oncology unit in recognition of their caring and professional dedication to the needs of patients and the families of patients. This significant gesture affords the buyer a tax writeoff for the year 2010 in addition to their closing costs.

via ABSOLUTE AUCTION: 2 Family Home w/2-Car Garage on 2 Acres Near Asheville, NC.

A press release about the auction says the 2700-square-foot house on two acres was purchased for convalescence following treatment at Mission. The home has full separate living quarters on two floors, and will be sold with no reserve — highest bid will buy it.

The auction is being handled by Tranzon LLC, a national real estate disposition company with offices across the country. Details can be found at tranzon.com.

It’s refreshing to see a house auction in this tough real estate market that isn’t being held on the courthouse steps as a result of foreclosure — and with proceeds benefiting a good cause.

Home values keep falling in Asheville

The chief economist with Zillow.com says residential real estate values are continuing to decline across the country — including Buncombe County.

“The supply and demand picture continues to look challenging to say the least. …  Data on mortgage applications from MBA and pending sales data coming in now from local markets suggests that housing demand plummeted after the expiration of the first-time homebuyer tax credits at the end of April.”

via National Home Values Continue to Fall in April; Sales Likely to Dry Up After Tax Credit Expiration | Zillow Blog – Real Estate Market Stats, Celebrity Real Estate, and Zillow News.

Bank-owned properties, seriously delinquent mortgages and foreclosed homes are creating a “shadow inventory” that is depressing prices around the country. At the end of April, year-over-year home values declined in 81% of the metropolitan statistical areas that Zillow tracks.

Zillow data for Buncombe County (below) shows Biltmore Forest, Fairview and Black Mountain as sustaining the biggest YOY declines in house values.  Bent Creek, Swannanoa and Woodfin show actual increases in home values for the period ending in April.

According to the Zillow blog:

“Existing home sales will continue to stay robust through the end of June, when contracts that were signed by the end of April must close in order for buyers to receive the tax credits.  Expect them to fall off precipitously thereafter…”

Buncombe County Home Values - April 2010

Failed banks yield rare auction booty

Banks that have gone belly-up during this year’s financial crisis have left behind some unique items that are being sold at public auctions, reports the business news service Bloomberg.

Business has been good,” said Penny Worley, who opened her [auction] firm in 1993. “This can be a daunting task, because there are so much and so many different things. There’s an occasional Dali. There are rare gold coins.”

via Marijuana-Reeking Tour Bus, Red Ferrari Are FDIC’s Crisis Booty – Bloomberg.com.

A rapper’s tour bus that sold at one bank auction “smelled so bad of pot after one tour that they had to completely pull out most of the interior and replace it,” an auctioneer told Bloomberg.

Hundreds of banks have failed this year, and the FDIC has recovered millions in losses by turning over assets for auction.

While you may not find a rapper’s tour bus, you will find local auctions on this page at Iwanna.com — including images of print display ads that are listed in the right-hand rail of the page.

Asheville builder makes the best of a bad situation

Opportunities often spring from the misfortune of others in tough economic times. But innovative solutions can also spring from financial setback.

A case in point is Asheville builder John Erwin, who will run an unusual auction this weekend to sell one of his larger, newer houses to spare damage to his business and credit rating.

“While the economy has crushed the short-term real estate market here in Asheville it has also devasted the construction industry–which is where we earned our living. As a result we have to get out from under the payments on this nearly-new home (only 6 years old).”

via Beautiful Asheville Home in Financial Distress

The take-notice part of this short sale is the starting price of $118,500 — for a 2100 square feet, 4BR and 2.5BA home with cherry hardwood floors and a nice back deck.

Home prices have plummeted lately due to the deflation of the housing bubble, which was brought on by loose credit, but it’s hard not to see a lot of room for value in this low starting bid. And Erwin’s hope is that it brings enough interest to get him the best out of a bad situation. (Disclosure: He’s advertising the sale on Iwanna.com.)

What’s the market value of Erwin’s home?

Buncombe County tax records value the property at $264,280.
Trulia.com lists the market value as $224,500
Zillow’s “zestimate” is $266,500
Cyberhomes says it’s worth $249,900.

You can read more about the auction here: www.beautifulashevillehouse.com

Don’t expect to move in anytime soon, however. Erwin’s bank must approve the highest bid; so, like with any short sale, the process could take some time to complete. Short sales can take six months or longer to complete.

Erwin gets props for his innovative auction concept — which may keep the sale away from the courthouse steps, where foreclosures are usually finalized.

Meanwhile, Wall Street roars. The DJIA crossed 10,170 today for the first time in a year. And the unemployment rate (officially announced at 10.2% last week, but 17.5% when including Americans who have given up looking for work) continues to rise alongside foreclosures and bankruptcies.

In the comments below, tell us what you’re doing to make lemonade out of lemons in this economy.

Asheville: One of the best places to work, if…

Asheville gets props from financial website Mint.com for being the best place in America to work…

if you’re a claims adjuster.

The Mint Blog rates Asheville as tops in the Claims Adjuster salary category of Business and Financial Operations — at $87,410 annually. Anybody know of any claims adjuster job openings?

Not happy with your present salary? Wondering what city holds the gold at the end of the rainbow? We’ve done the research for you.

Follow the Money: The Best and Worst Places to Work by Average Salary | MintLife Blog | Personal Finance News & Advice.

In a nutshell: If you’re a graphic designer, don’t work in Florence, Alabama. And if you’re a surgeon, move to Panama City, Florida.

And if you’re looking for a job in the Carolina mountains, try the Iwanna classifieds.

Salary Comparison at Mint.com


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