How the Luxury Real Estate Market is in the North Carolina Mountains

Luxury chef's kitchen inside an activie luxury real estate listing in the NC Mountains

Home sales in the luxury real estate market in the North Carolina Mountains have dramatically increased over the last couple of years. The Institute for Luxury Homes Marketing categorizes property at a “luxury” level in our High Country Market when the home value is anything $550,000 or higher.

In reality, to get into what ‘feels’ like a true High Country luxury property, a buyer would need to think about spending $750,000 or more. Below,  outlines some key indicators and trends of luxury real estate marketing, in our specialized areas in the High Country of North Carolina.

NC Mountain Luxury Housing Market Trends

Over the last several years, the demands in luxury housing market trends in High Country and NC mountains have increased. There seems to still be more demand than available homes.

Savvy buyers expect to have high-end finishes and luxury features throughout their homes. They expect to have larger floor plans built with exceptional quality and craftsmanship.

Luxury homeowners in the High Country expect their homes to have space for multiple bedrooms, high-end kitchens, bathrooms, dual home offices, multiple living areas, and unique features and finishes.

The materials and quality must be top-end. Many Luxury owners in the mountains want to see a traditional architectural design in their mountain homes including real rock fireplaces, stone counters, logs, and wood throughout. Hardwood floors, high ceilings, and large windows take in the mountain views.

Luxury Real Estate Sales Activity & Current Inventory

In the years 2021 and 2022, there have been 614 homes sold at over $750,000 in Watauga and Avery Counties. There were 358 luxury real estate sales activities at over 1 million and 3 of those sales were over 6 million!

The average price per sq foot for a home over 1 million (not including the 3 sales at over 6 million) was $418 a square foot. The average days on market for this price point was 107 days.

In 2018 and 2019 there were only 178 sales over $750,000 and the aver days on market were 247. Comparing 2018/2019 to 2021/2022 the number of luxury home sales has tripled and sold twice as fast!

As of December 2022, on the High Country MLS for Watauga and Avery counties, the current inventory of luxury properties includes 87 Active single-family active homes for sale for over $1,000,000.

Of those 87 properties, 32 have 3 or more acres, 40 are in gated communities, and only 25 have truly long-range mountain views.

Five of Sarah Long’s Favorite High Country Luxury Home Sales

Who buys Luxury Homes in the NC Mountains?

Luxury home buyers in the North Carolina Mountains come from all over the United States and even the world.

NC Mountains primarily see luxury home buyers coming from larger cities of North Carolina including Charlotte, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, and Winston Salem to name a few.

Out-of-state buyers often come from Florida, New York, and Georgia. Many of which are people entering retirement.

Buyers typically purchase luxury homes as a real estate investment and/or to enjoy as a second home and vacation property.

Buying a Vacation Rental Home in the NC Mountains

What Luxury Home Buyers Look for in Properties

Luxury home buyers in the North Carolina mountains expect to have exceptional amenities within their homes.

One feature many Luxury homeowners expect to see in their mountain homes is a great outdoor living space to enjoy the cool mountain summers. These spaces include things like:

  • Outdoor fireplaces
  • Outdoor kitchens & grills
  • Hot tubs
  • Layers of decks to enjoy views and privacy.

Outdoor Living Ideas for Mountain Homes

Other features home buyers look for in luxury properties are chef’s kitchens with high-end appliances, natural stone counters, large counter space, and a separate eating area.

Luxury clients also love to see spa bathrooms, especially attached to the primary bedroom. Spa bathrooms have features like soaking tubs, heated tile floors (especially on those snowy mountain days!), dual vanities, large walk-in showers, and good lighting.

Theatre Rooms & Whole Home Technology are especially important in these days of working and schooling from home. Additional features High Country Luxury homeowners may want to see include:

  • Large garage spaces
  • Privacy
  • Mountain views
  • Water
  • Mother-in-law suite
  • Second living areas (such as a finished basement)

Amenities to Look for in Luxury Homes

Access is an important consideration for any home, especially a luxury home in the rural North Carolina mountains.

There are plenty of gated communities with paved roads throughout the High Country that provide excellent access, security, and amenities.

In the High Country, there are gated golfing communities that feature amenities like golf, tennis, clubhouses, restaurants, spas, pools, and more. There are also gated mountain communities that cater to more of an outdoorsperson’s amenities like UTV trails, hiking trails,  shooting ranges, fly fishing, and more.

In addition to gated communities, there are many areas of the High Country that offer easy access off main roads into more private, large acreage estates. These luxury properties provide a location in proximity to the natural amenities of the High Country and often have access to stunning views, private waters, hiking trails, tennis courts, and more.

Luxury Real Estate in High Demand

Luxury Real Estate in the High Country is still in high demand. As people continue to seek out a peaceful escape from the high demands of everyday life, I believe we will continue to see them flock to the North Carolina High Country.

Whether you are seeking a home in a gated golfing community or desire a private mountain estate, our area has much to offer for the discerning luxury client!

Contact us to begin your journey into buying or selling luxury real estate.

About the Author

I am a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, but I have been in North Carolina since1997 when I moved to Boone to attend Appalachian State University. I earned my degree in Theatre Education and Communications. While at ASU I met my husband, Matt Long, a Boone native and general contractor, and gained a heart for these mountains and my beloved ASU Mountaineers. After graduation, I spent 5 years teaching in Charlotte before being given the opportunity to move back to the High Country. In 2007 I earned my NC Real Estate License and began in full-time brokerage. In 2010 I helped to open a franchise brokerage in the High Country. I gained impactful knowledge and built important relationships during my 8 years there, but began to feel the calling to get back to my roots. In June of 2018, my dream became a reality when I opened 828 Real Estate. We are a boutique brokerage that is locally focused, community-minded and client-driven. I feel so fortunate to be in a career that I love, have opportunities to serve wonderful clients, and get to work with the best team here at 828 Real Estate. I am a member of The High Country Association of Realtors, the North Carolina Association of Realtors, the National Association of Realtors. I am a member the Boone Chamber of Commerce and I am on the board for the Downtown Boone Development Association. I have also completed the Realtor  e-Pro certification that specifically focuses on the technology tools needed in the purchase or sale of a property. Additionally, I have earned my CLHMS Designation. (Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist) and a qualified LuxuryHomes.com Affiliate. Over the years I have been awarded various Top Producer Awards. I am honored each year to be invited to the Top 50 Brokers in the High Country celebration. My husband and I reside in downtown Boone and have 2 beautiful children, Sadie Rose and Levi. We attend Alliance Bible Fellowship and stay connected by serving the community and supporting local non-profits like Western Youth Network, The Appalachian Theatre and Valle Crucis Community Park. We love to spend time outside hiking, playing on the river, running with their dog, Emmie Lou, hitting the slopes and making the most of our time in this amazing place we get to call home!