But one local real estate agent worries that thriving sector could have negative consequences on tourism and hospitality workers

Local real estate records keep falling as the Asheville and Buncombe County housing markets continue to gain steam, a boom for some and potentially bad news for people wanting to buy their first home. Even higher-priced housing – long a soft spot – is starting to sell as people with money to spend move into the area.

The number of homes sold in Asheville alone during the third quarter of this year, 401, was the highest on record, said Mike Figura, owner and broker of Community Lifestyle Mosaic Realty in Asheville. That’s two residences more than the previous record of 399 set in the third quarter of 2006, Figura said.

Asheville also set the highest median sale price ever during this year’s third quarter: $244,000, Figura said. That figure exceeds the previous record of $235,000, set in the fourth quarter of 2007. The median asking price for all Buncombe County residential homes – which includes houses, condominiums, townhouses and mobile homes – through Sept. 30 also hit a new high at $348,950, said Don Davies, founder of Asheville-based Realsearch, a company that analyzes real-estate trends. That figure broke the old record of $345,900 set during this year’s second quarter, Davies said. The median house price means an equal number of prices exist above and below the figure of $348,950.

“It’s good for people who own property and can see appreciation in the value of their property,” Figura said. “It’s bad for the majority of people not making enough to afford housing.”

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