By Julie McKinney

Heading into the final months of the year always has me looking back on what’s happened in the year so far, looking forward to events that will fill the holiday season and eagerly anticipating what the new year will hold in store.

The first three quarters of 2017 have continued to show strength in the Gorge with regard to real estate sales. Sales have been a little better than last year, sellers have gladly welcomed new owners to their properties and the area has gained several new full-time residents. The volume of buyer inquiries generally ebbs and flows, and that has held true this year. However, we appear to be going into the winter months with a general increase in buyer interest in the Hickory Nut Gorge area with many planning trips to the area before the end of the year. Some are doing preliminary research for their planned visit next year.

We can all be thankful that last year’s tragic forest fire left relatively little evidence of having burned over 7,000 of our beloved, forested acres. And in the midst of tragedy, our community was brought together and strengthened in ways none of us could have imagined. We’ll be blessed again with the divine colors that cover the mountains around us. The leaves will fall and the silhouette of naked trees will bring a new sense of beauty. What a wonderful place to live and play! As a real estate broker, I am always proud to show off all this area offers, and explain how amazing it is to live here.

This year has brought exciting changes at Lake Lure Professionals Realty Group (aka Keller Williams® Lake Lure). On the first of August, I became the new owner of a solid firm founded by Charlene and David Efird, and am honored to have the opportunity to carry on its legacy. Charlene and David will remain active brokers with the firm, Lisa Fye continues as our office administrator, Todd Morse and I will continue to assist buyers and sellers and Debbie Sena and Bruce McKinney have joined our team of brokers. By the time you receive this edition of The Mountain Breeze you’ll likely have noticed a new name, logo and signage around the area. After much consideration, we collectively decided the time had come to become an independent firm (versus an affiliate of a franchise). Lifestyle Properties is the new name in town, but certainly not a new real estate company. Our offices will remain at the Gateway Center on Memorial Highway, and we invite you to stop by to say hi and meet our new brokers.

We eagerly anticipate what 2018 will have in store for us and all who serve this beautiful region as real estate professionals.

Wishing all the best for you and your families during the holiday season and into the New Year!

Julie McKinney is Broker/Owner at Lifestyle Properties, 2975 Memorial Highway, Lake Lure.

828-625-2552 e-mail: