Last Updated on August 18, 2023 8:33 am

With the High Country in the midst of another busy summer season, the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce released its Q2 Economic Indicators Report for 2023. This quarterly report examines five key statistics within the Watauga County & High Country Economy, featuring a summary of local impacts by Dr. Harry Davis, Appalachian State and North Carolina Bankers Association Professor and long-standing regional economist. The report also includes quick stats and commentary on local commercial real estate activity provided by James Milner, CCIM, Appalachian Commercial Real Estate and a summary of the residential real estate market supplied by Stacie Pineda, Stacie Pineda Real Estate Group.

“In talking to business owners throughout the community, many would agree that the second quarter of the year featured a sluggish start followed by a stronger finish.” said David Jackson, President/CEO of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce. “The economic uncertainty that was prevalent at the beginning of the year likely played a part in visitor travel, leading to lower occupancy and a slower start to the summer tourism season. As we’ve said many times, many business models in our community are designed to handle volume, and when less people travel, they simply won’t produce as well. As people started feeling better about returning to their previous travel and spending habits, we’ve seen numbers begin to normalize and behave more like the pre-pandemic activity we were used to seeing.”

“The alarming, but not at all surprising, numbers in this report center around housing and real estate in general,” Jackson continued. “The numbers shared reflect both the extreme cost of real estate and the overall lack of availability. These figures underscore the need for community action when it comes to creating housing that is attainable. We continue to hear the stories of people trying to relocate here for work, only to turn down offers because of the lack of available affordable housing. The ongoing community conversations have been a step in the right direction, and I’m hopeful the talks will soon turn toward positive actions.”

The Quarter 2 Economic Indicators report was developed and data compiled with the assistance of the Watauga County Economic Development Commission, Watauga County Tourism Development Authority, High Country Association of Realtors, and the Chamber’s Business Development Committee.

Economic Indicators reporting will continue through 2023, with Quarter 3 data expected mid-fall once all relevant data has been reported by state and local agencies. A review of data for the previous four quarters can be found here:

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