Demand for purchasing and renting a place to live in the region has outstripped the supply, driving up sales and rents — a situation experts say likely will persist for years. But Bob Swanson and his fellow members of the Carolinas Real Estate Investors Association are determined to do something about it.
The Asheville-based nonprofit invites the public to attend a discussion on affordable housing on Monday, Nov. 14, from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park hotel. “We owe it to the community to let people know how severe the shortage is and what the need is,” Swanson says.
The event will feature a panel of four speakers who represent different approaches that could help alleviate what those like Asheville City Councilman Gordon Smith have called a crisis. According to Swanson, CREIA members believe builders “may be able to bring new housing online faster” than most local leaders have proposed.
Panelists will include:
- Barry Bialik, founder of the Compact Cottage Company in Skyland. The company specializes in building small homes that are “affordable to just about anyone,” according to its website.
- Allan Clark, founder of Mars Hills-based Iron Castles that designs and manufactures homes from shipping containers.
- Teal Brown, owner of Wishbone Tiny Homes in Asheville. The company builds residences “behind” existing homes that are up to 70 percent the size of the existing house, according to its website.
- Marianne Kilkenny, author of the book Your Quest for Home: A Guidebook to Find the Ideal Community for Your Later Years. The Asheville resident also is creator and founder of Women for Living in Community, a network that “focuses on the power of women as advocates and leaders for alternative housing choices,” according to Kilkenny’s website.
A question and answer session moderated by Swanson will follow the panel discussion.
“We would like to see our members recognize the trend toward smaller, more cost-effective housing is not a fad and begin to innovate business models that create a new style of supply,” Swanson says. “Ideally, we would like to see the real estate investment community contribute a significant source of supply toward satisfying needed housing.”
That way, they “can develop a more collaborative relationship with the public sector,” he says.
“Our interest goes well beyond our ability to generate income from our investments, as doing so benefits our entire community by helping to sustain economic growth as it’s easier to retain workers who are better able to support their families,” CREIA board members said in a prepared statement.