Letter: The elephant in the room about affordable housing

Graphic by Lori Deaton

There is an elephant in the room. There is not affordable housing in our society, including the Asheville area, because there is not profit in affordable housing. This is a plain fact of life. It is a belief system that our society has evolved over time. This system has many names, and everyone is participating within it. The belief is that wealth is precedent above all. This is the essential need to accumulate wealth. This is the elephant.

My intention is not to cast judgment on any individuals because everyone in our society has developed this need. This is a subject that is impossible to discuss with my friends and family, so I stopped bringing it up about four years ago. No one is at fault; this is simply the way that our society has evolved over thousands of years.

There is not affordable health care in the U.S. for the same reason. If curing disease was more profitable than treating disease, then there would more than likely be a cure for all disease. Concurrently, a specific portion of our society would not be able to afford the cure.

There will not be affordable housing in our society until the basic need to accumulate wealth becomes diminished. In our system of free economy, we have the choice of what we buy and determine the price of what we sell. It is an individual’s choice. All real estate that is sold is at the price chosen by the owner. As a property owner, you also have a choice of whom you sell to. As a buyer, we all have the choice of whom we buy from.

In conclusion, while economic freedom for all is improbable, absolutely nothing is impossible. The conclusion part is science, not my opinion. All the other stuff was my opinion. I heart WNC!

— Robbie Pitts
Green Mountain


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5 thoughts on “Letter: The elephant in the room about affordable housing

  1. Enlightened Enigma

    the ‘no profit’ in affordable housing is what the government wants to force the taxpayer to absorb and pay for , into perpetuity. NO.

  2. Frank

    Evolve means incremental change based on what succeeds and what doesn’t over vast amounts of time and involving literally countless tiny transactions. The world and everything in it including ourselves has been evolving towards its current state for about 4 billion years. For me that scientific fact brings me closer to others and the world in which we inhabit but also humbles me and any attempt I might make to arrange things for anyone other than myself.

  3. indy499

    “All real estate that is sold is at the price chosen by the owner”

    Damn, I wish I had known that when I sold property. Stupidly, I negotiated with a willing buyer and reached an agreed price.

    I could have just chosen the sales price? Double damn.

  4. Simon

    The data says the real problem is not enough housing, period. Not enough housing means the market clearing price (willing buyer, wiling seller) increases due to a supply/demand imbalance.

    Housing starts plummeted during and after 2006, and have only very slowly recovered since then. We are only at about 2/3 of the 2005/2006 peak, which means we have 15 years of massive housing under-production to catch up from.

    Recent peak (still below the 1970s): 2,273,000 units (annual rate) in January 2006
    Trough: Below 1m units (annual rate) from May 2008 to October 2013
    Since then, we slowly recovered to a pre-pandemic peak of around 1.5m units/year

    15+ years of under-building is coming home to roost. We have added a lot more people to the US than we have added housing for – we need to build (build efficiently, build green, but build) and catch up. The Saint Louis Fed FRED data doesn’t lie (would link it but MountainX isn’t letting me post links)

  5. Jason Williams

    Can we put a moratorium on buying housing for the purpose of renting?

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