Three projects proposed by outside nonprofit developers, either recently approved by Asheville City Council or currently being considered, offer 100% affordable housing targeted for older residents. Together, the three will add over 200 affordable units to the city’s stock.
“Asheville is changing, and since affordable housing is already in short supply, every neighborhood has a responsibility to accept its share of new, denser residential projects, despite the inevitable protests by vocal citizen groups.”
Down from 460 homes in November 2014, only 63 houses listed at less than $200,000 were available for sale in Buncombe County as of July 2019. Median rental costs in the area have also increased at a 5.4% annual rate over the same period.
While 2016 statistics show increasing availability in the area’s rental housing market, Asheville renters say their choices remain limited and prices steep. Several city initiatives — including a $25 million affordable housing bond referendum approved by voters in November — aim to bolster the supply of affordable housing, while some private-sector players are pursuing similar goals.
Finding a place to live in Buncombe County has gotten slightly easier in the past two years as a result of some 1,500 new rental units coming available. But monthly rents continue to rise, despite these new residences and the promise of thousands more currently under construction.
Third-quarter data released by two real estate research firms show an improving environment for Asheville metro area renters. After a late 2014 report showed a rental vacancy rate of less than 1 percent in Asheville and Buncombe County, local officials and renters have frequently described the area’s shortage of affordable housing as a crisis.
Through two discussion sessions and a survey on its online public input platform, the city of Asheville is soliciting feedback on strategies to increase housing density and, it hopes, ease the city’s housing crisis.