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.