The Face of Asheville’s Rental Market

When most folks move here, they look for rental property to live in to get a feel for the area before they invest in a home. It’s important to know whether or not your career, home life, and social life will flourish before setting permanent roots here. However, we have seen that getting rental property can be much harder than assumed at first glance. Here is the real truth on what the rental market looks like in Asheville and all of Buncombe county.

Reports have focused on multi-family units, meaning apartment buildings and duplexes and show that there is a 96% occupation rate as of 2016. This has actually dropped from 98% in 2014. Vacancies in 2014 were at 99 units and in 2016, that number rose to 336. However, we also have seen growth in the number of available units with new complexes built all over the county within those 2 years. When it comes to affordable housing, government subsidized and income based rentals, have seen 100% occupation rate and a growing waiting list of well over 500 families. The new complexes that have come into the area have been high-end market units with very little growth in the affordable housing sector. That growth involved 2 complexes that were filled immediately and the waiting list added to as families are increasingly needing assistance.

Rental increases were above national average as well over the past two years. National average hovered around 3% and in Asheville, average rents were raised 4.4%. Interestingly enough, the rise for 2 bedroom units rose the most at 5.2%, 3 bedrooms averaged at 4.3%, and 1 bedrooms rose at 4.2%. 2 bedroom units appear to be the most sought after rental and accounts for the higher increase in rent.

In the entirety of Buncombe County there are 36 high-end market rentals. That doesn’t sound like much but we are only referring to multi-family units. As of 2016, there are1,970 units under construction and an additional 2,600 units planned or proposed. Less than 1,000 of those units are earmarked as subsidized and/or affordable housing units with the rest being high-end market rate. With the rise of the units that are coming, we are hoping this means a lower occupation rate that is desirable for a healthy housing market.

Unfortunately, the reports don’t include single family rental units and Buncombe county certainly has a large market of those properties as well. Rents are comparable for those units as the multi-family units and also see about the same occupancy rate. However, a quick look with a real estate agent or google search will show that there are units available. They just happen to fill very quickly!

So what does this mean for you, the potential new resident of Asheville North Carolina? It means being financially smart about your move. Average rents in Asheville are hovering around $1500 a month and surrounding areas in the county are roughly around $1000 a month. This means your monthly income must be $4500 or more per month to comfortably afford the rental market. More income will be desirable in order to save for a home purchase, of course! While you are number crunching, doing some research on the cost of living will equally be important so that you can save appropriately and enjoy all that Asheville has to offer. Don’t forget to research your moving expenses as well. Most importantly, make sure you have a rental unit ready for you when you come here. We have heard too many horror stories of families moving here, assuming they can get into a rental within a week and end up living in hotels until a unit becomes available. The same can also be said for the job market, have a job lined up first before you get here. Don’t shy away from checking out those single family units as well in order to broaden your options!