Billed as a place where “altitude affects attitude,” Asheville, NC is a small city by national standards, located in the French Broad River Valley and surrounded by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. However, with a population of more than 87,000, Asheville is also the largest city in Western North Carolina. As such, it serves as the area’s economic and cultural center in many ways—making a big impact for a city its size.
“Asheville is the hub of a whole region,” says Kit Cramer, President & CEO of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. “People come from 10 counties around Asheville into work each day. So, if you’re into a rural setting, you can do that and still be able to access work here in Asheville.”
Everyone in and around Asheville knows that the best part of living here is the thrill that hits you whenever you remember there’s a mountain outside your window. The city is just a short drive to more than a dozen state and national parks and forests. For well over a century, the local topography has also influenced everything from arts and crafts to city development to outdoors activities.
“People love to experience this area, and people are really learning a lot more about what Asheville has to offer in terms of art, music, food, outdoor activities—all those types of things,” says Cramer. “They love the beauty of the natural environment, but they also love that they can access that very quickly…. So, you can quickly get to a hiking trail, or if you wanna kayak or you wanna bike, you can easily get to those things.”
Stories about Asheville’s quality of life have become a staple of national media outlets. Among its many recent accolades, Asheville has been named: Best Cities in North America, #11 (Travel + Leisure, 2016), Where to Find the Best Beer in the World (Condé Nast Traveler, 2016), and 10 Best Outdoor Towns in America, #5 (SmarterTravel.com, 2015). This national attention has attracted people from all walks of life to the area.
“Asheville is attractive to a pretty broad cross section of people,” says Cramer. “We’re seeing a lot of young people, a lot of creative talent moving to town because of the vibe of the place. But there are also a lot of retirees who move to the area and people with families.”
The real estate options across the greater Asheville area are as diverse as its people. Within a short drive of the city center, it is entirely possible to consider a downtown condo, rural farm, suburban home in a gated community, or an older home in one of the historic neighborhoods surrounding downtown Asheville.
“Asheville has a mixture of neighborhoods—that’s one of the things that makes it really cool,” says Cramer. “You can live right downtown, or you can live in a historic neighborhood. You can live in the River Arts District. There are lots of different styles of life in this particular community.”
Asheville home buyers are encountering tightening supply in neighborhood centers like West Asheville‘s Haywood Road, downtown Asheville, and South Asheville’s premier mixed use neighborhood, Biltmore Park. The reduced supply of homes for sale and increasing home prices are encouraging home buyers to consider options outside of Asheville city limits. Home sellers in communities such as Woodfin, Marshall, Candler, and Mills River are all adjusting to this new level of interest.
“I think we’re going to continue to see growth in Asheville and the region over time—of business and opportunity for people who want to move here,” says Cramer. “Plus, we’re going to continue to see a growth in terms of visitorship. And once they get introduced, they’re really interested in coming back here, perhaps making it a second home location or finding a way to relocate here full time.”
“It’s a great place to be.”
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