Thinking About Moving to Asheville North Carolina? Read This Guide First.
Table of Contents
- What Are The Neighborhoods in Asheville?
- How Is The Job Market In Asheville?
- How Is The Asheville Real Estate Market?
- How Much Does It Cost To Live In Asheville?
- Is Asheville A Good Place To Retire?
- What Are The People And Culture Like?
- What Are Popular Things To Do In Asheville?
- Pros and Cons of Living in Asheville
- Fun Facts About Asheville
Nestled between the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina lies Asheville, a vibrant yet homely area and the state’s 12th most populous city. Each year, millions of tourists migrate to Asheville to absorb the funky culture, dine at the delicious local restaurants, explore the expanse of astounding wildlife and revel in the always comfortable climate.
While a renowned vacation destination, Asheville welcomes the steady influx of new civilians to its streets and neighborhoods every year. Because of the reasonable cost of living, an abundance of activities, rich history, and temperate climate, thousands of those millions of tourists decide to become permanent residents. Learn everything you need to know before moving to Asheville, North Carolina.
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What are the Neighborhoods in Asheville?
Asheville features various properties in diverse regions. Whether you crave a studio apartment steps from the city streets or a cozy mountainside chateau, Asheville caters to all types of real estate appetites.
The city is divided into five distinct areas, Center, North, East, South, and West. In each region, you can find a variety of housing options depending on your needs.
Asheville’s Center City has many housing options such as condos, apartments, lofts, and single-family homes. This area is centered around the downtown district and comprises the popular River Arts District, Downtown Asheville, Montford, and Kenilworth neighborhoods.
Streets lined with local independent stores, restaurants, pubs, boutique shops, and exciting entertainment venues, Downtown Asheville has a little bit of everything for everyone. Finding a spot to call home downtown ranges from lofts, apartments, cozy condos, and single-family homes. All of which lies just steps from the streets of the bustling downtown culture and excitement
Besides living in the center of the city’s action, Downtown Asheville gives you tons of delicious local eateries for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, drinks, and more. Living in this hub also gives you easy access to entertainments such as the Fine Arts Theatre, Asheville Art Museum, Diana Wortham Theatre, and the U.S. Cellular Center/Thomas Wolfe Auditorium.
River Arts District
Located in Southwest of Downtown Asheville, the River Arts District (otherwise known as RAD) is one of the most radically changed and commutable neighborhoods. Settle into a quaint historic cottage in Chicken Hill or slide into the sleek, modern new construction homes popping up throughout the neighborhood.
Even with new construction homes and condos, all RAD neighborhood housing sites sit close together for walkability. The neighborhood also has more bike lanes, greenways, and sidewalks to emphasize alternative transportation modes and the ease of getting to local attractions.
Although a quick commute to the downtown area, Montford’s historic district transports you back to the late 1800s with a variety of classic architectural styles, some of which Richard Sharp Smith–the supervising architect of the Biltmore Mansion–produced.
The historic district, nestled in with Asheville’s idyllic greenery, also houses many eclectic restaurants and shops. Although the homes date back decades, new constructions are also available. From Queen Anne, Victorian, neoclassical, colonial revival, and new modern, green buildings, Montford offers the perfect balance of homely history with modernity.
Kenilworth’s rolling hills offer tranquility, beautiful scenic views, and a quick commute to downtown Asheville and Biltmore Village. Here, you can find cute bungalows, Spanish colonial revival, Tudor, and prairie-style homes.
While close to Downtown Asheville and Biltmore Village, Kenilworth is a prime real estate spot for those with jobs in healthcare because of its short distance from Mission Hospital, one of the largest employers in the area. The residencies in Kenilworth offer access to Asheville’s busiest districts while maintaining the peacefulness of suburban life.
Here, in North Asheville, you will find residential homes planted in the North Carolina wilderness. This district includes the Town Mountain, Lakeview, Beaver Dam, and Grove Park neighborhoods.
Rather than living in the hustling, bustling center city, you can seek the more remote residencies in Asheville’s Town Mountain neighborhood. The houses in Town Mountain range from luxury condos, reclusive estates and gated communities, but all offer stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountainscape and the shimmering Downtown oasis and allow quick access to the outdoors.
While Town Mountain offers a sense of remoteness in the city, it doesn’t cut you off entirely from the populous center city. Instead, Town Mountain gives you easy access to all of the downtown amenities. The neighborhood may feel distant but lies near downtown.
If you want the wilderness’s serenity without traveling into mountains or hills to find a home, Lakeview Park offers a peaceful compromise. Just as the neighborhood name states, Lakeview Park encompasses Beaver Lake with dwellings on and off the water.
This residential area offers historical and contemporary stand-alone homes with access to the water, nature trails, a wetlands boardwalk, and a bird sanctuary. Here, you can settle into your home and indulge in nature’s tranquility.
Beaverdam gives its residents the seclusion of country living. The area is just minutes from Merrimon Avenue’s busy street and a short drive to Downtown Asheville. Homes in this area range from traditional and contemporary family homes to eco-friendly, green residencies.
Located in the hills at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Beaverdam’s pastoral setting gives residents a scenic, rural community and plenty of outdoor outings to take advantage of, such as boating on Beaver Lake and bird watching at the local Bird Sanctuary.
Since South Asheville was once a part of the Biltmore Estate, the neighborhoods still claim the Biltmore name and reside in close vicinity to the Biltmore Mansion and Village.
Designed with walkability in mind, Biltmore Park is a community where you can walk to work, shops, and playgrounds. Because of its pedestrian-influenced construction, Biltmore Park offers townhomes and condos alongside the more residential single-family home listings.
This inclusive neighborhood is also close to the airport, interstate, schools, and grocery stores; it’s an ideal community location for families.
The residential neighborhood of Biltmore Forest resides among a densely wooded area, although it isn’t as reclusive as the name might suggest. It lies a bit further out from downtown than the other neighborhoods but provides residents with access to good schools and the Biltmore Village shopping district.
Here, single-family homes are the most popular and plentiful and come with more expansive yards than any other neighborhood in Asheville. The typical price point for households in the Biltmore Forest neighborhood tends to run much higher than those in other communities. Houses in the neighborhood range between $600,000 and $6M.
The neighborhoods in East Asheville’s natural landscaping and proximity to busier streets provide an ideal balance between remoteness and community. The popular settings in this area include Haw Creek, Riceville, Beverly Hills, and Chunns Cove.
What was once a farming community in the 1700s is now an affordable neighborhood of townhomes, apartments, single-family homes, and condos that offers convenience to restaurants and retail stores. The area has an active neighborhood association that puts on various activities throughout the year, such as an ice cream social and annual barbecue.
In Haw Creek, you don’t just buy a place to live; you secure your spot in a close-knit community with the ease of commuting that other districts can’t match.
Seven miles from the downtown area, Riceville gives residents a serene, rural setting around the Blue Ridge Mountains, near the Shope Creek watershed, and bordering the Riceville forest. This neighborhood provides both historic homes and new constructions available with breathtaking mountain views.
While relatively remote, Riceville is still a short drive to Tunnel Road and Blue Ridge Parkway, and the historic Biltmore Village. You have nearly immediate access to many hiking trails and the Western North Carolina Nature Center since the neighborhood is close to the parkway.
Located between Town Mountain, Downtown Asheville, and Haw Creek, Chunns Cove features stunning pastoral housing that embodies idyllic country living. If you venture further up through the neighborhood, you’ll find mountainside estates with extraordinary wildlife views.
The homes here range from 1960’s style ranches to mountain chalets due to the neighborhood’s rolling elevation. While Chunns Cove encapsulates reclusive, spacious residencies, you don’t have to drive far to reach grocery stores, retail shops, and the downtown hub.
No, this neighborhood is not like the Beverly Hills in California, with million-dollar mansions and towering palm trees. Quite the opposite, the Beverly Hills neighborhood in Asheville is nestled among towering oak trees and greenery. The streets are quiet and walkable with reasonably priced housing.
In the Beverly Hills neighborhood, you’ll find single-family homes and three and four-bedroom ranch-style houses, all of which lie within walking distance to the Asheville Municipal Golf Course and Asheville recreation Park.
The West Asheville district provides residential communities accessibility to the Haywood Road Business Corridor without the feel of center-city living.
Craggy Park Green Homes
This neighborhood connects homeowners with nature both in proximity and construction. The 45 modern homes come with open concept floor plans and sustainable, environmentally-friendly compositions. The Craggy Park Green Homes benefit nature and provide owners with quick, easy access to various nature trails, parks, and organic gardens.
The neighborhood is ideal for the eco-conscious in its design and relation to nature, although the construction method does not target a particular demographic. The modern designs attract individuals looking for a more contemporary living situation that some of the other Asheville neighborhoods don’t offer.
Historic West Asheville
The Historic West Asheville neighborhood, while not as historic as the homes in Montford, consists of newly renovated homes of varying styles. A fair number of homes in this neighborhood were abandoned and given proper TLC for a new life.
The area has a certain historic charm that has allowed it to flourish in recent years. Small family-owned businesses dot the area, providing a quaint hometown feel. Plus, the neighborhood’s vicinity to the Haywood Road Business Corridor makes the site an ideal location for individuals looking for a quick commute.
Bent Creek neighborhood’s backyard opens up to the nationally recognized Bent Creek Experimental Forest, nearly 6,000 acres of the Pisgah National Forest. The area also houses the Bent Creek Community Park, complete with a shaded pavilion, basketball court, playground, and garden.
Bent Creek isn’t just a neighborhood; it’s a community for young families, retirees, and outdoorsy individuals alike to settle down. Here you can find ranches, bungalows, and single-family styles accompanying the vast wilderness.
How is the Job Market in Asheville?
Before moving to Asheville, North Carolina, it’s a good idea to make sure the area offers ample job opportunities in your field. Luckily, Asheville’s population diversity and culture allow for many job possibilities from many industries and companies, the most popular being healthcare, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and education.
Let’s take a look at some of the best industries to consider when moving to Asheville.
While the hospitality industry is booming in Asheville, it isn’t the largest industry in the area; healthcare is. Asheville continues to make renowned advancements in neuroscience, cancer treatments, and pediatrics, cultivating national recognition.
With national acclaim as one of the top 15 best health systems in the country, the industry provides the largest number of jobs in the area. The Mission Health Hospital alone provides over 8,000 jobs.
Leisure and Hospitality
The leisure and hospitality industry is the second largest in Asheville and the third-largest in North Carolina, employing over 15% of the city’s workers. With a thriving arts and foods scene and ample enticing attractions, Asheville’s tourism rates grow every year.
The leisure and hospitality industry expands its reach and job opportunities to accommodate the influx of tourists.
North Carolina has recorded over 475,000 manufacturing employees in the state, the popularity, and commonality, extending to Asheville. Asheville’s manufacturing industry employs more people than ever before in the area, with roughly 21,300 employees to date.
Even with a decreased employment rate during the early 2000s, Asheville saw a rise in manufacturing employment. To sustain work, companies offer various incentives to their employees too. The industry consists of major corporations such as G.E. Aviation, Eaton Corporation, and Mills Manufacturing Corporation.
The city’s wealth of education systems matches Asheville’s abundance of healthcare establishments. Asheville has nationally recognized public, private, and higher education systems within its borders. The private education sector comprises a majority of Asheville’s overall employment.
Top Companies to Work For
- Mission Health Hospital
- Omni Hotels Management Corp.
- Asheville City Schools
How is the Asheville Real Estate Market
The current average for a home in the area is $388,500, which surpasses the national average of $334,287. Compared to last year, the median price has increased by 19.4%. Asheville’s sale activity is also up 36.2%, which may account for the increased median home pricing. Because of the recent trend in property prices, Asheville is more of a seller’s than a buyer’s market.
The average length of time on the market for property has also increased to about 64 days. However, concerning the Asheville real estate market earlier in 2020, this duration has decreased. Similarly, the purchase price for homes has recently reduced to 1.3% below the asking price.
How Much Does it Cost to Live in Asheville?
The overall cost of living in Asheville, North Carolina is slightly below the national average. However, before you pack up your bags and hit the road, you should consider the specifics of what the cost of living includes concerning your budget.
To understand if Asheville’s cost of living is doable by your standards, take a look at the averages for food and groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare, and taxes.
Food & Groceries
The amount you spend on food and groceries depends on how much you consume, your household size, and the type of food you buy. For groceries exclusively, the average cost is based on a scale of zero to 100–the national average–and Asheville ranks at 103.
Since Asheville has a surplus of local dining, purchasing food from restaurants and other eateries are higher than in other areas. The average amount that Asheville locals spend on dining out per year is nearly $1,000.
Before purchasing a home or putting down a deposit for an apartment in Asheville, consider the average price of utilities to factor into your budget. With a national middle point of $100, the average for utilities in Asheville ranks ever so slightly lower at $99.2. This price point for utilities includes heating, cooling, gas, electricity, and other fuels.
The cost of transportation consists of gas prices, public transit fares, car insurance, and vehicle maintenance expenses. Since Asheville is a relatively commutable place with more and more alternative transportation modes becoming accessible, the average cost for transportation is lower than the national average.
Transportation costs lie around an average of $83, whereas cities with less sustainable transportation modes will surpass the national average of $100.
Healthcare and Medical
Since healthcare is the largest industry in Asheville, getting proper medical treatments isn’t hard to find or acquire. Asheville offers a wide range of healthcare options such as holistic healing, rehabilitation centers, homeopathic medicine, traditional and faith-based hospitals.
In 2019, a reported 88.4% of the Asheville population had healthcare insurance, most likely because the average price of healthcare insurance is rather practical, just slightly over the national average of $100. Compared to other cities in the U.S., the average price for medical costs is around the national average as well, give or take a couple of dollars.
Asheville’s property tax is dependent on the taxes for Buncombe County, the City of Asheville, and the Local Tax School. This combination of factors varies depending on Asheville’s location, either in the city heart or a nearby neighborhood. In combination, the average property tax for all of Asheville is 1%.
Asheville’s sales tax rate, as with the rest of North Carolina, is around 7%. Compared to the rest of the nation’s combined state and average local taxes, Asheville’s slightly lower.3 Ways To Sell A House Without High Commissions? Learn More.
Is Asheville a Good Place to Retire?
While a popular arts and food destination, Asheville also makes for an ideal retirement location because of its moderate climate, healthcare availability, and retirement communities.
In retirement, you want moderate temperatures so that you can take advantage of your freedom year-round. In Asheville, you get a temperate climate, which may come as a surprise given its mountain setting.
You’ll find that the summers don’t get too hot in Asheville, and the winter doesn’t get too cold. Summer temperatures rarely exceed 90 degrees, and while it may occasionally snow in the winter, the weather during those months barely averages below freezing. A major draw for this climate is the ability to partake in outdoor activities year-round.
As a hub for the healthcare industry, access to medical services is easy. Asheville has five hospitals combined for over 500 doctors to treat and aid your medical needs. The city also has a range of medical practices available to treat everything from trauma to checkups with relatively low-priced Medicare.
Aside from typical medical practices to treat your health needs, Asheville also offers vast outdoor opportunities to stay in shape during your retirement.
An attractive aspect of retirement is moving into an all-inclusive community with a similar demographic of a similar age. With nearly 4.5% of the Asheville population age 55 or older, the city has plenty of retirement communities available for residencies, such as The Cliffs, ViewPointe, and High Vista Falls.
The price for Asheville’s retirement communities ranges from the low $200,000s to the low $300,000s. These communities cater to active adults and retirees with inclusive golf courses, clubhouses, and proximity to outdoor adventures and the downtown area.
What Are The People And Culture Like?
Asheville is a vibrant city with a population and culture to match. Asheville’s diverse population consists of urban artists, historical architecture enthusiasts, outdoor adventure seekers, and healthcare innovators.
The art deco architecture downtown, a surplus of galleries, River Arts District, thriving music scene, and burgeoning culinary industry actively entices artists of all mediums to explore and discover all Asheville offers. Asheville has always appealed to artists and visionaries, philanthropists, and explorers since it rose to prominence in the late 1800s.
With the railroad construction in 1880 came an influx of visitors, thousands of which became permanent residents. Among the visitors and relocators were the Vanderbilts, architect Richard Morris Hunt, and author Thomas Wolfe. Ever since, Asheville has cultivated and fostered a sense of creativity, vibrancy, and wonder.
While Asheville has changed undeniably since its origins, the city still celebrates its historic Appalachian culture with festivals and events each year, such as Shindig on the Green. Even in the 1920s, when the Great Depression hit, and many buildings lay abandoned, the city refused to demolish them as a way of protecting its history.
In doing so, the city also protected its historical roots. Both visitors and natives celebrate the mix-match of architecture throughout the Asheville area for its historical significance and cultural impact.
What are the Popular Things to Do in Asheville?
With a diverse demographic, plenty of small businesses, a booming culinary and arts scene, and an abundance of nature, Asheville features various activities and pastimes for locals and tourists. Some of the most popular activities to try out include brewery tours, hiking, visiting farmers’ markets and touring the city’s art scene.
Asheville was named Beer City U.S.A in 2009 and has upheld the title ever since. Asheville’s brewery scene attracts thousands of tourists and beer enthusiasts every year, with more breweries per capita than any other state, city, or town in the U.S.
Instead of searching for the best beers in town on your own, you can join one of Asheville’s pub tours, such as the Pubcycle or the Brews Cruise. These tours take you around town to some of the best breweries and pubs Asheville offers, including High-Wire, French Broad, and Green Man Brewery.
Asheville’s idyllic location, surrounded by lush greenery, captivating mountains, and meandering rivers, makes hiking a sought-after activity for locals and tourists alike. The various hiking trails offer a range of rigor to accommodate both novice and expert hikers.
Partake in summit climbs for breathtaking panoramic views of the North Carolina mountainscape or stroll along the Asheville Botanical Garden paths to view the stunning local fauna and flora. With the number of trails, bike paths, mountains, waterfalls, and rivers, Asheville has enough outdoors for you to fill your stay.
With over 17 local farmers’ markets, visiting one or touring all is a fun pastime and a great way to immerse yourself in Asheville’s culture. You can meet new people, engage with the artisans, and indulge in locally sourced produce and goods at the local farmers’ markets.
Farmer’s markets such as the Asheville City Market South, Fresh Quarter, North Asheville Tailgate Market, and River Arts District Farmers Market converge weekly, giving you ample opportunities for activity and socializing.
Taking part in the eclectic art culture of Asheville is an ever-popular pastime in the city. Asheville’s art scene offers plenty of attractions, including wildly exciting live-music concerts, simple art museum tours, and Shakespeare in the Park performances.
Not big into large venue entertainment scenarios? You can always tour local galleries, go on a scavenger hunt for murals or partake in one of Asheville’s many art workshops such as 310 Art, Asheville Art in the Park, or Art Spirit Medicine.
No matter the season, there’s always something going on regarding the arts in Asheville, even if you just stop to watch a local street performer downtown.
The Biltmore Estate encompasses more than just a beautifully constructed mansion. Its acreage covers nearly 11 miles, including a winery, shopping, hiking, and the Biltmore Botanical Gardens. The estate attracts many tourists and remains a popular destination for locals looking for a mini getaway for the day.
Here, you can spend the day sipping wine, taking in the views, shopping, and learning more about Asheville’s history. If you enjoy the outdoors, you can skip the house tour altogether and go straight to the various hiking trails for a nice day out in nature. You can make many return trips to the estate before seeing all it has to offer.3 Ways To Sell A House Without High Commissions? Learn More.
Pros And Cons Of Living In Ashville
No city is perfect. Even with a long list of highlights, every city has a few drawbacks. Here are a few advantages and drawbacks to consider before moving to Asheville, North Carolina.
- Asheville’s overall cost of living is below the national average
- The climate is very mild all year round
- The city has a low unemployment rate
- Asheville has plenty of educational opportunities and institutions with eight colleges and universities, 23 elementary schools, and 18 secondary schools
- The real estate market is currently in favor of sellers rather than buyers
- Times of peak tourism can cause a lot of traffic challenges both on the roads, hiking trails, streets, and in stores
- The average housing costs are more significant than the national average
- The employment industries are relatively limited to healthcare and tourism
Fun Facts About Asheville North Carolina
Other than statistics and facts about Asheville, there are plenty of tiny, fun tidbits about the city too. Check out these few fascinating, fun facts about Asheville, North Carolina; you might not have known otherwise.
1. Asheville the inaugural Bee City in the U.S.A. – Noticing the need to sustain and nourish bees, Asheville became the first Bee City in 2012. This status means that Asheville actively raises awareness for bees and establishes sustainable bee habitats so that the pollinating insects can thrive.
2. Films Favor the City – Asheville has served as the full or partial location for several smash-hit films such as The Fugitive, Dirty Dancing, Last of the Mohicans, Forrest Gump, and Hannibal.
3. Happiest City on the East Coast – In 2017, Asheville ranked number four in the Huffington Post’s list of friendliest and unfriendliest cities in the U.S.
4. Asheville Revitalization Commission – In the 1970s, the city almost turned Downtown Asheville into an enormous mall, planned to encompass over 22 acres of land. The Asheville Revitalization Commission proposed the plan to funnel money back into the local economy, but the referendum shot the idea down.
5. The Blue Ridge Mountains – The Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding Asheville got the name, not from the blue haze surrounding their peaks, not their composition color. The blue comes from a chemical that the trees on the mountains release called isoprene.
Further Reading: Looking For More Moving To North Carolina Resources? Check These Articles Out!
- Our Moving To North Carolina Guide
- Read This Before Selling a House in North Carolina (FSBO or with a Realtor)
- How To Sell A House In North Carolina Without A Realtor
- What Are North Carolina Flat Fee MLS Listings?
- Did You Know That We Buy Houses In North Carolina (Fast And For Cash)?
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About the Author: Kris Lippi is the owner of ISoldMyHouse.com, the broker of Get LISTED Realty and an official member of the Forbes Real Estate Council. He actively writes about real estate related topics such as buying and selling homes, how-to guides for around the house and home product recommendations. He has been featured in Inman, Readers Digest, Fox News, American Express, Fit Small Business, Policy Genius, Lending Tree, GoDaddy, Manta as well as other major websites. Read more about us here.