Moving to Asheville, NC

Thinking about moving to Asheville?

Asheville At-A-Glance

You’ll be in good company. Between 2010 and 2020, Asheville grew more than 13 percent, from 83,393 to 94,589 residents. New residents are attracted to Asheville’s weather, live music scene, breathtaking views and friendliness.

Vibrant. Eclectic. Mild climate. And it’s nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains which means Asheville offers stunning natural beauty and expansive views along miles of scenic vistas. It’s no wonder why this mountain town is often called “The Land of the Sky” by locals. 

According to The Cliffs, “Though Asheville may be a small city, what it lacks in size, it makes up for in its rich culture. With its mild climate, scenic views, and abundance of recreational activities, it’s a great place to live for those who love nature and outdoor fun. Regardless of your lifestyle, you’ll find things to do in this charming city tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains.” 

It’s Easy to See Why Asheville is a Desirable Place to Call Home

Asheville has long been a haven for artists, musicians, and other creatives after the railroad transformed the area into a thriving resort destination. The abundant natural beauty also made Asheville a hotspot for therapeutic health. 

Philanthropist George Vanderbilt started building the sprawling Biltmore estate in 1889, a 250-room French Renaissance château that was an architectural marvel for that time period. Elegance and charm is the style of “America’s Largest Home” which is also an appropriate way to describe Asheville in general. You’ll experience a strong sense of community in Asheville, where people are welcoming and friendly while exuding warm Southern hospitality.  

There’s no doubt about it, Asheville has so much to offer residents. Uphomes says it best, “From the historic homes and Art Deco buildings that line Asheville’s streets, to miles of mountain biking and hiking trails, to a booming culinary and craft beer scene that’s attracted national attention, it’s not hard to understand why Asheville is such a desirable place to call home.” 

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The Asheville Job Market is Healthy and Strong

The Asheville region is a diverse $24 billion economy. Its proximity to the Blue Ridge Mountains helps the local economy stay consistent with plenty of tourism and hospitality jobs available year-round. And if you’re a creative type, Asheville is home to hundreds of local artists who are constantly sharing their works of art with the community, especially in the River Arts District. 

Other major employers in the area are The Mission Health System, The University of North Carolina Asheville, Buncombe County Public Schools, Eaton Corporation, and Ingles Markets. In 2022, Asheville was one of the Top 50 Small Cities to Start a Business by WalletHub, and the 7th fastest growing tech hub in the nation.  

Unemployment rate: 3.0% (as of February 2023)

Average weekly wages for all industries: $1,113 (as of February 2023)

You’ll Find Steep Housing Prices and a High Local Cost of Living

One of the drawbacks of all of Asheville’s growth and livability are its relatively high housing costs. A recent influx of population has led to rising home prices. The median home value in Asheville is $500,000, trending up 4 percent year-over-year, according to The median price per square foot in Asheville is $307. And the current home prices in Asheville are 28 percent higher than the national average.

Renters in Asheville will also have a hard time finding affordable housing. The median rent in Asheville is $1,712 per month, which is high even compared to larger cities. In fact, from 2021 to 2022, rent increased by more than 25 percent in Asheville making it the most expensive of all North Carolina’s major cities.

When compared with the national average Asheville is a relatively affordable place to reside with a stable cost of living. The local cost of living, however, is astronomical as Asheville is the most expensive place in the state to live. One of the things contributing to the affordability? The average pay lags behind other metro areas in North Carolina.

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Gorgeous, Historical Architecture and Small-Town Living

Expect small-town living while enjoying the amenities that often come with big-city life. Whether you’re looking for a cozy starter home or luxury condos and restored historic buildings, these Asheville neighborhoods can suit any living style:

Downtown: Young professionals who want to be close to the action will appreciate the downtown area where you’ll have your pick of luxury condos and mixed-use living. As an added bonus, you’ll also witness gorgeous architecture in the Art Deco, Beaux-Arts, and Neoclassical styles. 

North Asheville: Families looking for well-established neighborhoods that offer stately homes, and an upscale community with historical ties, look no further than the Beaver Lake Area or Lakeview Park, both located in North Asheville. 

Montford: The draw of this neighborhood is its close proximity to downtown as well as the historic homes waiting to be restored. This area draws retirees, young professionals, and house flippers alike!

West Asheville: West Asheville is an up-and-coming neighborhood that’s popular with families because of its cost-effective housing and an eclectic mix of cottages, bungalows, and new construction. 

Kenilworth: Another neighborhood that’s popular with different types of people is Kenilworth. You’ll enjoy plenty of greenspace and a nearby 19-acre lake for an abundance of outdoor recreation.  

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Expect a Short Daily Commute Living in Asheville

Because of the small-town living that Asheville offers, residents can expect to enjoy a relatively short daily commute (average of only 15 minutes). Even with a smaller city, traffic can be problematic at times. This is due to the location of Asheville, which is right in the middle of a very heavily traveled part of the state. Construction and driving habits can also wreak havoc on daily commutes. 

In 2020, drivers lost an average of 19 hours in traffic at a cost of $413 per commuter, according to an analysis by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute

Progressive Education and Creative Community Learning

Education in Asheville is one of the more outstanding amenities that causes people to flock to the city. In the beginning, this secluded mountain town had to rely on self-sufficiency to create its education system. Black Mountain College can be credited for bringing artistic innovation to general studies, which “produced an impressive roster of bright minds, and exemplifies the spirit of progressive education and value for creative community learning that lives on in our twenty first century community.” 

Families will find excellent public schools as well as the best boarding schools in the U.S. in Asheville. In addition, Asheville is also home to University of North Carolina Asheville (UNC Asheville), which was named the #1 Best School for Making an Impact by the Princeton Review in 2016.  

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Four Beautiful Seasons and a Pleasant Climate Year-Round

If you love an area with four seasons, you’ll love the weather in Asheville. Summers are warm and humid while the winters are cool and snowy. Probably the best part of Asheville winters? They’re short! You’ll experience mild winters with an average temperature in the 30’s, crisp fall and spring days, plus warm and humid summers. And expect some kind of precipitation, on average, 118 days per year. 

Summer average (June – Aug): 81°F high, 63°F low

Winter average (Dec – Feb): 49°F high, 31°F low

10 Can’t-Miss Things to Do in Asheville

Art, history, and culture buffs are likely to fall head over heels with this list of things to do in Asheville. From a vibrant arts scene to THE historic mansion of all mansions, you’ll find all of it here in this list:

  1. Take a stroll through the River Arts District (appropriately titled RAD as the acronym) and find a souvenir straight from the artist who made it.  
  2. Plan to spend an entire day at the Biltmore Estate, a 250-room estate built by George Vanderbilt in the late 1800s. Not only is the mansion itself impressive, there is biking, hiking, seven restaurants, fly-fishing, a winery and guided raft trips. 
  3. Learn about America’s automotive industry by visiting Wheels Through Time, an exhibition of 300 of the country’s rarest motorcycles housed at the Maggie Valley museum. 
  4. Stop by the Moog Factory and see where the first synthesizer was made, and how it still carries weight in the music industry. 
  5. Enjoy a unique culinary experience with No Taste Like Home, a tour that involves three hours of hunting for wild morsels followed by chefs incorporating your finds into a chosen dish to consume. 
  6. Drive an hour from downtown Asheville to see Lake Lure, which has provided the setting for many Hollywood smash hit films, including Dirty Dancing. 
  7. Get ready for one hell of a view at the Black Balsam Knob, one of the area’s mountain balds–peaks completely devoid of trees leaving a panoramic unobstructed view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 
  8. Relax at the Omni Grove Park Inn Spa, which has been hailed as one of the best in the country. The spa includes two pools with waterfalls spilling in from above and one that has 6,500 fiber-optic stars embedded in the ceiling. 
  9. Eat lunch at 12 Bones Smokehouse, one of Barack Obama’s favorite BBQ rib joints with mouthwatering meat sold by the pound. 
  10. Gain a new appreciation for the wildlife and plant species unique to the Southern Appalachian region at the Western North Carolina Nature Center. 

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on March 19, 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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