For many people‚ all it takes is a scenic drive into the heart of Asheville and a breath of fresh mountain air‚ and they’re hooked – the decision to move here is that easy.
The abundance of attractive neighborhoods to live in only serves to make future Ashevillians even more zealous about relocating.
“For people moving here from many parts of the country‚ Asheville is like a candy store – much more affordable than places like D.C. and New York‚ a low crime rate and great quality of life‚” says Susan Cobb‚ a broker associate for Beverly-Hanks & Associates‚ a leading real estate firm in Western North Carolina. “It also has a very temperate climate‚ and it’s a mecca for the arts and sports. And downtown is great – how many downtowns can you walk around and feel safe?”
Whether you prefer a stately‚ elegant home in one of Asheville’s historic districts‚ a charming garden cottage or a downtown art deco-style condominium‚ you’ll find it in Asheville.
It’s an excellent time to buy‚ too‚ considering the housing market is rapidly appreciating. The average price of an Asheville home rose from $222‚656 in 2004 to $253‚926 in 2005 – a 14 percent increase in just one year‚ according to the North Carolina Association of Realtors.
West Asheville‚ one of the city’s more affordable neighborhoods‚ is becoming a hot spot with young professionals because of its bungalow and ranch-style homes that work well as starter or small-family homes. Many people buy older West Asheville homes and revitalize them.
Alice Oglesby‚ who owns a West Asheville graphic design and illustration business‚ purchased a ’50s ranch-style home in the area three years ago.
“West Asheville is very walkable. From my house‚ I can walk to my office and several restaurants. It’s easy to go out for a nice evening stroll‚” Oglesby says. “It also feels homier because‚ since most of the homes are older‚ the trees and landscaping are more established than in new developments.”
Montford‚ a historic neighborhood known for its rich variety of architectural styles‚ is another area where new life is being breathed into old homes.
“West Asheville and Montford are both transitional areas. People are rehabbing and updating those neighborhoods‚ and they’re becoming really hip and popular‚” Cobb says.
South Asheville and the River District are other neighborhoods that offer affordable homes‚ and many downtown condos also are being refurbished.
Scheduled to open in late spring 2008 is 60 North Market‚ a 75-unit mixed-use downtown development that will offer condominiums‚ retail space and six live-work studio lofts for artists.
“60 North Market will offer residents an opportunity to enjoy living in a location that will allow them to take full advantage of the rich cultural offerings of downtown Asheville‚” says Jim Privette‚ developer of 60 North Market.
For those who prefer grand estate living‚ Asheville boasts several historic districts that offer “fabulous homes that bring fabulous prices‚” Cobb says.
“An old hospital in Biltmore Village was recently converted into luxury condos‚ and they are lovely‚” Cobb says. “They start at $535‚000.”
South of the city‚ The Cliffs at Walnut Cove development is bordered by the scenic Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Asheville’s only private‚ gated golf course community‚ The Cliffs at Walnut Cove features a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. Lots there start at $500‚000.
The town of Biltmore Forest‚ located just outside the city limits of Asheville near the Biltmore Estate and Biltmore Village‚ offers 600 homes on three square miles and has been listed among the top 250 wealthiest towns in the United States by Worth magazine.
With so many options‚ it rarely takes long for buyers to find their dream home here.
“My husband and I moved here in 1993‚” Cobb says. “We were tired of the gray‚ cold days in Cleveland‚ and when we drove in here‚ we loved what we saw. We did exactly what people tell you not to do and bought a house the first day we were here.”
But in Asheville‚ that’s not at all uncommon.
“People buy from emotion here because it just feels right‚” Cobb says. “And that’s the way it should be.”