Asheville apartment report shows more units, but higher prices

More than 30 multifamily rental properties are in development in Buncombe County, a sign that the shortage of rentals could soon ease. But rents for many Asheville-area apartment communities are trending toward an upscale market, putting affordable housing out of reach for many of the city’s economically challenged residents.

Those are the finds of a newly released Apartment Market Update for Asheville and Buncombe County, prepared by Bowen National Research. Here is a link to the report: Buncombe County Apartment Market Summary 2017.


The City of Asheville contracted in 2014 with Bowen National Research to complete a Regional Housing Needs Assessment, a report that was released in early 2015. That assessment showed a near zero vacancy rate across the region in both market-rate and affordable units and involved the analysis of detailed economic, demographic and housing metrics that were used to assess the overall housing market conditions and development opportunities of the region.


In the two years since that data was released, Asheville and Buncombe County have seen an increase in multi-family development, and therefore contracted with Bowen National Research to do an update to the 2014 assessment. The focus of this update is on Asheville and Buncombe County only. The update reports and analyzes the latest multifamily rental housing data and trends, as well as identifies multifamily product in the development pipeline. This analysis enables City staff to assesses recent trends in the multifamily rental housing market, with emphasis on changes in rents, vacancies and incentives (e.g. rent concessions). It also allows staff to assesses improvements or declines in the market since late 2014, and to identifies potential future market challenges that might exist. This update does not include an assessment of recent economic or demographic characteristics and trends.


Key findings

  • Buncombe county’s overall multifamily rental housing market has experienced an increase in vacancies over the past two years, but is still lower than the national average.
  • Demand for market-rate housing remains relatively strong.
  • The occupancy rate among the affordable rentals such as tax credit and government subsidized housing remains near 100% and there remains significant pent-up demand for such housing.
  • Most of the new rental product developed in Buncombe County over the past two years has been high-end market-rate product, while only a couple of properties affordable to low-income households have been developed during this time.
  • Market-rate rents have increased at an annual rate of 4.4% over the past year.
  • There are 33 multifamily rental properties in the development pipeline in the county, with approximately 4,647 units that could be added over the next couple of years.


For questions, contact Asheville’s Community and Economic Development Assistant Director Jeff Staudinger at or 828-259-5723.