Cost of Living in Asheville, North Carolina

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Asheville, North Carolina, is an attractive city and metro area that has something for everybody, including scenic mountains, live music, locally produced food and drink, and a vibrant arts scene. Asheville is the largest city in western North Carolina, with approximately 89,000 residents and a metropolitan area population of about 425,000. You’ll find Asheville tucked between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains. Its location is one of the many reasons it made our list of the best places to live in North Carolina.

Due to the area’s popularity, rents are higher than national averages for the most part. On a scale where the national average is 100, the overall cost of living in Asheville is 106, compared to North Carolina’s ranking of 90.6. For the housing category, Asheville rates 124.1, while North Carolina ranks at 81. Rent affects the average cost of living in Asheville, but other factors include energy, food, health care, and transportation costs.

How expensive is an apartment in Asheville?

Rents in Asheville and the Asheville metropolitan area are higher than the North Carolina state average but are generally near the national average. Rents in the Asheville market are increasing, but prices fluctuate, and options exist on the low and high ends of rent ranges.

Studio apartments are the most affordable option, averaging $866 in Asheville and $794 in the Asheville metropolitan area. In this market, median rents are $848 based on 29 units available, down 7% over one year. One-bedroom apartments, a popular option, are slightly more, averaging $870 in the city and $799 in the metro area. In this market, median rents are $1,071 based on 204 units available, up 6% over one year.

Two-bedroom apartments average $1,081 in the city and $998 in the metro area. In this market, median rents are $1,420 based on 97 units available, a 9% increase over one year. The average for a three-bedroom apartment is $1,477 in the city and $1,356 in the metro area. When you consider median rents in this market, you’ll find rates up 6% over one year at $1,695 based on 14 units available.

How do I find budget-friendly apartments in Asheville?

Budget-friendly apartments are available with some searching and flexibility regarding location, age, decor, size, and amenities. Alternatives such as rental mobile homes or small apartments carved out of converted garages or attics are often less costly options as well.

Some people also have roommates or rent out part of a house from the owner to save money. With today’s technology, matching with a potential roommate can be an easy process. Social media groups can also help potential roommates connect and conduct their housing search together. When communicating with a potential roommate, be sure to share your price point, location preferences, and some information about yourself. Use caution and arrange a video call or other type of personal meeting before proceeding.

Alternatives to regular apartments generally require leases, and the same regulations apply for security deposits and other matters. Shared apartments typically have separate leases and security deposits for each roommate.

Regardless of your preferences, keep a list of requirements for your search. This approach allows you to have a prepared response to listings with your questions about available rentals. You can review currently available apartments in Asheville through Zumper, enabling you to apply filters to find an apartment that meets your budget needs.

The general guideline is that rent should be less than 30% of your income, which can be a stretch for many people in cities. To find the best deals, you’ll want to consider deal-breakers such as commute time, the ability to have pets, amenities, and having a roommate. Cheaper apartments may also have limited laundry and dishwasher availability and smaller kitchens with limited appliances.

Location can have a significant impact on cost. If you stay flexible about where you’d like to live, you can save money. Commute times, access to public transportation, and community resources are also important considerations. You’ll want to consider your budget requirements with proximity to work, friends and family, and other places important to you.

What is the least expensive rent in Asheville?

Once you’ve determined your needs and deal-breakers, the search for an apartment or other rental housing, and possibly a roommate, begins. The process will take time, but thoroughly searching options can uncover the best fit for your budget and needs.

Some Asheville studio apartments are as low as $550 a month, with one-bedrooms as low as $650 and two-bedrooms as low as $750. Budget-friendly apartments get leased when they become vacant. Individual apartment community websites commonly list apartment sizes and rents. Send a message, using saved questions and other information from your previously created list, to the property management to inquire about openings or expected vacancies. Check early; waiting lists may exist for prospective renters.

In addition to the rent amount, consider what the rent includes. While renters typically pay for electricity, some rental units may require renters to pay utilities like heat, water, garbage, and other costs. Use a utility calculator to see how much you need to budget for each month.

Deposits, lease lengths, application fees, pet deposits, and rental fees for pets also vary substantially across housing options.

How does Asheville compare to other cities?

The overall Asheville cost of living, including housing and other factors such as energy, food, health care, and transportation costs, is higher than in many cities.

Cost of living details and a calculator are available through the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, along with tools for comparing Asheville to other cities for prospective new residents. The calculator compares research on the cost of housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, and health care. You can also enter your salary and check your buying power compared to other cities.

Finding a less expensive place to live requires balancing location and amenities, but great rates await those who don’t need costly options such as pools, recreation rooms, or large spaces. Affordable rents may also be available in different areas of town. In today’s tight housing market, carefully researching potential housing options and being persistent can uncover an apartment that meets your needs and saves you money.

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