Why is the cost of living in Asheville so high?

Team 3 – Cost of Living Research

Key Questions:

  1. Why are the costs of living so high in this area as compared to other regions in the state?
  2. Why is the cost of living comparable in some ways to much larger citirs?
  3. What are the key costs and what other options are out there?

Summary of Research:

This group interviewed Scott Dedman, Executive Director of Mountain Housing Opportunities, Esther Manheimmer, Vice-Mayor of the City of Asheville, and Jeff Staudinger, Director of Community Development for the City of Asheville. The two primary areas identified by these interviewees which drive up the cost of living in our region are housing and transportation. Both of these are affected by the mountain geography which affects the ability to build in significant density. Housing costs are also inflated by those seeking second homes in the area. One obstacle identified in alleviating these problems is a lack of unified support for “public goods” versus private investments. These interviewees looked to a mix of legislation, public funding, and non-profit work to make progress on these issues.