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Asheville ranks #2 on list of fastest gentrifying cities
Thursday, 02 February 2017 17:14

‘The quirky creative characters who once defined the city are vanishing’

From Staff Reports

Asheville ranked No. 2 on a list — “The U.S. Cities That Are Gentrifying the Fastest” — featured in a Jan. 23 article by

Charleston, S.C., came in at No. 1 on the list, followed by Asheville, Washington, D.C., Portland, Ore.; Denver, Colo.; Nashville, Tenn.; Sacramento, Calif.; Jersey City, N.J., Long Beach, Calif.; and Austin, Texas.

Yuqing Pan, author of the article, noted that Asheville has reached 50 percent of its gentrification potential and the median home price increased from $125,000 to $235,000 from 2000 to 2015.

Pan wrote that, “back in 2000, Rolling Stone (magazine) called Asheville ‘America’s new freak capital,’ attracting an eclectic population of hippies, artists and musicians. Today, tourists flock to its craft beer breweries, and gated golf communities sell homes for prices as high as $6.5 million — but the quirky creative characters who once defined the city are vanishing.”
A building boom has been experienced over the past decade in Asheville and Buncombe County, following the Great Recession of 2008-09.

Also, the apartment vacancy rate stood at 2.7 percent last year and home prices have skyrockets while home sales records continue to be set.

Among North Carolina cities, Asheville consistently ranks among the most expensive places to live, with an overall rating of 97.5, just above Wilmington at 97.1 and Charlotte at 96.4, according to the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Cost of Living report.

As examples of gentrification in Asheville, pointed out the now-defunct “dive bar” Vincent’s Ear, which was located on North Lexington Avenue, which was replaced “by a high-priced eatery.

”The website also cited cited the River Arts District, noting that the city commissioned a report in 2014 that described the area as “in the middle phase of gentrification,” with two dozen artists displaced that year after their buildings were closed because of fire hazards.”

Pan described gentrification as “the hottest of hot-button urban housing issues... But here’s what it really comes down to: poor or working-class families in growing cities being pushed out of their neighborhoods after better-off outsiders move in and substantially drive up the cost of living.”


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