Rebecca and Mike Cole, transplants from Austin, purchased a home in Arden. Rebecca Cole remembers seeing Asheville touted as “a really good retirement community,” and landing on a lot of “best places to visit” lists. // Watchdog photo by Starr Sariego

Rebecca and Mike Cole are Asheville transplants like so many others.

Tech workers with portable jobs, the Coles, both 52, moved in August from Austin and bought a $1.4 million house near Arden and a lot on which they hope to build on Asheville’s Reynolds Mountain.

Asheville rose to the top of their relocation choices after a series of weekend exploration trips.

“We had decided that Austin was getting too big, and the cost of living was getting too high,” Rebecca Cole said.

“We said, ‘Let’s just start looking around,’” she said. “We randomly came to Asheville and just fell in love.”

It wasn’t entirely random. 

Cole remembers seeing Asheville touted as “a really good retirement community,” and landing on a lot of “best places to visit” lists. A seed was planted, thanks in part to the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority’s marketing juggernaut.

The TDA and its subsidiary, Explore Asheville, have long touted the power of their marketing for attracting tourists, but what isn’t as well known is how that marketing has contributed to the soaring cost of housing.

Coming Nov. 14: Other places spend less on tourism promotion, using visitor taxes to build affordable housing, pay for first responders and improve infrastructure. What would it take to make a change in Buncombe?

The TDA, mandated by state legislation to spend two-thirds of its budget promoting the Asheville area for tourism, has long targeted affluent travelers from the Southeast, especially Florida, according to the authority’s annual reports. In the past decade-plus, the TDA expanded those efforts nationwide.

For instance, the 2007-08 annual report sought to, “Concentrate message delivery against a core audience of women 35-64 with a household income of $100,000-plus.” The “typical Asheville visitor” that year was reported to be in their 50s, “traveling as a couple, income of $100,000 or more…”

In the 2011-12 annual report, the authority listed several “Target groups” for its marketing efforts,  including “Aging upscale” — people aged 45-65 and up, with “upper middle-plus incomes” and “net worth $250,000-$1 million.” Other target groups included “Mature Wealth,” with a net worth of $1-$2 million, and “Boomer Barons,” those aged 36-55 with “wealthy and affluent incomes.”

The TDA has spent more than $100 million marketing Asheville just since 2017.

A benefit of all that advertising, besides an ever-increasing stream of visitors, is a boost in “the image of Asheville as a place to live, start a career, start a business, go to college, have a second home, or retire,” according to one TDA report on the effectiveness of its marketing.

// Watchdog graphic by Andrew R. Jones; data from Allen Tate/Beverly-Hanks WNC Market Research Center

The TDA calls it a “halo effect,” the notion that consumers with awareness of its advertising are more positive about Asheville “as a place to live, work or retire.”

The TDA’s figures on “Visitor spending on second homes” show the value of that spending doubled from 2009 to 2017, from $44.6 million to $90.4 million. The company that provided TDA the figures changed its methodology in 2017, so the numbers stop there, but the influx of newcomers seems only to have risen during and after the pandemic.

Asheville is one of the costliest places to live in North Carolina, thanks to a dearth of homes, difficult topography to build on, and an influx of people from other states.

Many transplants started out as tourists who hail from many of the same states targeted in TDA advertising and who fell in love with the place, then started looking to buy.

Alessa LeSar, a real estate agent with Clarissa Sells WNC, an EXP Realty company, has sold 15 homes since February. Eleven went to out-of-town buyers, including some who purchased sight unseen. // Photo provided by Alessa LeSar

Alessa LeSar, a real estate agent with Clarissa Sells WNC, an EXP Realty company, has sold 15 homes since February. Eleven went to out-of-town buyers, LeSar said, and her last five sales have been to out-of-state cash buyers. Three people bought homes sight unseen and didn’t set foot in their homes until after closing, LeSar said.

“I’m actually standing at a $1.2 million property for a guy in Florida who’s buying to retire here, that he’s never seen,” LeSar said during an interview last month.

Clarissa Hyatt-Zack, the owner of Clarissa Sells WNC/Exp Realty, said her firm “ran about 50/50” last year with out-of-town buyers versus people from the area. She thinks that has trended upward this year.

Typically, Hyatt-Zack said, buyers don’t purchase a home while vacationing.

“They usually vacation here, and then return to the area to home shop, or (they) do virtual tours with us via FaceTime when they get home,” she said.

Beverly-Hanks President Neal Hanks also has seen an influx of out-of-state buyers.

“One of the things that has been evident to me in recent years is that it used to be most folks who came here from out of the state had some sort of connection, some reason to come,” Hanks, mentioning as an example having children in the area. “Now it seems more and more people have researched the areas, and I’m sure the TDA’s efforts have put it on more people’s radar.”

Asked if the influx of out-of-state buyers contributes to rising housing costs, Hanks said, “Sure, I think it does.

“It’s just another piece of the overall demand. We’ve got more demand than we have supply, and that’s why prices keep going up.”

The median sales price for a Buncombe County home in the third quarter was $475,000, up from $450,000 in the same period a year ago, according to the Allen Tate/Beverly-Hanks third quarter real estate report for our region.

// Watchdog graphic by Andrew R. Jones; data from Allen Tate/Beverly-Hanks WNC Market Research Center’s October rent report for Asheville puts the overall median rent at $1,529, after rising 0.7 percent last month. Median monthly rent for a one-bedroom stands at $1,312, and $1,631 for a two-bedroom.

Brownie Newman, chair of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners and a member of its Affordable Housing Committee, said “there’s definitely a connection between tourism and the fact that we have these rapidly escalating housing costs in Asheville, both on the rental side and on the home ownership side.” // Credit: Buncombe County

Brownie Newman, chair of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners and a member of its Affordable Housing Committee, said “there’s definitely a connection between tourism and the fact that we have these rapidly escalating housing costs in Asheville, both on the rental side and on the home ownership side.

“I would say it’s both the fact that many of the buyers of real estate first discovered Asheville as a tourist and then decide to relocate here  — that’s a lot of growth pressure we have on the housing market, pushing up prices. And then also the fact that so many properties have been converted away from long-term rentals for people who live and work here to short-term rentals to accommodate tourists, and (that results) in the loss of that supply in the rental market.”

He said the Board of Commissioners plans to submit an application through the TDA’s new Legacy Investment from Tourism fund in hopes that those dollars could help pay for the county’s proposed Ferry Road development, which will include workforce and affordable housing as well as open space and a park.

The Buncombe County TDA via spokesperson Ashley Greenstein sent written responses to questions from Asheville Watchdog. The TDA says the Asheville region, like many places across the country, “has housing affordability challenges due to a lack of housing inventory. Housing affordability is a product of supply and demand.”

The TDA referred to the 2021 Bowen National Research study, “Housing Needs Assessment, Western North Carolina,” which was conducted for Dogwood Health Trust. The report found Buncombe County has a sizable “housing gap” — the number of units needed or that could be supported — both in apartments and houses. For rental units, the gap in Buncombe County stood at 3,669 units, while the gap for owned homes tallied 2,254.

Greenstein maintained that “countless housing units, especially multifamily units” with private financing were “turned away, withdrawn, or voted down in Asheville and Buncombe County over the years.” That, she says, means residents are now “subsidizing housing development with taxpayer dollars through county and city bonds.”

But statistics from the Bowen report show Buncombe had a surge in building after the Great Recession of 2008-09, with permits for multi-family projects (typically apartments) growing from 311 permits in 2015 to 1,196 in 2016 and 1,085 in 2020.

During that time, Buncombe single-family building permits rose from 543 in 2011 to 1,461 in 2020, according to the Bowen report.

// Credit: 2021 Bowen National Research study, “Housing Needs Assessment, Western North Carolina”

The effect of climate

Byron Greiner, principal broker and owner of the Dwell Realty Group based in Asheville, also works as the broker in charge of a short-term rental company. He has noticed the influx of out-of-state buyers, too.

“What I’m seeing is really a migration of folks that are trying to get away from global warming,” Greiner said, adding that “time and time again, our market (for) second homes is almost 80 percent Floridians, and they’re trying to get out of the heat.”

He said he sold his second home in Key West because the annual flood insurance had soared to $15,000.

Those people look to the mountains, as do buyers from Texas, California, and the Northeast, according to several real estate agents.

Mike Figura, founder of Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty and a developer of a residential neighborhood in West Asheville, pointed out that the trend of out-of-staters moving here has been going on since George Vanderbilt pulled up stakes from New York in the late 1880s and built Biltmore.

He sees the crux of the problem as a lack of housing development, and that’s a national problem. The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates the U.S. needs 7.3 more million housing units to meet the need.

“If you look at communities that don’t spend as much on tourism, they still have affordable housing issues,” Figura said. “Even in places that tend to have less vibrant economies, their housing costs are still out of line with the cost of living.”

“It’s unfair, especially when there are so many cash buyers coming in from out of state who are older, and just looking for second homes or vacation homes, vacation rentals,” Erin Walton-Haggerty said. “It definitely makes it more difficult.” // Photo provided by Erin Walton-Haggerty

Erin Walton-Haggerty, 30, works as an agent for Mosaic and knows just how tough it is for young people to buy homes in the area. She and her husband, Justin Haggerty, moved here from Austin two years ago, where they rented, and then bought a two-bedroom, one-bath house in Haw Creek — sight unseen — for $315,000.

They’re artists and fell in love with the area, but Walton-Haggerty was working in the restaurant business when they moved and were not flush with cash. Interest rates have since soared, making it especially tough for young buyers to afford a mortgage – and to compete against out-of-state buyers with profits from recently sold homes.

“It’s unfair, especially when there are so many cash buyers coming in from out of state who are older, and just looking for second homes or vacation homes, vacation rentals,” Walton-Haggerty said. “It definitely makes it more difficult.”

Short-term rentals play a role, too

Hanks, the president of Beverly-Hanks, is not in the short-term rental business but said the Asheville region has a lot of housing tied up in vacation rentals, which takes them out of the regular homes for purchase stock. As The Watchdog previously reported, Buncombe vacation rentals in January 2017 numbered 1,555, according to AirDNA, a Denver-based company that provides data and analytics on short-term rentals. By May 2023, that number had rocketed to 5,466.

Meanwhile, long-term rents have soared 65 percent. As The Watchdog previously reported, oversight of these rentals is limited, and there is no publicly available breakdown of who owns them.

“As second homes have become profitable investments for a steady income stream, the housing market at scenic locations and attractions is seeing a price hike, followed by an inventory shortage due to the high demand,” Bridges said, citing a University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business academic article. “Over-tourism facilitated by Airbnb and other STRs makes homeowners switch to short-term tenants rather than long-term renters. Hence, the lack of rent control and demand for new properties lead to a price hike and low inventory for homes.”

In the academic article, titled “The Effect of Home-Sharing on House Prices and Rents: Evidence from Airbnb,” researchers Kyle Barron, Davide Proserpio, and Edward Kung state their results “suggest that the increased ability to home-share has led to increases in both rental rates and house prices.”

These increases happen through at least two channels, the researchers found.

The short-term rental property is one of at least eight vacation rentals on Upstream Way in Asheville. // Watchdog photo by Sally Kestin

The researchers found that “a 1 percent increase in Airbnb listings leads to a .018 increase in rents and a .026 percent increase in house prices.”

Joe Minicozzi, a certified city planner and the principal of Urban3 planning group in Asheville, has worked with client cities throughout the country and previously served as the executive director for the Asheville Downtown Association. Minicozzi said the economics of short-term rentals make them undeniably attractive to investors.

According to AirDNA, vacation rental occupancy in Buncombe County is 57% year to date through September, the TDA said. 

Proponents of short-term rentals argue that they can allow homeowners who wouldn’t be able to afford to live here to supplement income and make ends meet. 

“Airbnb has allowed Asheville residents to supplement their income and keep up with rising costs of living,” an Airbnb spokesperson said.

An internal 2022 survey of Buncombe County Airbnb hosts found 47 percent of respondents said the income earned through hosting helped them stay in their home, and 58 percent use their extra income to cover basic expenses that have become costlier.

The company also cited independent research that shows “the growth of Airbnb has had an extremely small impact — and in many cases, no impact at all — on rental cost increases,” the spokesperson said.

One AirDNA study of housing affordability and short-term rentals found, “Initial literature that looked at New York and the entire U.S. found a large effect of 17 percent and 20 percent home appreciation due to STRs over a period of about a doubling of STR supply or about four years.”

“Later studies that controlled for market popularity and other variables found a positive but much smaller effect of between 1–4 percent when looking at the entire market and concentrated in very specific touristic areas,” AirDNA found.

The TDA cited a 2021 study, which Land of Sky Realtors commissioned from Smart City Policy Group. “Short-term rentals represent a small fraction of Buncombe County’s housing stock, less than 3 percent of total housing units,” according to the study. “The small share of housing limits the significance and impact STRs have on the region’s housing supply.”

That report also found that spending by short-term rental guests had a “total impact of over $657 million in economic activity,” more than $400 million in annual earnings, and created almost 18,000 jobs last year.

The TDA said the county needs more “thoughtful dense mixed-use development in compact and connected communities to protect the federal, state, and local parks and green spaces that have drawn people here for generations.”

Asheville’s hotel moratorium, which prevented development of new hotels downtown from September 2019 through October 2021, caused an explosion in demand and supply of short-term rentals, Greenstein said. She provided a chart from AirDNA that shows in 2019 hotel rooms comprised 57 percent of the supply and vacation rental rooms 43 percent. 

“In 2022 and through the first half of 2023, that has nearly leveled, with 49 percent of lodging supply existing in vacation rental rooms and 51 percent in hotel rooms,” Greenstein said.

Greiner, the real estate agent who also runs a short-term rental company, said the main problem with our housing market is lack of supply.

“People that are buying second homes are paying cash, and they are not affecting the affordability of Asheville,” Greiner said. “The problem with affordability is land prices are expensive, and the interest rates just went over seven and a half percent — that’s jumped almost three quarters of a point, and that’s limited access to first-time homebuyer funds.”

Rebecca Cole says she and her husband Mike were surprised by the cost of homes in the Asheville area. // Watchdog photo by Starr Sariego

Cole, who just moved to the area last summer from Austin, said she and her husband were surprised by the cost of homes around here, although she realizes they’re at the high end of the market.

“We were hoping to decrease our cost, but we found Asheville more expensive than we thought,” Cole said, adding that they had planned to build on a lot on Reynolds Mountain but construction prices had risen too much.

They bought a four-bedroom, four-and-a- half-bath home that’s about 3,200 square feet. Cole works as a technical business transformation manager and her husband works in finance.

“We couldn’t move here with the job market here,” Cole said. “We heard that from a lot of people — all the people moving here bring their own jobs. We don’t have to stay anywhere, so we thought, ‘Let’s just move ultimately where we want to be and adjust our work from there.’”

Cole acknowledged that some people are going to blame transplants like them for contributing to rising housing costs, especially because they left Austin in part because of wealthy outsiders moving in.

“That’s what happened to us in Austin, so I can definitely see it (happening) here.” 

Asheville Watchdog is a nonprofit news team producing stories that matter to Asheville and Buncombe County. John Boyle has been covering Asheville and surrounding communities since the 20th century. You can reach him at (828) 337-0941, or via email at To show your support for this vital public service go to

33 replies on “TDA’s promotion machine contributes to influx of transplants, rising housing costs”

  1. How many of the watchdog’s staff came here in the last 5 years and bought million dollar plus homes? Pot meet kettle

  2. Here’s a story: how many units of housing has the city of Asheville’s process killed at the behest of nimbys?

  3. Buncombe County’s recently approved 20 year development plan changed many parts of the county from what was previously designated and zoned as ‘rural’ to the most dense ‘multi-family housing’ which includes apartment complexes and mobil home parks. The pristine and uncrowded parts of our county, which are part of what makes this area so desirable, are now open game for dense development, and we will continue to lose what made this area so special in the first place.

    A large part of the rationale for this change was the need for affordable housing. So those of us who have lived here for generations must give up our quality of life so that dense housing can be built in our backyards (and our forests cleared) to house all the service workers who’ve moved here to work at the hotels, breweries & shops that cater to the tourists that the BCTDA drives here (does anyone remember when the downtown hotels planned to bus their workers in from small neighboring towns?)

    Tourism appears to be a higher priority to our City and County leaders than the quality of life of the local residents who have lived here and payed our property taxes for decades, and we’ve had enough.

    It isn’t ‘Nimbyism’ to be against out of control growth and ’20 year plans’ that destroy the quality of life of locals. It’s putting the brakes on poor decisions and saving what’s left of the quality of life of this special place.

    Disband the BCTDA. Restore the ‘rural’ designation to the parts of Buncombe County that were previously designated as such before the new 20 year plan. Implement a height limit on any new hotels. Triple the property tax on homes used as STRs. Enforce the noise ordinance. Assess and tax multi-million dollar homes at their true value. Increase the pay of our police, firefighters and teachers. These might not all be feasible but DO SOMETHING to stem the tsunami of unchecked overdevelopment.

    Only when we have turned Asheville into another unliveable Austin, TX or Portland, OR will our elected leaders realize what we have lost.

    1. To be fair, Buncombe County didn’t have “zoning”, much less a workable “plan” in up until, what, 2010? Does anyone remember the “No Zoning!” campaign signs? So when leaders finally moved forward with zoning, they were harassed and attacked by our community. So what they adopted was very weak, and a “first pass effort”. So some of this is the result of our local politics, and our inability to come together as a community and think through where we’re headed. If you have folks that don’t even want land-use regulation, it’s extremely difficult to put a plan together.

    2. Yes, it is nimbyism.

      Build more missing middle housing, upzone downtown, and add infield housing, NOT greenfield low density sprawl.

      Single family homes are what create traffic and sprawl, not dense walkable neighborhoods.

    3. STRs should pay more in property taxes/infrastructure costs, and/or local landlords who keep their rentals available as long term homes for working folks should receive tax breaks.

    4. Thoughtfully stated, Bob. If you live in the Beaverdam Valley area, check out the Beaverdam Valley Neighborhood Association website and join its efforts to balance development with quality of life. The valley is another area designated for high-density development by the ill-considered Buncombe County Comprehensive Plan.

    5. On my street, recent houses have sold to either remote workers from FL or TN, or investors–not local people. So when some people clamor for “missing middle” housing, particularly those who benefit from development, I can’t help but question their motives since a notable amount of this housing is being gobbled up by second-homers, remote workers, and investors–not the local workers needing middle-income housing. It feels like, we’ll keep building more housing, and investors/people with money from other states will keep flocking here, so we’ll just build more houses, repeat, repeat, repeat. Are we building more just to have more? What is the goal? The drive for development feels insatiable, aimless, shortsighted, and vague. The only true winners seem to be the developers and others who profit from this cycle.

      And sadly, there is a lot of bad development happening, and I think some developers and others hide behind the need for affordable housing to justify building whatever they want. We know a carpenter who does a lot of construction in the area, and he has told us that the new stuff is shoddily built, that he receives a lot of calls to repair stuff that isn’t that old. The thing is: although these new developments usually consist of dense, low quality construction townhomes or duplexes, which you would think would be cheap, they aren’t cheap.

      It’s scary to see some of what the County Board of Adjustment is approving in terms of special use permits—developments on land where there are landslide or water runoff issues or on roads too narrow to handle the huge increase in vehicles.

      Not to mention we need to wake up about our resources, particularly water. We take it for granted now, but how much new development/people can the region support, especially if businesses such as water-guzzling data centers are allowed to set up shop here.

      And for the love of Pete, would new developments stop with the swimming pools already?! We live (for now) in an amazing place of great natural beauty and cultural treasures. Get out of the chlorine, people, and take a hike.

  4. There isn’t anything new here. Journalism isn’t just a restatement of the facts we already know.

    1. Loving this great TDA coverage! I don’t think we have good data showing the full extent of real estate investment impacts to housing in the Asheville metro area. Airbnb is just one slice of real estate investing tech and it’s declining as more sites like, funish finder, VRBO, kyak and other listing sites have entered the market. It’s also hard to track since lots of the airdna metrics are sorted by zip code and don’t necessarily capture all of the types of short term rentals that exist. So, you don’t necessarily see all STRs in municipalities outside asheville that have been bought up by investors. Residents on social media have talked about neighborhoods well outside the city filling up with airbnbs. Additionally, lots of other players like opendoor allowed investors or groups of ibuyers to purchase real estate sight unseen to quickly short-sell homes just like like stock trading. The broad mix of players – private equity/REITs, management companies, flippers, develipors, and corporate buyers like Blackrock- coupled with the opacity of corporate ownership masks the total impact on housing inventory. A friend of mine working for a local real estate business in town once told me that the vast majority of all the sales they witnessed in the last few years were cash purchases by trusts or LLCs! It was rare for them to see regular individuals listed on the deeds. Even mutlifamily apartment complexes in the Asheville metro area have entered the mix by offering short term rental lease terms ranging from airbnb lengh stays to 1-6 month leasing options at inflated prices. So, even apartment rental occupancy data is likely skewed. New builds further skew inventory data given tax incetives to hold onto inventory until under contract. The biggest unknown and perhaps scariest question in all this for me is real estate investment financing. Home equity loans, HELOCs, and securities backed loans based on projected future rental income have proliferated with the speculative real estate boom. Even wealthy buyers caught up in this type of a land rush can easily become overleveraged. The presence of FL investors stretches back to the Gilded Age/1920s era land booms that hit both Asheville and Florida as a result of tourism. I doubt those FL investors stuck around once the market crashed, so it’s fascinating to see the resurgence of FL investment here. At the time, lots of tourism was fueled by prospective investors flooding in to buy a piece of land. But those investors who flooded into FL and AVL went bust when the Depression hit. It was so bad in Florida, that media accounts noted certain properties being passed through a revolving door of buying and selling transactions in a single day with prices climbing higher and higher with each trade. Those booms were also propped up by risky, speculative financing strategies that wound up causing economic devastation following the 1929 stock market crash. I can’t help but wonder whether history will repeat itself nearly 100 years later.

      1. Yep, and that’s why I voted against the affordable housing grift. Too many ways for people to scam and keep subsidizing tourism.

        1. Funds directed toward affordable housing are an issue here because our funding is largely used to subsidize real estate developers while the government lacks the capacity for necessary oversight. Local governments rely on private contractors and nonprofits to do everything from analyzing the local housing market to planning and managing projects. When any Airbnb owner or any rando on the street can create an LLC, you’re gonna find rampant fraud like in the case of PPP loans. So, i feel like the issue is how affordable housing funding is being allocated in favor of private businesses over local workers and tenants. I’ve seen so many servers leave asheville in the last couple of years because it was more feasible to travel around in a van or move in with family than to struggle to keep up with rising rent prices. These workers were already crammed into available rental houses with multiple roomates just to make ends meet. But their rents just kept soaring to the point where even renting an individual room in a house became untenable.

          1. Exactly. I’ve kept my rental affordable for local young folks. Zillow lists it at $1700, and I charge $1000. But I refuse to subsidize the affordable housing grift that is only going to worsen.

  5. In Tom Wolfe’s play Welcome to Our Town over a century ago he describes the economy as tourism brings people here and the tourists who decide to buy a house in Asheville feed real estate and construction.

  6. We get it John, nothing new here. It would be great if the TDA could spend more funds to better the community but they can’t. Its obvious you’re just looking for clicks with this one.

  7. Uh — We moved from a place that was “getting too big and a rising cost of living” to a place that is growing too big and has a high cost of living. Those reasons just sound strange when one reads them outloud.

  8. What happened to this idea in 2022?
    Buncombe County Open Space Bonds for 3O Million dollars?
    Or this one in 2016 that passed
    Housing Affordability Bonds?

    Keep voting this people in and you will all be renters for lie.

  9. Have to break the legislative majority and get control of the TDA funds for local services and improvements. Roads are trashed, many construction sites bleed into the road, and we need more police and fire coverage for all the visitors. The current split is a joke.

  10. As certain that the next article will cover all of the TDA expenditures that have benefited local facilities, programs, and organizations as I am that this a balanced and fair “investigatory” series!

  11. I know Asheville USED to rank high on ‘places to retire.’ I think HCA has ruined that aspect of Asheville for good.

  12. The statement below might be better explained. It reads like it’s describing Buncombe County… They represent a small fraction and have little impact yet they created 18,000 jobs? In Buncombe County. Curious about that.

    “Short-term rentals represent a small fraction of Buncombe County’s housing stock, less than 3 percent of total housing units, according to the study. The small share of housing limits the significance and impact STRs have on the region’s housing supply. That report also found that spending by short-term rental guests had a “total impact of over $657 million in economic activity, more than $400 million in annual earnings, and created almost 18,000 jobs last year.”

  13. If less were spent on advertising and a lot more on the infrastructure to support 12 million visitors are year, people wouldn’t be so unhappy with the TDA. Of course, we need to support those Explore Asheville salaries that range up over half a mil. No wonder residents dislike everything about this group. People that work to support all these tourists can’t even afford to live here. Explore Asheville folks probably have pretty nice mansions off the backs of service workers.

    1. The legislation governing Buncombe County’s occupancy tax was just changed to meet the state guidelines of 2/3 to marketing and 1/3 to capital investments, investing more than $80 million and half of that going to city-owned projects.
      More of the usual “everything is the TDA’s fault.” The TDA has been used as a scapegoat for the city’s incompetence. It’s easier to point the finger than have real conversations about why our city doesn’t properly manage their revenues and assets.
      And it’s the folks at Watchdog that have bought up million dollar mansions. Go ask one of them for a room to rent and see what answer you get.

  14. Would love to see the breakdown here of people in the comments who loathe all the transplants and investors coming to this area, yet have no problem with 10 million+ illegal immigrants streaming in through the southern boarder putting immense strain on public infrastructure all around this country. Let me guess, those people are ok but the affluent Caucasians coming to Asheville are evil am I right?

  15. Only in Asheville! We have a housing crisis that is negatively impacting long term residents and their children and we pay Vic Isley $600,000 to make it WORSE.

    And I have a friend who lived in Hollywood FL in the early 1980s.. It was unbearably hot and humid there in the summer even then. I would wager that most of the well to do immigrants from Florida maintain a winter home there. I have many well to do acquaintances whose primary home was Asheville for years .. as they approached retirement they bought condos in Florida to avoid Asheville winters.

  16. Although the area is expensive for housing by some standards, it’s reasonable compared to other areas. For example, my daughter has a one bedroom in Boston and her rent is almost $3,000 per month, not including utilities. She’s considering a move to either Raleigh, Charlotte or Asheville as a result. Salaries are comparable to Boston in her field, so those NC cities are appealing.

Comments are closed.