Think about where rent will be the highest for an apartment in North Carolina, and places like Charlotte, the Triangle or the beach may come to mind. But according to a new report from Apartment List, the most-expensive place for a two bedroom apartment is Asheville. A two-bedroom apartment in the scenic mountain arts and tourist haven rents for a median $1,771, according to the site. By comparison, the site says renters pay a median rent of $1,421 for a two-bedroom apartment in Charlotte. The national average is $1,285.

Asheville television station WLOS recently reported the city’s ranking. “Honestly, I was surprised to see … there was only a 25 percent increase in rent,” Anna Zuevskaya, executive director of the affordable-housing group Asheville-Buncombe Community Land Trust, told the station.

Apartment rental prices soared statewide, by an average 19.8 percent, Apartment List found. Nationwide, there was a 17.8 percent increase. Year-to-year apartment rental prices in North Carolina grew the fastest in Asheville, by 25.2 percent, according to the report. In Charlotte, rent has gone up about 20 percent over the last year. Cary, Greensboro and Durham apartment rental prices rose a respective 23.8 percent, 23.2 percent and 20.9 percent, according to the report.

Affordable Housing Nearly Impossible

Citing Apartment List data, The Charlotte Observer reported last week that finding an affordable apartment in the Charlotte area is a challenge.

“Finding one for less than $1,000? Nearly impossible,” the newspaper reported. Only one percent of apartments in Mecklenburg County rent for less than $1,000, according to the Apartment List data, the Observer reported. Soaring rents especially squeeze Black and Hispanic county residents, the data show. Median and average rent costs for a given city or town can vary, depending on the source and whether the figure includes a broad metro region or just the city limits. For example, recently listed the average two-bedroom rent in Charlotte as $1,680 — less than Raleigh’s and the city of Asheville didn’t even make the list, likely due to Asheville’s relatively smaller population.

People Getting Displaced

In Asheville, Zuevskaya’s organization is asking the city to help it add 10 affordable housing units with America Rescue Plan money, WLOS reported. Many more groups are needed to help solve the city’s housing crisis, she said. The need for more affordable units has increased since the pandemic, she said. In the past year, “we’ve seen an uptick in those inquiries about housing and about people getting displaced,” said Zuevskaya.

This article appears courtesy of our media partner The Charlotte Observer.