How is it defined, and how much is rent?
The term "affordable" is often used loosely in the development world, but the Department of Housing and Urban Development actually determines the definition, employing a scale relative to an area's median income, or AMI.
In the Asheville metropolitan area, which encompasses Buncombe, Henderson and Haywood counties, HUD calculations puts the AMI at $66,400 for a family of four.
The average annual salary for an individual in Asheville is $39,818, or $19.14 an hour, said Paul D’Angelo, community development program director with the city of Asheville, at a development forum in November. That salary would translate to $995 a month to spend on housing.
But the average rent in Asheville is $1,148 a month, or $317 more than the average household can afford per month.
The recent Bowen Report found 46.1% of Asheville renters are "cost-burdened," meaning they pay over 30% of their income toward housing, and 19.4% are "severely cost-burdened, paying over 50% of income toward housing.
Developers previously have suggested that more apartments should translate into declining rents, as competition heats up. But that hasn't been the case. Since 2014, rent in Asheville has increased by 5.4% annually, meaning the average rent has jumped from $1,000 a month five years ago to $1,300 today, according to the city of Asheville.
Written by: John Boyle for the Asheville Citizen-Times