The paradox of place? The more "they" come, the less appealing it will be.
Asheville (#1) and Cary (#4) make the top 5 in a list of America’s best places to relocate. Is this great news for North Carolinians? Well, maybe. First, what makes these places so appealing is in no small part that they’re nice areas with relatively reasonable property values (Asheville, which topped the list, is the most expensive area state-wide, but still better than many areas around the country):
"The average home price in town is $265,000, according to the site, and the housing stock includes new construction, older Victorians, condominiums, single-family homes and town houses."
And yet Asheville has aggressively pursued so-called "smart growth" policies that have made it tough for developers to build there. (Cary, too, has its own increasingly draconian development ordinances.) And yet people are still attracted to these places. So affordable housing will become increasingly elusive as these places become magnets only for the wealthy. Those lower-income denizens? Their fate isn’t yet certain. But given the leftish make-up of Buncombe County’s electorate, some affordable housing social engineering is likely in the offing. In any case, as these places inflate the value of housing, they will probably drop off of these lists.
If you can overlook the fact that you can’t find an economics book in Maloprop’s, Asheville has its appeal. Big box stores in the outlying areas have allowed a boutique downtown to emerge. The problem is, soon only rich people will be able to really enjoy it. The rest of Asheville’s plebs are increasingly becoming a vast service sector (paying expensive rent) built around those who can more afford to live there–particularly as the town shuns other types of industry. This can be somewhat maddening to the bohemian contingent there that the rich lefties find so charming. We’ll see how this plays out in the future. My guess is that the government-designed rich/poor gap in real estate will show strains in the next couple of years. To talk to ordinary people there, it already has.