By Andrew James
ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — Asheville city leaders are looking to hire a firm to conduct a “missing middle” housing study, identifying ways the city can address the region’s affordable housing challenges.
“I think that the challenge is that there’s less and less rentals available right now,” said Natalie Malis, who helped start the Asheville Home Rental Market group on Facebook.
The group now has more than 17,000 members and helps connect renters to available rental units.
“We provide the platform for property managers, property owners to list their properties on there and then for people that are looking to go onto that page also,” Malis said.
The city of Asheville is also working to bridge the gap by conducting a “missing middle” housing study. The city has issued a request for qualifications for a firm to study the local housing market.
“This is really an opportunity to identify additional housing types and opportunities within different neighborhoods within the city,” Asheville Planning & Urban Design Director Todd Okolichany said.
According to Okolichany, Asheville has about a 3,000 housing unit gap. He said 40% of renters and 20% of homeowners in the city are considered cost-burden.
“In Asheville, we see a lot of single-family houses and we see a lot of taller multi-family housing, apartments, but we don’t see that missing middle, what’s in between the smaller single-family buildings and the taller multi-family,” he said.
The missing middle is often made up of townhomes, duplexes, tri-plexes and cottage-style units. City leaders hope a targeted study will help identify ways to address the affordable housing needs.
The Asheville City Council has budgeted $85,000 for the study. An exact cost will be determined once a firm is chosen, which is expected in January. The study will take 6-12 months.
Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.