Cost of living in Asheville, N.C.


With Asheville being named one of the top 100 best places to live in the U.S. + all the new development occurring around town, we thought it would be a great time to talk about Asheville’s cost of living compared to other cities around the state. It’s no secret that Asheville is one of the most expensive places to live in North Carolinabut it’s always good to know what you’re working with when it comes to salary and rent. Here’s what we found:

  • The average yearly income in Buncombe County is $48,464 (according to the U.S. Census Bureau). Check out this chart to compare Buncombe County’s household income to other counties in the state. 
  • State-wise, North Carolina comes in at 41st in the country for median income at ~$50,320 per household. To compare, Maryland came in at #1 with a median household income of $78,916 – and Mississippi ranked last at $42,009 median income per household 

So, how does the cost of living stack up against the amount of money we’re making? 

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The overall cost of living in Asheville is higher than the overall averages for North Carolina + the United States (a score of 100 reflects the average in the U.S.). In Asheville, the cost of utilities + transportation is lower than other parts of the state + the U.S. 

However, the cost of health, groceries, housing + miscellaneous in Asheville have higher average costs than other cities in N.C. and the U.S.

By the numbers

Hypothetically speaking, if you live in a household that brings in $50,000 annually according to experts – you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your monthly gross income on rent. Don’t worry, we did the math for you – your max monthly rent budget would be $1,250. The average monthly rent in Asheville is $1,148  encroaching on the top of your budget.

Take a look at the chart below to see how Asheville’s cost of living compared to another N.C. city – Chapel Hill

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Asheville has the more affordable housing, utilities + miscellaneous costs but Chapel Hill has us beat in health. Both cities are about even when it comes to transportation and groceries. 

Interested in seeing Asheville’s cost of living compared to cities in other states? We played around on nerdwallet’s cost of living calculator, where you can put in any city you want to live in along with your current pre-tax household income to find out what other cities you could actually afford to live in. 

We’ve always wanted to visit Seattle – so we took a look at the cost of living in Seattle compared to Asheville. Here’s what we found:

  • The cost of living is 57% higher in Seattle.
  • To maintain our standard of living, we would need to bring in $78,363 to our householdbetter start saving now.
  • The median cost for a two-bedroom apartment is $2,642 – yes, rent.

Despite the high cost of living in both the state and city, the city has welcomed countless new businesses + over 300,000 people moved to N.C. last year. To try and address the issue of affordable housing, the city recently hosted a development forum. Construction has continued to grow, and the city have been given a $25 million bond referendum to help with affordable housing. It’s a hefty price to live in such a beautiful area.