Asheville’s housing market is no exception to the phenomenal growth the city has seen in recent years. This year was a significant year of growth in the real estate market in Asheville. The number of homes sold in the first two quarters of this year far exceeded the existing record, and in response to the increasing demand, housing prices rose. The median house price rose between 7-8% from 2015 to 2016!
What is Urban In-Fill?Urban in-fill is the process in which developers repurpose and build upon abandoned or unused land plots within city limits. Urban in-fill ensures that the city land is fully utilized, reducing expansion into the surrounding, not yet developed surrounding area. Effective, thoughtful urban in-fill can prevent encroachment on natural ecosystems and simultaneously meet the growing need for community housing. In Asheville, urban in-fill helps to preserve the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains, while also addressing the housing shortage.
Benefits of Urban In-FillUrban in-fill protects the surrounding natural environment from further expansion of development. Further developing the surrounding mountains would have serious consequences on the biological ecosystems therein. Homeowners who build within city limits enjoy reduced travel time and greater convenience. The closer proximity to the city center reduces daily commute time. Strategic urban in-fill should increase access to goods and services for the community. Schools, work, retail, grocery, and public transportation options are all nearby and available. Another benefit of urban in-fill is carbon footprint reduction. As previously mentioned, urban in-fill situates families closer to the city center. Daily errands may even be walkable from home. This reduced commute translates into reduced gas emissions, thus less air pollution. Not to mention the positive health effects of active transportation methods such as walking and biking. In addition to the natural beauty lost in the process, land development requires a lot of time and resources. The land must be cleared. Utilities must be connected. Appropriate infrastructure such as roadways may need to be built. In contrast, urban lots are often already accessible, adjacent to utility lines, and partially or fully cleared.
Challenges of Urban In-FillUrban in-fill does present some challenges. In cases where there are existing, rundown, or abandoned structures on the site, there are demolition costs. In such instances, testing for and cleaning up environmental contamination-especially on formerly industrial sites. The size of urban lots can limit the building possibilities. For example, oddly shaped or small lots may not fit all structures. Similarly, impervious (or paved) ground could complicate urban site construction. There is an additional cost of acquiring urban lots as well. Rural land can often be purchased at a relatively low price. The existing infrastructure, convenience, and other benefits of being within city limits affect the cost of the land. Since there are challenges like these to keep in mind, here are some of the main factors to consider when choosing an urban lot.
Four Main Factors When Choosing an Asheville Lot
- Shape and size– What are you hoping to build? How essential are the building specifications? Depending on the parameters of your project, the odd shape or small size of a lot could determine whether or not it is right for you.
- Surrounding structures– If you are looking to build a private residence, commercial or industrial buildings do not make ideal neighbors. The adjacent properties and structures to a lot could have a significant impact on the lot’s potential.
- Impervious surfaces– As previously mentioned, impervious surfaces can have a hindering effect on building projects. Additionally, if you would like to pave as part of your construction process, there are requirements and regulations about impervious surfaces.
- Utility Access– Installing utilities can be a timely and expensive process. Check if the lot has utilities readily available or already on the lot before making your decision.