Affordable housing in Asheville takes many forms.

Everyone thinks of affordable housing as low-rent apartments placed near the railroad tracks or the highway or 10 miles out past the city limits. But affordable housing in Asheville doesn’t have to mean Section 8 housing. Far from it. In fact, affordable housing can refer to owning a house, not renting an apartment.

Zachery “Zack” Adam of Prime Mortgage, Inc. (dba PrimeRate Mortgage Lending Inc.) — along with collaborators Nick Hinton of Carolina Green Realty and Mark Silver of Best Credit Rx — have made the home-ownership dream more affordable for many people. While affordable housing in Asheville isn’t their main focus, they do their part to help those who didn’t even realize they could afford a home.

Lowering the Bar

The biggest impediment to home ownership used to be the size of the down payment. Many hardworking Ashevilleans can’t afford 20 percent down on a home. Most are having a difficult enough time paying the exorbitant rents that the new apartment complexes are charging. According to a 2014 report out of Chapel Hill, as many as 47 percent of Asheville’s renters are paying more than 30 percent of their income just for housing costs.

But a monthly mortgage payment can be lower than a rent payment, even with mortgage insurance and taxes. To get around the down payment dilemma, Prime Mortgage Lending of West Asheville offers a variety of low- or no-down payment loans, often subsidized by the US Government. First-time homebuyers, more than any other group, have benefitted from these programs. And converting renters into homeowners is one of the best ways to approach the affordable housing issue.

A Special Case

Kaysha Siemens and Michelle Herdon attended the Asheville Housing Fair late last year just to learn what it would take to buy a home sometime in the future. The City of Asheville, the Land of the Sky Association of Realtors and the Asheville Affordable Housing Advisory Committee collaborated to sponsor the fair, which attracted about 300 people.

“The attendees represented a true cross-section of Asheville’s population, in terms of racial diversity on one side and housing developers on the other,” said Lindsey Simerly of the City of Asheville. At the fair, Siemens and Herndon met Realtor Nick Hinton, who introduced them to Zack Adam. Within four months, the former renters closed on their own home.

Affordable Housing in Asheville

A shortage of affordable housing options inside the city limits still plagues Asheville. Certainly, there aren’t enough stories like Siemens and Herndon’s to ease the crisis. But getting renters to realize they can afford to buy a home is a step in the right direction. And Zack Adam of Prime Mortgage Lending of West Asheville is proud of his efforts to help first-time buyers get into a home of their own.

Meanwhile, the City of Asheville — with help from non-governmental organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Mountain Housing Opportunities — are chipping away at the problem to develop new affordable units. Caused by rising demand in an increasingly popular destination, the issue of affordable housing in Asheville will continue to draw attention and resources. And Zack will continue to do his part. For more information, contact Zack.

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