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Thinking about Asheville NC or Beaufort/Port Royal SC

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Thinking about moving to Asheville, NC. There are some great things about the area. The Weather is about the same as where I live now. But it's a much smaller town. Not a city, that could be great. I understand the job market is hard, I get it. Traffic is so-so. I also wanted to talk about housing prices. They seem quote high for the area. I notice that builders are back building $500,000 to $1,400,00. I don't understand where these funds are coming from. In a town of 75,000. Unless I have missed something. I don't get that at all, even if people retire most don't blow 1.2 million on a house. So maybe some of you can explain what I am seeing. I do see homes for other prices, but they are not for me. I have seen maybe 3 so far that I might like. I do have to say that I would be worried about a fixer upper that is thrashed and needs a lot of TLC or renovations and is a historic home, I know there are many in the area. I am trying to figure out also if including the surrounding area I read that there really is a population of 475,000 people. That would be interesting. Also dealing with State services? are they nice, and helpful?
+Great Schools ((at least the high school(s))
+A lot of Art culture
+Liberal?
+ Large homes built not small in size
+Not far from Atlanta and other major cities
+Seems like a good mix of colleges/busniesses/Medical facilities
+What is transportation like, good coverage/ Just buses or other choices.

- Is there a good balance of culture represented? Diversity says otherwise.
-Why is housing so much for a 3 bed room/ 3 bath that?
-Snows more (often and more)
-Traffic? Don't have a lot of information on this
-Sales tax rate is 7.5% ( and growing)

As for Beaufort/Port Royal, it's a very small community, the good thing is the weather, military driven economy, so a little less of the economy downturn to affect buyers choices. Also housing is much less! but cost of living maybe higher, I will do a coparisron. Also seems like it's easy to walk around and drive the area.

+Weather is great year round
+Easy to get around the area
+Housing choices are abundant, a little high on the prices.
+Easy to walk around.
+free small commuter bus/trolly service
+Sales tax rate is 6% lower then Asheville
+Several choices in airports, (three total)

-Airports are about an hour away
-local media market for TV is Charlotte SC
-Less then 20,000 people in the area
-Jobs maybe lean at times
-far from major malls or shopping centers

I understand that these places are not in the same states and not in the same area. But it's about what's best. I haven't been to either one, I know that it isn't recommended. But that's life, I have no idea how much Milk costs at Safeway/Trader Joe's there in Asheville or a dozen eggs. Or How much Power costs either. I know that in Beaufort area there's three grocery stores and they most cost more?

I'm attempting to get an idea. that's all. ( I also know there are some spelling mistakes, the computer's dictionary is corrupted and I am unable to fix it).

Milk here is 2.78-3.75 for a 1/2 gallon
Eggs are 2.38-3.78
Butter ( not at Wilco) is 3.75-4.50
5 lbs sugar 3.75
chick Breast four pack for not organic 6.70-10.00
Gas was 3.42 a gallon

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    There's a market for big, expensive homes when people with money want to move to a desirable place. The prices in Asheville aren't out of line with Charleston and oceanfront homes. Some are second homes, some are investments (and rented out) and some folks telecommute. It seems like half of the state of Florida have homes in western NC, north GA mountains or eastern TN mountains. Asheville is the biggest city in the area (other than Knoxville) and has a great vibe, is very liberal and has a lot to offer. Beaufort is between Charleston and Savannah and real estate prices are lower there than in the other two cities. Grocery prices will be similar in both cities, unless you shop all-organic, at Trader Joe's or at Whole Foods. Both have easy access to airports. Either would be a good choice. If you are not used to coastal humidity, visit in the summer before you make a decision to move to Beaufort. Asheville is far more temperate and although it snows, it's a fraction of the snow elsewhere in the US areas known for snow. It's a great place to be. I'd chose Asheville in a heartbeat.

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    Housing: look at Zillow or the equivalent, not newspapers or brochures. No one in a hot market puts a $300,000 house in a brochure when they can put in a $700,000 house. Look at median sale prices, not asking prices, not average prices.

    Costs: you are talking about food and gas, which you can control. What matters are real estate taxes, income taxes, sales taxes and what is taxed, insurance, car licenses and plates, all sorts of things that you can't control. That's what you need to compare.

    Good schools almost always mean higher taxes. NH has no sales tax and no income tax, but their property taxes are crippling. SC does not tax military retirement income; it would take a lot to make up for that if you are retired military. What about estate taxes when you die? What does. Hunting or fishing license cost, if that matters to you. You cannot control any of this. You can just cost it out and see which place is better for you.

    Utility costs: what is the average total utility cost for the year -- heat and a/c?

    Health care: where do you go to get treated if you develop something serious?

    Days of sunshine: Columbus, OH, a city with many virtues, is overcast all the time. I couldn't stand that. Days of rain: does that matter to you? When is the rainy season?

    So it goes.

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