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Monday, 05 December 2022 11:26

How Crime Rates Affect Rental Investments

So you have found the perfect rental investment in Asheville, North Carolina. The price is right, it's near downtown, and it only needs a few things to bring it up to what the market is looking for. With the influx of money and newcomers to the city, there is no reason it won’t command high rents. But will it? 

Many times real estate investors will look strictly at ROI and the balance sheet and think, “this is the perfect rental investment.” What happens if that perfect investment is in a crime-ridden neighborhood? How does the crime rate affect your return on investment and overall marketability? 


More importantly, how can you weigh a neighborhood’s crime rate against other factors? All of these are important questions when choosing a property to invest in, but they are not always considered. 

Crime Rates In Asheville NC

There are several misconceptions about crime rates in Asheville and the rest of Buncombe County. Fox News recently touted a ”31% increase in violent crime in the last five years” and that it (Asheville) “is in the top 10% of most violent cities in America,” according to Fox Anchor Todd Piro. 

While this is alarming, and there is some concern, it is most certainly not true. The 31% increase is based on crime during the period of 2020, which increased at the same rate as much of the rest of the US. It dropped significantly in 2021.

Long story short, data can be interpreted in a way to back up belief systems, right or wrong. Much of the crime in and around Asheville is petty, non-violent, or drug-related. There is some violent crime, just as with other cities, but it is mostly targeted and only in certain neighborhoods. 

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, Asheville's violent crime rate is around 3.17 per 1000 people, slightly lower than the state’s 3.98/1000 and much lower than the US’s 4.19/1000. Asheville does have a higher property crime rate than many other cities, running around 26.34 per thousand vs. the US's 22.27 per thousand. 

These rates are far more honest than what many of the misleading articles from several media outlets have to say about our city. This is not to say that the local crime rates are not alarming, but they are overblown in the media. 

Why Crime Rate Matters for Your Rental Business

Of course, no one wants to live in a crime-ridden neighborhood, so it is important to do your due diligence before investing. Keeping your tenants safe should be a priority when picking a rental property, and that includes knowing about local crime rates. 

No matter how amazing of a rental you have, crime will put high-quality tenants off. This can lead to vacancies and force you to lower your asking price for a lease. 

How to Review Statistics and Reports 

It is always important to keep in mind that you are making long-term investments when purchasing a rental property. Consider what your goals are and how you would like to affect a community before digging too deep into statistics. Areas may be improving or on the cusp of revitalization, and statistics only show one side of the story. However, when you are looking at stats, look for information about the following:

  • Year-over-year changes in crime rate
  • Types of crime, typically broken up between violent and property crime
  • Most recent reports/911 calls
  • Sex offender information for the area. 

In addition to statistics, reach out to the local community and local law enforcement. They will be able to give you a much more complete picture of what is happening in a neighborhood. Working with a property management company can also be helpful because of their experience in a city. 

A great resource for some of this information is the Asheville Police Department crime statistics page which provides updated crime stats as well as crime mapping. 

Keep Your Goals In Mind

Not a single neighborhood is perfect. Crime happens, whether it is reported or not, so it is important to find the balance between crime rates, desirability, and possible ROI when searching for a property to invest in. 

At the end of the day, a successful investment should fit your goals and fit into your business model. If flipping low-cost rentals into multi-unit properties, you are likely to run into some issues with higher crime rates, just as investing in properties in gated communities will be much more costly financially.

Work with an Asheville Property Management Company to Analyze Crime Rates

It can be easier to predict how crime will impact your rental property when you deal with a property management company.

Leading real estate management company Asheville Phoenix Properties can help by handling many of the issues related to renting out properties all year long. We act as your tenants' point of contact, taking care of service requests and making sure that the right steps are taken to establish a solid landlord-tenant relationship.

We can assist owners and tenants by managing every aspect of a rental property thanks to our more than 20 years of real estate management expertise.Contact us today!