(Asheville Citizen-Times) Some homebuilders and real estate professionals watch industry statistics such as housing starts like a hawk ready to pounce on an injured squirrel.

Kevin Hackett, president and CEO of Longview Builders Inc., pays more attention to his phone. So news that new building permits in the Asheville region were actually down 1% for the first half of the year — and 8% in Buncombe County — rolled right off his back. “Most of my phone calls are folks moving here,” Hackett said in mid-September. “I just got two (people) from California last week, and one from Chicago the week before, and I’ve got someone from D.C. right now. Those who have the financial means to leave larger cities, they’re leaving. I think there’s an exodus of those that can, and Asheville is on the map.”

The moving industry website Sparefoot.com looked at census data from 2011-15, finding that “57%, or 9,941 people, moved to the Asheville area from other states, and 43% (7,626 people) moved from other places within North Carolina, many from nearby counties.”

Read the extensive report by John Boyle HERE>