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Homesteading in Asheville Area?

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I plan to visit the Asheville area for the first time in the spring because it seems like it might be an ideal area for homesteading (permaculture style) in my retirement. I haven't been able to find much from realtors about farm sales or the appropriateness of the surrounding area for permaculture/homesteading. Since I am 62, a single female, and new to homesteading, it seems I should avoid raw land and start with buying a small farm. I'd also ideally like to buy 3-5 acres - including pastures and woods to be left natural to support local wildlife. I have the following questions and concerns:

1. Are there currently areas that are good for homesteading/permaculture that are also within 20 minutes of Asheville? From my research, it seemed Madison County had a lot of interesting homesteads, but a realtor told me I should think only of Buncombe County. I also found alarming info online about pollution from power plants in the Black Mtn area.
2. A realtor told me that 80% of the land is uninhabitable, that it's a tight market, and people are coming in and buying large amounts of land. Is that a scare tactic? It would be ideal if I could just visit and get perspective and buy when I retire at 66.
3. I chose Asheville because I understand there are a lot of liberal people who are concerned about the environment and because it is a warm climate in mountains. If it's true that homesteading properties are getting bought out in the Asheville area, are there other locations with similar characteristics that I should also think of that might have better opportunities to buy homesteads (in 4 years)?

Thanks so much for your advice or recommendations!
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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I am so glad that you are starting your homestead.

A new house taht you build will mean that you will not have to "waste" money on repair and you can build in alot of passive heating features.
Virgin land means that you will have to pay money to clear it, but the land is usually cheaper, than flat, "fertile" farm land.
The realtor might be bias and only want you to buy in a country that they "cover".
As a permie, you might actually prefer the uninhabitable land with it's natural spring, etc
Before you buy the land please visit it, test it.
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