New apartments planned by ATAPCO in University City. JDavis Architects
New apartments planned by ATAPCO in University City. JDavis Architects

Development

What’s new in commercial and residential real estate in the Charlotte region.

Development

Rents in Charlotte have jumped again. Here’s the new average.

March 13, 2017 06:03 AM

UPDATED March 13, 2017 09:00 AM

If you build it, they will rent.

There were almost 5,000 more apartments in the Charlotte market this February than the same month a year ago, but the average rent jumped about 7 percent, to $1,082. That’s according to the latest figures from Charlotte-based Real Data, which tracks apartment markets throughout the Southeast.

The numbers help explain why it seems like there’s a new apartment building going up on every block in parts of Charlotte. Despite the surge of new apartments, the vacancy rate is slightly lower than it was a year ago (6.1 percent vs. 6.2 percent). That means the new apartments under construction are getting filled fast, and that there’s demand for more.

And here’s why rent increases might feel like they’re really pinching you: Rent keeps rising faster than wages or mortgage payments, Real Data found. Over the past five years, the average rent is up 35 percent. That’s compared to a 25 percent increase in monthly mortgage payments, while the wage index has remained basically flat.

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Here are a few other key numbers from the Real Data report:

$1,082Average apartment rent in the Charlotte market, up from $1,011 in Feb. 2016.

11,974Apartments under construction.

13,938Apartments planned.

$1,729Average rent in uptown, the city’s most expensive.

$715Average rent just northeast of uptown, the city’s cheapest.Source: Real Data

New migrants to Charlotte more likely to rent

UNC-Chapel Hill demographics researcher Rebecca Tippett explains that people who recently moved to Charlotte are much more likely to rent than own their residence.

Ely Portillo elyportillo@charlotteobserver.com

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo