Here’s the bad news: If you’re renting in Charlotte, it’s still getting more expensive.
Here’s the silver lining: It might be easier to get an apartment, because the vacancy rate is going up as a wave of new buildings hit the market.
That’s according to the latest figures from Charlotte-based Real Data, an apartment-tracking service. The average rent in Charlotte as of February hit $1,142 a month, up almost 6 percent from the same month a year ago.
“It’s not slowing down a lot... The market seems to be healthy,” said Charles Dalton, principal at Real Data. Almost 6,200 new apartments were rented over the past 12 months, about 1,000 fewer than developers built over that time.
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The vacancy rate ticked up slightly, however, to 6.9 percent, though Real Data forecasts the rate will hold steady over the next year. That’s up from 6.1 percent in Feb. 2016.
Here are five key observations about the apartment market in Charlotte:
▪ There are a lot more coming: Real Data estimates there are almost 14,000 apartments under construction in the Charlotte region, and more than 13,000 on the drawing board. That’s about 27,000 apartments planned or underway, which would result in about a 20 percent increase in the market supply.
▪ All apartment sizes are now averaging over $1,000 a month: A one-bedroom averages $1,040, a two-bedroom goes for $1,169 and a three-bedroom averages $1,305 in the Charlotte market. At this time last year, a one-bedroom was averaging $979 a month, holding just under that level.
▪ There’s one part of town getting the most new apartments: The sub-market that includes SouthPark and South End is the most active in Charlotte, with more than 3,400 new apartments under construction.
▪ Uptown is the most expensive: With new high-rise apartment towers (the most expensive to build) proliferating, uptown has the most eye-popping rents. On average, an apartment in uptown will set you back $1,868 a month.
▪ Rent has gone up a lot in the past five years: This point isn’t surprising, but it’s helpful to put it in context. In February 2013, the average rent in Charlotte was $842 – exactly $300 less than it is now. That means rent has jumped about 36 percent in five years.