Development

More wealthy people in Charlotte are choosing to rent

Luxury apartments Solis Dilworth (background) and Crescent Dilworth (foreground) under construction in 2015.
Luxury apartments Solis Dilworth (background) and Crescent Dilworth (foreground) under construction in 2015. tsumlin@charlotteobserver.com

The number of households with annual income of more than $150,000 who choose to rent their house jumped by more than 25 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to a new study.

Although high-income renters in Charlotte are still well outnumbered by high-income homeowners, the numbers reflect a national trend that keeps skewing more towards rentals across the nation. It also paints a different picture from lower-income people who rent because they can’t afford to buy: Most of these high-income households could buy, but choose not to.

The study from Rent Cafe, based on U.S. Census Bureau data, found the number of households making more than $150,000 who rent in Charlotte increased by 29 percent. That’s No. 9 out of U.S. cities that saw a similar jump. Fort Worth saw a 77 percent jump, the highest on the list.

What’s behind the increase? Rent Cafe suggests changing attitudes towards home ownership and an increasing number of ultra-high-end luxury rental developments for potential tenants to choose from (Check out my story on new apartment amenities in Charlotte – Encore SouthPark has a wine fridge in every unit).

Here’s how Rent Cafe described the shift:

“The increased interest in renting among a population segment that is typically made up of homeowners comes in the wake of the housing crisis. For many it’s a matter of caution, a hindsight ‘lesson learned’ behavior that keeps even people with high-paying jobs in the renting pool longer. For some it’s a lifestyle choice, as renting is more popular thanks to the high-end apartment market phenomenon that’s been spreading all over the U.S. in the last couple of years. Or maybe it means that an increasing number of people believe that home ownership is not the only way to have a fulfilled and successful life.”

The number of households making $150,000 a year or more who own homes still largely outweighs those renting in Charlotte, however: 33,424 to 6,009, according to the study. Check out some of their charts below, and let me know what you think is behind the trend in a comment.

 

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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