Charlotte leads the U.S. in apartment-building, but don’t expect your rent to go down

Charlotte’s apartment boom is obvious, with thousands of new units in fast-growing areas like South End, SouthPark, uptown and the Central Avenue corridor.

But a new report puts an exclamation mark on just how big that boom really is: Charlotte leads the U.S. in new apartment construction since the recession ended.

That’s according to data from apartment analysis and property management company RealPage. While some cities have built a larger raw number of new apartments, Charlotte has seen the highest percentage growth over the past eight years.

Charlotte’s apartment market has grown almost 31 percent over that time, faster than any other major U.S. city. The next closest is Austin, Texas, which saw its apartment market grow by 29 percent, followed by Nashville with 28 percent growth.

The Raleigh/Durham market clocks in at No. 6, with 25 percent inventory growth.

The Thirsty Beaver at 1225 Central Avenue in Charlotte, while the Overton Row apartments were being built around the bar. Observer Archives.

“Charlotte is benefiting from very robust demand tailwinds – the right jobs and right demographics to drive big demand for apartments,” said Jay Parsons, vice president at RealPage. Since 2010, Charlotte has added more than 120,000 new residents, pushing its population to 860,000.

So, what does that mean for renters and residents? While some analysts have predicted the ballooning supply of Charlotte apartments will soon cause rents to fall — or at least stop shooting up — Parsons said the robust demand and population growth mean that’s not likely in the near future.

“Charlotte rents are climbing a little faster than the U.S. norm of 2.5 percent, and property owners and operators in Charlotte still have more pricing power than is typical in more other metros where new supply is coming on stream most rapidly,” Parsons said. Even in the most competitive areas in Charlotte — those with the most new apartments, like South End — rent is up 2.8 percent in the past year.

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Although Charlotte has seen the biggest percentage growth in its apartment market over the past eight years, that doesn’t mean developers here have built the most apartments. Since the recession ended, Charlotte developers have added about 42,000 units to the region’s apartment supply.

By comparison, Dallas/Forth Worth has added almost 105,000 new apartments over that same time period, while Houston has grown by just under 101,000 apartments. But because those cities are starting from so much bigger bases, their percentage growth is below Charlotte’s — 22 percent and 17 percent, respectively.

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