Development

Almost half of renters in Charlotte are 'cost-burdened,' study says

The Asbury apartments, under construction at Freedom Drive and Walnut Avenue.
The Asbury apartments, under construction at Freedom Drive and Walnut Avenue. ogaines@charlotteobserver.com

For Charlotte renters, the story of 2015 is largely about rising rents despite an unprecedented apartment building boom.

There are more than 12,300 apartments under construction and even more planned, a record number. But the new construction hasn’t brought rents down (In fact, one reason developers are rushing to build so many apartments is that they can charge more for them).

Now, a new analysis from rental agency ApartmentList.com shows how rising rent in Charlotte compares. You can check out the easy-to-play with data for markets from around the U.S. online here.

The good news: Despite rising rent, apartment dwellers surveyed by the company report that they are generally satisfied with the quality of life in the city, giving Charlotte an A- grade. The survey covered the city’s economy, safety, schools and other quality of life measures. Plano, Tex., near Dallas, took the top grade.

Here are some key numbers for Charlotte:

▪ Almost half – 46 percent, to be precise – of renters in Charlotte said they were “cost-burdened,” meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent. That’s actually lower than the national average, which was almost 52 percent. High rent payments can cut down on renters’ ability to save for a house or unexpected expenses.

▪ The median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Charlotte is $1,100 a month, up 8 percent from a year ago. Statewide, the median two-bedroom rent is $860, and rose 5.8 percent from a year ago.

▪ Fifty-two percent of renters surveyed in Charlotte said they are planning to buy a house in the near future.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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