Rent now takes higher percentage of income than it has in the last 20 years in Raleigh-Durham area

Elaina Athans Image
Thursday, January 26, 2023
Rent takes biggest chunk out of paychecks in 20 years, data shows
New apartment complexes are going up around the Triangle, but many of the units are still out of financial reach for many people.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- New apartment complexes are going up around the Triangle, but many of the units are still out of financial reach for many people.

New data shows a greater chunk of a renter's income is going to toward paying for their place. It's now reaching 30 percent, which is a 20-year high, and that's up 1.5 percent since last year.

Lindell Wynn said rent on his one-bedroom apartment jumped from $1,400 a month to close to $2,000 in a matter couple of years.

"(It's) preposterous," said Wynn. "I know people are moving here, but I don't see the reason for the increase to be that drastic."

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There's no end in sight to the high prices, as demand for rentals continues to soar in the Triangle. Rising mortgage rates have forced many folks to opt-out of purchasing a home, which is also driving prices up for apartment and house leases.

But the reality is that some states aren't seeing the same rent price increases.

Data shows the financial burden on renters dropped in the last quarter in Georgia, Maryland, Oklahoma, Nevada, Utah, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Texas and Alabama.

Meanwhile, the report notes that the Raleigh-Durham region was considered a hot metro or "pandemic darling." Those areas experienced extreme rental growth between 2020 and 2021.

The popularity of the region has negatively affected the supply and demand balance, and thus made rentals harder to afford.

"We need 10,000 more rentals in the Raleigh area to satisfy the demand and we are not anywhere close to that," said Keller Williams Raleigh Broker and Director of Luxury Erica Sizemore.

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She said it's difficult to decide whether it's better to rent or own in this market, and that the costs for both are increasing at similar rates.

"We have more jobs than we have houses. We have more people coming in than the property, so those rates are going to go up. Scarcity is still a real issue in housing. The inventory is about where it was at in 2019," said Sizemore.

The affordability factor is the reason why 30-year-old Cyerra Banks is still living at home with her parents. She doesn't want to waste money.

"If I were to rent, I would not jump into it right now because the rent prices are so high. I would much rather save my money and eventually get something in order to own it," said Banks.