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Raleigh rent has risen by more than 20% over 4 years, pushing families out of the city

Posted August 3, 2021 4:14 p.m. EDT
Updated August 3, 2021 5:14 p.m. EDT

— The demand for rental housing is driving up prices across the Triangle, and families are worried that they'll be priced out and put on the streets.

Raleigh rent prices have risen sharply over the past month -- average rent prices are up by 14.3% compared to last year.

Rent in Raleigh is well over the national and state average, officials say. A one-bedroom apartment in Raleigh costs on average $1,244, and a two-bedroom apartment costs $1,424, according to data from the city.

When the For Sale sign went up in front of Jennie Harden's rental home in North Raleigh, the clock started ticking for her family to find a new place to live.

Property managers say people need to look early to find a rental in their price range and be flexible about the location where they can live.

But Harden doesn't have that option. She's been in a wheelchair ever since she was a child and needs a rental that's accessible.

"It makes me mad, because if I was able-bodied, I’d have 2 or 3 jobs to take care of it," she said.

Across central North Carolina, rent has risen from 18% to 35%, with Fayetteville seeing the most increase in median rent prices:

  • Cary: Median rent has risen in Cary by nearly 24% since 2017 — from $1,296 to $1,607
  • Morrisville: Median rent has risen from $1,477 to $1,739 — nearly 18%.
  • Durham: Rent in Durham has risen by nearly 19%. In 2017, the median rent was $1,106 and four years later, rent prices rose to $1,315.
  • Fayetteville: Fayetteville has seen the biggest increase in rent compared to other major cities in central North Carolina. Median rent was $911 in 2017, and now rent costs $1,224. That's a more than 30% increase.
  • Chapel Hill: The median rent has increased by more than 12% since 2017 — from $1,205 to $1,353.
  • Raleigh: Rent for people in Raleigh has risen by more than $200 in the past four years, or more than 20%.

Harden fears these prices may force her out of Raleigh, where she's lived since she was 9 years old.

"If that kind of growth were to continue at that pace for a few years, then you’re pretty quickly getting into some pretty serious affordability issues," she said.

Rent price increases are happening despite the region adding more apartments than it ever has.

"The only thing we’re trying to do in this state is bring in young professionals," Harden said. "That’s great, and that will help the economy, but what about the people that already live here and are already struggling?"

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