Rent prices have risen dizzyingly fast in Charlotte as the city has grown.
The typical two-bedroom would set you back about $840 per month in early 2011. This year, the average cost exceeded $1,400, according to Rent Jungle.
And even five or six years into Charlotte’s apartment boom, prices are still rising quickly across the city.
In the most desirable close-in neighborhoods, like Plaza Midwood and Chantilly, rent has gone up by 10 percent or more in just the past year, according to data from Zillow.
But curiously enough, there’s one neighborhood that’s super close in and super desirable where rent isn’t going up at all: Uptown.
In fact, according to Zillow’s data, rent Uptown has actually fallen slightly over the past year.
To make sure this wasn’t a fluke, I gathered another couple of rent data sources to see if this was borne out elsewhere.
Research firm RealData has seen the same trend. While their data doesn’t show an actual decrease, Uptown’s rent growth has far underperformed the overall market, president Charles Dalton said.
Uptown’s rent had increased only 0.6 percent over the past year, while the overall market went up 4 percent.
What’s going on?
For one, the average rent Uptown is still extremely high. Zillow put the average figure at $1,678, cheaper only than single-family juggernauts like Myers Park, Barclay Downs and Seven Eagles. RealData put the figure at $1,729 in a March report.
And even that might be low. Rent at the Museum Tower on top of the Mint will range between $1,805 and $6,750 per month. Even studio apartments at nearby Ascent can cost as much as $2,410.
That’s a price tag that a relatively small percentage of the population can reasonably afford, tamping down demand.
At the same time, supply is increasing tremendously. Nearly 3,300 new residential units were under construction or opened in the last 12 months, according to the State of the Center City report this year. That’s after there were 3,800 units in that pipeline the year before.
That had pushed vacancy up to 8.4 percent in the March RealData report, compared with a rate of 6.1 percent citywide.
Supply is up. Demand is limited by market forces. Thus, the slow growing rent prices.
Is the Uptown apartment bubble bursting?
This is the question Charlotte developers keep asking.
At this point, I wouldn’t go that far. But don’t be surprised if Uptown apartment construction begins to cool off. In other areas of the city — the boom will keep on rolling.