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Real Estate - Residential

Renting Continues To Get More Expensive In Wilmington, Data Shows

By Cece Nunn, posted Jun 24, 2019
Just going by the numbers, it's not going to get any cheaper to rent a place to live in Wilmington any time soon; it's going to cost you more with each passing month.

Rents have been continuously rising month after month in Wilmington, according to those who track rental trends.

That group includes Brian Eckel, with Cape Fear Commercial and GHK Cape Fear Development, whose firm has developed projects such as Headwaters at Autumn Hall and One Midtown and currently has 176 rental units under construction known as Woodlands at Echo Farms.

"The average monthly rental for the 10 Class A projects we track is over a $1.40 psf [per square foot]," Eckel said in an email Monday. "This is a significant increase over the last several years. Unfortunately, with this historic demand on new housing, construction costs have risen to all-time highs, which should slow down new construction starts."

At the moment, Eckel said, "There is still a steady supply entering the market, but the demand is keeping pace as Wilmington remains one of the fastest growing markets in North Carolina."

According to a report on May rental rates by RENTCafé.com, rents in Wilmington went up by 7% over the same period last year and reached an average of $1,153 per month.

"Wilmington recorded the fastest growing rents among the large cities in North Carolina," the report stated.

Hurricane Florence in September affected already tight vacancy rates and also spurred more conversations about the need for more affordable housing in the region.

"I think we still have some shortages due to Hurricane Florence, but we haven’t seen a major dip in occupancy rates or evidence that a market correction is in the near future," Eckel said. "There is no doubt [rental] rates will ultimately level off, but the market factors indicate we will still have strong housing demand for the right project in the right location."

The RENTCafé.com May report, which also tracks with its April findings in Wilmington's case, also highlighted some other North Carolina findings:
  • CHARLOTTE: In May, rents in Charlotte were flat but still the highest in North Carolina, averaging $1,200 per month. The annual price increase was the lowest, a little below 2%.
  • THE TRIANGLE: Cary apartments were the most expensive ($1,197/month on average) followed by apartments in Raleigh ($1,178/month on average). The cheapest rents were in Durham ($1,158 per month on average). 
  • PIEDMONT-TRIAD: Greensboro apartments were the most expensive ($893/month on average), followed by apartments in Winston-Salem ($854/month on average). The cheapest rents were in High Point, the average price being $840.
The average rent in the U.S. increased by 2.5% ($35) year over year and reached $1,442 in May, up by 0.3% ($5) month over month, the report stated.
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