CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Rising rent prices are having a major impact on Charlotte residents who are struggling to find affordable housing in the Queen City.
Apartment management companies blame the rising rents on the cost of business and inflation but those decisions are costing some renters their homes.
One of those renters is Ashley Voyer, whose apartment is on the edge of Uptown. She's lived there for six years. It won't be seven. When Voyer received her renewal offer letter, she immediately knew she'd have to leave.
"The amount that they were offering was just absurd,” Voyer told WCNC Charlotte's Julia Kauffman.
Voyer explained that each year the building raises her rent anywhere from $30 to $70 a month. However, this time around it was going up nearly $600, which Voyer said blew her away. Her one-bedroom apartment, which currently rents for $1,400 a month, would now cost her $1,963 a month if she chose to stay.
“I chose not to re-sign, not really knowing where I was going to go, and I still don’t,” Voyer admitted.
Boxes are now stacked in her apartment ahead of her move. She's still looking for the best deals. They're hard to come by these days.
It’s a situation many Charlotteans are finding themselves in as the cost of living spikes. According to Redfin, the average rent in the U.S. increased by 14.1% in 2021.
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The Greater Charlotte Apartment Association attributes the higher rent costs to COVID-19, inflation, and interest rates.
Kim Graham, executive director of the association, told WCNC Charlotte that because of the financial losses apartment communities faced due to eviction moratoriums, "we’re seeing a lot of loss that’s having to be made up by unusual rent rate increases.”
Graham explained that many apartments are also dealing with higher interest rates after refinancing to make up for losing hundreds of millions during the pandemic.
"On average, 10 cents out of each dollar of rent that an apartment brings in is considered profit," she said. She predicts that the margin is even lower now due to the rising costs of business.
For Voyer, she knows she’s lucky to have other rental options, while others aren’t as financially secure.
"It’s unfortunate that it's happening and no one really has the power to do anything about it," she said.
The GCAA estimates that the average cost for a one-bedroom in Charlotte is $1,363 based on March numbers. To find the best prices, Graham suggested looking farther away from Charlotte or sacrificing amenities like pools and gyms.
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