CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As the number of corporate-owned rentals grows nationwide and in Mecklenburg County, so are concerns over rising rent prices. In response, Mecklenburg County is dedicating money to research rental corporations and their effects on residents.
Some residents worry the increase in corporate housing is causing higher rent prices.
"Rent is being increased yearly,” said Charlotte resident Serita Russell.
According to research by Mecklenburg County, large corporations made up 32% of all home sales in Charlotte in Quarter 4 of 2021, which is a 93% increase from the year prior.
That same report says median single-family rent prices increased 27% during the pandemic.
"People living on a fixed income, or people barely making it paycheck to paycheck, they can't afford to have an increase in their rent,“ Russell said.
After hearing these concerns and research findings, the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners approved $500,000 in this year’s budget for the county manager’s office to conduct more research on corporate-owned rentals and how they impact residents.
“I think there’s a place for some of these big groups to buy homes but when they're gobbling up so many, you worry about the balance,” County Commissioner Pat Cotham told WCNC Charlotte.
Cotham hopes the in-depth research will also find new solutions to protect tenants amid the affordable housing crisis.
"Typically, affordable housing is more of a city issue, but the problem is so huge that the county has been involved for several years,” explained Cotham.
She added that corporations are also affecting homebuyers by beating them out with better offers on houses. According to the county report, the median sale price of homes bought by investors in Q4 of 2021 was $305,000.
A county spokesperson told WCNC Charlotte that staff members are in the planning stages ahead of conducting the research and don’t have an update on findings yet.
Initial research by the county says other metropolitan areas facing similar issues have encouraged homeowners’ associations to cap rental properties in their neighborhoods and offered more incentives for developers to build affordable housing.
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WCNC Charlotte is part of seven major media companies and other local institutions producing I Can’t Afford to Live Here, a collaborative reporting project focused on solutions to the affordable housing crisis in Charlotte. It is a project of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, which is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. See all of our reporting at charlottejournalism.org.
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