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Recent report finds increase in competition for rental properties in Triangle


A house is pictured on East Rosemary Street in Chapel Hill on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023.

Competition for rent in the Triangle is on the rise, according to a recent report from RentCafe.

The organization, which provides a safe method of searching for apartments, published its annual report based on information gathered from Yardi Systems, its parent company.

Doug Ressler, the manager of business intelligence at Yardi Matrix, an affiliate company of Yardi Systems, said the company wanted to come up with a set of different measurements in order to look at the residential apartment market and determine strengths and weaknesses.

“We’ve had a lessening of the pandemic, but then inflation and recession has come on board much stronger,” Ressler said. 

Of the 24,308 occupied households in the Triangle, 44.7 percent are rented, according to the report. 

The Triangle is the fifth most competitive housing market in the state, with 12 renters competing for each vacant apartment. Rental competitiveness increased by 1.2 percent during the peak rental season in the Triangle for 2022. 

Ressler said this increase in competition will help with prices, and increased supply and demand typically result in a decrease in cost.

However, Amanda Kolman, who has been a resident of Chapel Hill for a decade, said the corporation that owns her townhome attempted to increase her rent by nearly 20 percent in 2022. 

She said it would be great to see big properties avoid increasing their rent prices.

“I just feel like greed still reigns in this housing market because there’s no limit to how much they can raise my rent,” Kolman said.

Kolman said she wanted to stay in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools school district for her child, and the small district size, lack of available places for rent and prices left her “severely limited” as a renter there.

The report also found that 64 percent of leases in the Triangle were renewed. Ressler said the cost of moving and availability of other places to move both factor into a person's decision to renew their lease or move somewhere else.

Kolman said expensive moving costs also put people in a difficult situation.

Yvette Mathews, an office and community organizer for the Community Empowerment Fund, said her family has to move as a result of certain units of their current apartment complex, University Gardens, being sold. 

The report said the total number of units in the Triangle housing market increased by 1.72 percent in 2022, making it the rental market with the third-highest growth in North Carolina.

Kolman said the types of apartments being built only work for a certain demographic. While looking for housing for her mother, Kolman said finding homes that accommodate an aging population are almost impossible to find.

She said she’d like to see more diversity in the housing market, and that landlords are strict on which tenants they deem as desirable to live in their units. 

Matthews said Chapel Hill is not building housing for the population of people earning below the area's median income, and the voices of low-income people usually go unheard in discussions about housing with local governments.

“It causes people who are unhoused and in the lower income population to suffer because we can’t afford Chapel Hill rents,” Matthews said. “But we have jobs, we do work here.”

Matthews said some people in a position to make a difference should realize the humanity of housing needs.

“I just think being a human being would be at the top of the list,” Matthews said. “It’s like the human being is not the priority and it’s not right, because that should be the priority, right?”

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