The median rent in Chapel Hill increased by 2.9 percent during the month of March, according to a recent report from the online rental marketplace Apartment List.
The most recent rise reflects a trend of rising rental unit prices in the greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro area. The rent for a one-bedroom, multifamily home has increased by over 20 percent since June 2021, according to The Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro.
According to Rob Warnock, a senior research associate at Apartment List, March’s rent increase is due in part to the fluctuating and seasonal nature of rent prices in college towns. He said college towns typically see much more volatile rent prices because of high demand and turnover as residents move in and out of the area more frequently every year.
“When we look at Chapel Hill and plot rent growth over the state of North Carolina or the broader metro area, we tend to see broader ups and downs,” Warnock said.
In warmer months, Warnock said people tend to relocate more frequently, which creates more demand for vacant units and higher prices.
“This is the time of year when rent prices do typically go up,” Warnock said. “So the rent increases are not counter to our expectations. We’re seeing this across the country — the beginning of the busy season for the rental market.”
About 70 to 80 percent of all moves in the United States occur in the spring and summer.
Warnock added that March's dramatic increase is not necessarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though disruption in construction of new housing during the first two years of the pandemic as well as higher inflation caused rent increases in the Chapel Hill area, he said rent growth patterns are starting to return to pre-pandemic dynamics.
“The market is clearly more expensive than it was before, but price changes now have stabilized,” Warnock said.