Can you afford rent in Charlotte? A new report outlines the salary needed to live in the Queen City

“Rent has gone up since 2019, like $600 for a one-bedroom,” said Brittany Johnson of Plaza Midwood.
Charlotte remains number 16 on the rent list from last year, but data shows rent is steadily increasing.
Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 8:28 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - There is a laundry list of reasons to rent in Charlotte, but does it make sense based on your salary?

There is no question Charlotte is cheaper than big cities like New York and San Francisco, but that doesn’t mean it’s affordable.

A new report from financial company, SmartAsset shows for some people, the answer is no.

Looking at the average rent of one and two-bedroom apartments versus the salary you need to live there, Charlotte is in the top 20, ranking at number 16 in the 2022 Edition of Income Needed to Pay Rent in America’s Largest Cities.

People living in the growing Charlotte neighborhood of Plaza Midwood are feeling the pressure to pay up. The higher rental prices are topped with inflation and the higher cost of living, so people are using a larger portion of their salary to pay rent.

“This year we were relatively okay, but as a trend, it’s very concerning,” said Andrew Stone of Plaza Midwood.

The cost of rent is on everyone’s mind in Charlotte as prices steadily increase year-over-year.

Stone said, “having being here a year now and seeing prices go up as we were just evaluating, re-upping for our rental lease, was seeing sizable increases, about 15 percent or more.”

Charlotte remains number 16 on the list from last year, but data shows rent, and the income needed to afford that rent has increased significantly.

“So I’ve been able to make it work and be comfortable, but I know that for me, the rent has gone up since 2019, like $600 for a one-bedroom,” said Brittany Johnson of Plaza Midwood.

Related: Creating affordable housing as the price of rent outpaces wage increases

SmartAsset shows:

The average cost for a one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte is $1,435 a month, meaning an income of $61,479 a year is needed.

The average for a two-bedroom apartment in Charlotte is $1,647 a month, meaning an income of $70,582 a year is needed.

“Those prices probably more on the independent landlords, individual buildings, tenants, things like that, a lot of what we call luxury condos apartments are probably closer to like 2,000 or more,” said Stone.

Huckin added, “Oh, it’s more than that, to have a house with 2-bedrooms, it’ll at least be like two grand.”

It’s recommended that people pay less than 30 percent of their income on housing to prevent from being cost-burdened, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD.

The 2021 version of the SmartAsset report showed one-bedrooms in Charlotte averaging $1,236 with a needed income of $52,964 to comfortably afford rent. Two bedrooms averaged $1,444 with a needed income of $61,879.

Anja Solum, a data journalist, and author of the SmartAsset study said, “The income needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Charlotte was less than $62,000 in our previous version of this study. That figure jumped nearly $9,000 in this year’s study. While this is a significant change, other cities in our study experienced even larger increases.”

WBTV asked SmartAsset what does the increase in prices mean for renters?

“This means that a growing number of people have less money to spend on other basic necessities such as healthcare or even groceries,” said Solum.

The biggest question is: how are people making it with higher rent prices and the same salary?

Stone said, “we had to go back and crunch the numbers and think through, what’s our restaurant budget, other items, discretionary spending.”

Johnson said, “don’t be afraid to get a second job in the service industry especially, there’s a lot of flexibility, a lot of money to be made.”

Other options include, “having roommates and having a lot of side hustles,” said Huckin.