Raleigh’s had a housing boom during the last ten years. The 2010 Census data shows the city’s housing units increased an incredible 45.9 percent since 2000.
Although today’s nationwide housing market is impacted by foreclosures and a lack of affordable options for those with limited incomes, Raleigh has fared better than other cities through the economic downturn.
Experts say that growth will continue and while rents will increase, plenty of options remain for median incomes.
As of 2009, the median income in the Raleigh-Cary area was $76,900 and the median income for Wake County was $63,770, with 10.2 percent of the county population below the poverty level.
According to the National Association of Realtors, the median home price for Raleigh in the first quarter of 2011 was $229,900, compared to the United States median price of $158,700.
The N.C. Housing Coalition found 39 percent of renters in the Raleigh-Cary area are unable to afford rent on a two-bedroom apartment at the fair market rent established by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development for the region. Households earning minimum wage in 2009 could only afford $341 in rental payments — almost $300 less than the fair market rent.
But Raleigh rents are going up, according to the Triangle Area Residential Realty Report. Average rents from January through May 2011 were 11 percent higher than the same period in 2010. The area’s two month supply of rentals is considered low and rent prices are expected to rise until supplies stabilizes.
HUD’s definition of affordable housing is housing that costs no more than 30 percent of a household’s income. For this definition, housing costs include not only rent or mortgage but utilities, and for homeowners they include taxes and insurance as well, said Margaret Matrone, director of government relations and communications of the N.C. Housing Finance Agency.
More affordable options may soon be available, though. Linda Trevor, president of theRaleigh Regional Association of Realtors, noted, “Builders that originally planned to target higher incomes have changed their plans to create homes that are more attractive to the general buyer right now.”
She said Raleigh’s market is affected by harder hit markets across the nation.
“I know of several households across the country that would move here in an instant, but they are waiting for their homes to sell,” she said. “Once markets improve elsewhere, we’ll see an increase locally.”