Wilmington rents continue to rise faster than national average


By Sky Temperato


With its population on the rise, Wilmington’s rent is growing at a rate that nearly doubles the national average, according to a report an apartment rental service released this week. 

Rents in Wilmington have increased by 4.2 percent, surpassing the national rate of just 1.6 percent, placing Wilmington with the fifth fastest growth rate among medium-sized cities in the country, according to the report from Apartment List, a website that helps renters find available properties. Over the past five years, rents in Wilmington have increased by 10.8 percent, exceeding the national rate, the report said. A two-bedroom apartment in Wilmington rents, on average, for $970 a month. 

Wilmington is not alone in rapid rent growth, as cities across North Carolina are also experiencing these price increases. 

Wilmington’s 4.2 percent year-over-year growth rate comes in second to Cary’s 4.4 percent growth. Cary was reported by Apartment List as the fastest growing and most expensive city in the state with a median two-bedroom rent of $1,290. High Point and Durham follow close behind with growth rates around 3.8 percent and 3.7 percent. 

The report comes as both the city of Wilmington and the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners look to address housing disparity issues. In the recent budget cycle, both have devoted funding to launch the Wilmington/New Hanover County Workforce Housing Advisory Committee, which will study the issue and offer policy proposals to the city and county. 

The issue of affordable housing among working-class home buyers is a result of Wilmington’s popular housing market, which was worsened by Hurricane Florence.  The hurricane rendered several apartment buildings and lower-priced homes unlivable, leaving many owners with nowhere to go. 

Real estate professionals had previously made suggestions on how to address the issue, but lacked support from local governments, Jody Wainio, a realtor with Keller Williams and vice president of the Wilmington Realtor Foundation, said in January. 

One recommendation for establishing a permanent committee to address the issues has since been adopted with the creation of the Wilmington/New Hanover County Workforce Housing Advisory Committee. 

The thirteen-member committee was formed with the goal of organizing studies on workforce housing and public opinion, as well as a campaign to promote public awareness of workforce housing. They also plan to make recommendations to the Appointing Authorities and other organizations on potential solutions to the lack of affordable workforce housing. 

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