Development Beat: Raleigh Rental Report

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Thursday, June 3 2016

There’s no question that one of the biggest issues facing the City of Raleigh today is a lack of affordable housing: a problem exacerbated by a string of affordable apartment demolitions over the past year.

While many of those complexes were simply replaced with other, albeit higher-end, and more expensive apartments, we were curious to find out just how many rental units are available to the 450,000+ residents of Raleigh.

The simple answer? Just shy of 50,000.

A map of all the rental units in Raleigh

A map of all the rental units in Raleigh

Does this mean that only about 10 percent of Raleigh residents are able to rent instead of own?  Not exactly. We’re only counting the number of total units; there was no breakdown available on how many bedrooms each of these units offers. Even that’s not a great indicator: plenty of people live two to a one-bedroom apartment, or five to a three-bedroom house, etc.

My guess? The number of renters in Raleigh is probably close to, if not higher than, the national average of 37 percent of the population.

The City of Raleigh maintains a “Rental Registry” database that tracks all of the (legal) rental properties registered within City limits. Per that database, there’s about 18,500 rental structures — single family, town home, duplex, mobile home, apartments & condos — scattered around the City.

We’ve created individual maps tracking the locations of each of these rental types, which we’ll link to below. I’d embed them, but I think that would really slow down loading this page.

Before we get into the boring breakdown of rental types, here’s a list of the maps we made. One interesting function I’d recommend playing around with is the “Heat Map” option, which shows where the highest density of a particular type of rental unit is located.

  1. All Rental Properties in Raleigh: As stated, this map contains listings for all 18,507 rental structures we were able to locate. You can filter by type if you want, or just go to the individual maps below.
  2. Apartment Complexes in Raleigh: A map of all of Raleigh’s apartment complexes.
  3. Single-Family Home Rental Properties: A map of all of Raleigh’s single-family home rental properties.
  4. Town Home Rental Properties: A map of all of Raleigh’s town home rental properties.
  5. Multi-Family Rental Properties: A map of all of Raleigh’s designated “multi-family” rental properties.
  6. Mobile Home Rental Properties: A map of all of Raleigh’s mobile home rental properties.
  7. Duplex Rental Properties: A map of all of Raleigh’s duplex rental properties.
  8. Condo Rental Properties: A map of all of Raleigh’s condominium rental properties.

Single-family home rentals, for example, appear to be the most prevalent in Southeast Raleigh, while the highest density clusters of duplexes seem to lie off Western Boulevard near the Raleigh/Cary border.

As we mentioned earlier, while there’s about 50,000 rental “units” available, there are only about 18,500 rental “structures” that exist in Raleigh.

Of those, the majority are single-family and town homes. According the rental registry, there are 8,537 single family homes available for rent in Raleigh, and 3,610 townhomes.

A heatmap of single-family home rentals in Raleigh

A heatmap of single-family home rentals in Raleigh

Unfortunately, the registry does not break down the number of bedrooms available in these homes, and while that data is available, I’d have to look it up on a case-by-case basis. No thanks.

Down at the other end of the scale, both in terms of desirability and availability, are the mobile home rentals. At a measly total of 265, here are fewer of these than any of the other rental types, and as with single-family and town homes, there’s no indication of how many bedrooms each of these contains.

While the category with the third-highest amount of structures is condominiums, with 3,262 listed, we don’t want to make the claim that there are actually 3,262 condo buildings in Raleigh. First off, that’s ridiculous. Second, the condominium categorization is a broad one; unlike with the apartments, where I was able to filter out multiple listings for the same property, so be sure to take the 3,262 figure with a grain of salt.

Speaking of apartments, we did manage to narrow those down, and while I’m not sure there’s actually 589 apartment complexes in Raleigh, it’s a lot more realistic a number than 3,262.

Slightly more interesting is the fact that the apartment complexes contribute 26,703 units to the aforementioned total of 50,000.

Map of all apartment complexes in Raleigh

Map of all apartment complexes in Raleigh

If you’re curious how I came to that figure: I filtered out all the duplicate geo-coordinates, then removed duplicates of the “official” property address and finished up by sorting through the property owners and making sure I didn’t have the same property listed twice.

So 589 isn’t meant to be an exact figure, but it’s probably not too far off. Remember, not every apartment complex in Raleigh is on the same size or scale as say, the SkyHouse downtown.

This leaves us with two remaining categories:  duplexes and “multifamily” structures.

Not as popular as town homes or single-family units, there’s a total of 1,109 duplexes in Raleigh, although these 1,109 structures contribute a total of 2,138 units to the city’s overall availability.

Finally, we’ve got the “multifamily” category, which seems to be something of a catchall for buildings that don’t quite fit into the other categories. According to the rental registry, there’s a total of 1,141 of the multifamily developments in Raleigh, which are made up of a total of 4,075 individual units.

So what’s the point? Does having a decent amount of available rental stock help alleviate Raleigh’s affordable housing shortage? Yes. Is renting generally more affordable than owning? Yes. But take a look at this chart. Look at the average age of all these buildings; when these old structures eventually get torn down, what are the odds they’re replaced with something more expensive, vs. something available at the same or a lower price point?

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