10 Best Rental Markets in North Carolina [2023]

Michele Lawrie, CREO - HomeAbroad  by Michele Lawrie
12 min read
Best rental markets in north carolina

Are you ready to take your first step into real estate investment? Or perhaps you’re a seasoned investor looking to expand your portfolio? Whatever your situation, choosing the right rental market is crucial.

In this blog post, we will explore the diverse and profitable rental markets in North Carolina, offering excellent opportunities.

Whether you prefer a bustling city or a charming coastal town, there’s something for everyone. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the top rental markets in North Carolina.

Overview of North Carolina Real Estate Market

The North Carolina real estate market, is thriving, providing ample options for buyers, sellers, and investors.

The state has seen a steady increase in apartment costs and sales volume, with the average property value rising to almost $310,000, an 8.2% increase from the previous year.

Home values appreciation in the last decade
Home Value Trend in NC. Source: Zillow

The state’s job growth rate is expected to continue steadily, as it is projected to add more than 300,000 jobs by 2028. This, coupled with its business-friendly environment, makes North Carolina an attractive destination for job seekers and investors alike.

The state’s tourism industry has been growing steadily, with over 40 million visitors in 2022 and tourism revenue of $33 billion, boosting the demand for vacation rental property.

While demand remains high, various properties are still available at affordable prices across the state. The diverse geography of North Carolina – from the beaches to the mountains – offers a range of living and renting options for those interested in everything from a bustling lifestyle to a peaceful rural retreat.

Overall, the North Carolina real estate market continues to grow, making it an exciting time for those looking to enter it.

10 Best Places to Buy Rental Property in North Carolina

North Carolina is one of the country’s best states that offers many investment property opportunities, with diverse rental markets catering to landlords and tenants.

But where should you invest your wealth? Our experts have conducted extensive research to compile a list of the best rental markets in North Carolina based on factors like job growth, population growth, affordability, and rental demand that you simply can’t afford to miss.

From bustling Charlotte to charming Wilmington, each market has unique features that make it a wise investment choice. So, whether you’re an experienced real estate investor or a first-time renter, this list is your key to unlocking the potential of North Carolina’s thriving real estate investment opportunities. Get ready to make the most of lucrative rental property and maximize your returns with our expert insights.

1. Cary

One of the Best Rental Markets in North Carolina, Raleigh-Cary, Metropolitan Statistical Area

Cary, NC, is a town located in Wake County, North Carolina, and is one of the fastest-growing communities in the state. With a population of over 180,000, Cary is known for its excellent schools, low crime rates, and high quality of life.

Job Opportunities:

Cary has a strong economy, with major healthcare, technology, and education employers. The city has several corporate headquarters, including SAS Institute and Epic Games.

Attractions:

Cary has several parks and outdoor attractions, including the Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve and Bond Park. Its cultural attractions include the Cary Arts Center and the Koka Booth Amphitheatre.

Median home value$600,000
Appreciation in sale price (yoy)3.5%
Median rent per month$2200
Average rent per month$1664
Rent increase20%
Rental vacancy rate7.7%
Median household income$113,782
Median price per square foot$249
Key Statistics: Housing Market Insights in Cary, NC

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2. Charlotte

Bank of America Plaza, Downtown - Charlotte, NC

Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina, with an estimated population of 2,267,000.

Job Opportunities:

Charlotte is a major financial center and home to many corporate headquarters, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo. It also has a strong presence in the energy and healthcare industries.

Attractions:

Charlotte is known for its museums, including the Mint Museum and the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. It also has several parks and outdoor attractions, including the U.S. National Whitewater Center and the Freedom Park.

Median home value$375,263
Appreciation in sale price (yoy)23.5%
Median rent per month$1447
Average rent per month$1632
Average rent increase2.9%
Rental vacancy rate6.8%
Median household income$68,387
Median price per square foot$228
Key Statistics: Housing Market Insights in Charlotte, NC

3. Raleigh

Raleigh Skyline

The second most populous city in North Carolina, Raleigh, is a vibrant and growing metropolis with a thriving economy, a rich cultural scene, and an estimated population of 472,540.

Job Opportunities:

Raleigh and Chapel Hill are two vibrant North Carolina Research Triangle cities. Chapel Hill, known for its prestigious university, and Raleigh, the state capital, offer a range of cultural attractions, thriving business communities, and diverse residential neighborhoods. Together, they form a dynamic region with plenty of opportunities for residents and visitors alike.

Research Triangle Park, or RTP, is a research and technology park in North Carolina. It is home to over 250 businesses, including some of the world’s most significant technology and biotech companies. With its highly educated workforce and innovative environment, RTP has become a hub for research and development.

Attractions:

The second most populous city of NC has several museums, including the North Carolina Museum of Art and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. It has several parks and outdoor attractions, including the Umstead State Park, Golf Courses, and the Neuse River Trail.

Median sale price$420,000
Appreciation in sale price (yoy)2.6%
Median rent per month$1291
Average rent per month$1612
Average rent increase1.7%
Rental vacancy rate6.4%
Median household income$72,996
Median price per square foot$223
Key Statistics: Housing Market Insights in Raleigh, NC

4. Durham

Durham, NC - Downtown

Durham is a city in central North Carolina, known for its rich history, cultural diversity, and vibrant arts and entertainment scene, making it a great place to invest. It has an estimated population of 434,000.

Job Opportunities:

Durham is known for its healthcare and technology industries, with major employers including Duke University and Hospital, IBM, and Biogen. The city is home to several universities and the Durham Bulls minor league baseball team; it is also recognized for its innovative startup culture and culinary delights.

Attractions:

Durham has several museums, including the Nasher Museum of Art and the Museum of Life and Science. It also has several parks and outdoor attractions, including the Eno River State Park and the Sarah P. Duke Gardens.

Median sale price$379,313
Appreciation in sale price (yoy)2.7%
Median rent per month$1564
Average rent per month$1575
Average rent increase25%
Rental vacancy rate6.2%
Median household income$77,491
Median price per square foot$234
Key Statistics: Housing Market Insights in Durham, NC

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5. Wilmington

Riverfornt - Wilmington, NC

Wilmington, NC, is a charming coastal city known for its picturesque riverfront, vibrant downtown, and stunning beaches, with a rich history and an estimated population of 124,959.

Job Opportunities:

Wilmington has a diverse economy, with major employers in healthcare, education, and tourism. The city has several colleges and universities, including the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Attractions:

Wilmington has several museums, including the Cape Fear Museum of History and Science and the Battleship North Carolina. It also has several parks and outdoor attractions, including the Airlie Gardens and the Carolina Beach State Park.

Median sale price$376,635
Appreciation in sale price (yoy)10.3%
Median rent per month$1351
Average rent per month$1421
Average rent increase10%
Rental vacancy rate4.6%
Median household income$54,000
Median price per square foot$247
Key Statistics: Housing Market Insights in Wilmington, NC

6. Asheville

Asheville, NC - Aerial view

Asheville, NC, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a vibrant city famous for its arts and culture, outdoor activities, and craft beer scene, with an estimated population of 371,000.

Job Opportunities:

Asheville has a diverse economy, with major employers in healthcare, education, and tourism. The city is known for its arts and culture scene, with many artists and musicians calling it home.

Attractions:

Asheville has several museums, including the Asheville Art Museum and the Thomas Wolfe Memorial. It has several parks and outdoor attractions, including the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Biltmore Estate.

Median sale price$442,767
Appreciation in sale price (yoy)7.2%
Median rent per month$1558
Average rent per month$1336
Average rent increase4.2%
Rental vacancy rate3.7%
Median household income$58,193
Median price per square foot$298
Key Statistics: Housing Market Insights in Asheville, NC

7. Greensboro

Skyline - Greensboro, NC

Greensboro is a city in North Carolina with a population of over 300,000. It is known for its rich history, cultural attractions, and diverse economy.

Job Opportunities:

The city is home to multiple colleges and universities, including North Carolina A&T State University, and offers a range of job opportunities in industries such as healthcare, education, and technology.

Attractions:

Greensboro has several museums, including the Greensboro Science Center and the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. It has several parks and outdoor attractions, including the Greensboro Arboretum and Bog Garden.

Median sale price$239,775
Appreciation in sale price (yoy)9.5%
Median rent per month$1264
Average rent per month$1239
Average rent increase3.5%
Rental vacancy rate3%
Median household income$51,667
Median price per square foot$162
Key Statistics: Housing Market Insights in Greensboro, NC

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8. Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem, NC

Winston-Salem is a city in North Carolina with a rich history and an estimated population of 252,274.

Job Opportunities:

Winston-Salem has a diverse economy, with major employers in healthcare, education, and manufacturing. The city has several colleges and universities, including Wake Forest University and Winston-Salem State University.

Attractions:

Winston-Salem has several museums, including the Reynolda House Museum of American Art and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. It has several parks and outdoor attractions, including Tanglewood Park and the Old Salem Museums and Gardens.

Median sale price$232,856
Appreciation in sale price (yoy)11.8%
Median rent per month$1073
Average rent per month$1198
Average rent increase2.3%
Rental vacancy rate9.9%
Median household income$52,607
Median price per square foot$159
Key Statistics: Housing Market Insights in Winston-Salem, NC

9. Greenville

Greenville, North Carolina

Greenville is a fantastic destination for anyone looking to invest in real estate in North Carolina, with a population of 90,000 as of 2023.

Job Opportunities:

Greenville has a diverse economy, with major employers in healthcare, education, and manufacturing. Home to East Carolina University, one of the largest universities in the state, the city is a popular destination for students, faculty, and staff.

Attractions:

Greenville has several parks and outdoor attractions, including the River Park North and the Greenville Greenway. It has several cultural attractions, including the Greenville Museum of Art and the Magnolia Arts Center.

Median sale price$220,000
Appreciation in sale price (yoy)10%
Median rent per month$1450
Average rent per month$962
Average rent increase22%
Rental vacancy rate6.8%
Median household income$44,064
Median price per square foot$145
Key Statistics: Housing Market Insights in Greenville, NC

10. Fayetteville

Downtown City Centre, Fayetteville

Fayetteville is a city in North Carolina, located in Cumberland County, with an estimated population of 355,000.

Job Opportunities:

Fayetteville has a diverse economy, with major healthcare, education, and military employers. The city is home to Fort Bragg, one of the largest military installations in the world.

Attractions:

Fayetteville has several museums, including the Airborne & Special Operations Museum and the Fayetteville Transportation Museum. It also has several parks and outdoor attractions, including the Cape Fear River Trail and the Carvers Creek State Park.

Median sale price$188,606
Appreciation in sale price (yoy)16.9%
Median rent per month$1055
Average rent per month$914
Average rent increase3.7%
Rental vacancy rate8.4%
Median household income$48,923
Median price per square foot$132
Key Statistics: Housing Market Insights in Fayetteville

Find the best investment loan lenders in North Carolina.

Why Consider Investing in North Carolina?

Before diving into the specifics of the rental market, it’s important to understand the various factors that can impact it. Let’s explore the thriving NC’s upbeat rental market.

1. Vibrant Economy:

North Carolina boasts a diverse and thriving economy anchored by industries like finance, technology, and biotech, which creates a high demand for rental properties. In addition, NC has offered a long-term appreciation of 8.3% y/y in the last decade.

2. Population Growth:

The state’s population is projected to reach 14 million by 2050, with cities like Raleigh and Charlotte seeing explosive growth and a high renter population, creating a steady demand for rental properties.

3. Affordable Housing:

Unlike other hot investment markets, North Carolina offers affordable rental housing, providing an excellent entry point for investors, with a median sale price of $340,300.

4. Robust University System:

North Carolina’s prestigious universities, such as Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill, attract a large student population, creating a stable demand for rental properties.

5. Tourist Destination:

From Wilmington’s beaches to Asheville’s mountains, North Carolina’s stunning landscapes, and attractions make it a prime location for short-term rental investments. The First State hosted 37 million visitors in 2020.

6. Landlord-Friendly Laws:

North Carolina has relatively favorable landlord-tenant laws, giving landlords more flexibility and legal protection when managing rental properties.

7. Infrastructure Development:

North Carolina invests heavily in infrastructure development, such as expanding airports and improving highways, creating new opportunities for investors to benefit from economic growth.

8. Low Tax Burden:

The state has a low tax burden, which helps boost returns for rental property investors and keeps costs low for tenants.

Furthermore, investing in rental properties can provide tax benefits such as deductions on mortgage interest, property taxes, and depreciation. Let’s look at each of these in more detail:

  • Rental property owners in North Carolina can deduct mortgage interest paid on their rental property loan, lowering their taxable income and reducing their tax liability.
  • Property taxes paid on rental properties in North Carolina can also be deducted, reducing the owner’s taxable income and lowering their tax liability.
  • Depreciation allows rental property owners in North Carolina to deduct a portion of the property’s value each year, significantly reducing their taxable income and lowering their tax liability.

Investing in North Carolina’s rental market provides an excellent opportunity to tap into the state’s growing economy, population, and tourism while enjoying landlord-friendly laws and a low tax burden.

Tips for Investing in NC Rentals Wisely and Effectively

Here are some tips for investing in North Carolina rentals wisely and effectively:

  • Do Your Research: Analyze market trends, vacancy rates, and rental prices before purchasing.
  • Choose the Right Location: Focus on areas with high demand, strong economic growth, and low crime rates.
  • Know Your Target Tenants: Tailor your rental property to the needs of your target tenants, whether they be families, students, or young professionals.
  • Set Realistic Rent Prices: Determine competitive rental prices based on location, property condition, and amenities. The price range for a 1-bedroom apartment in North Carolina is between $409 and $7,631.
  • Consider Property Management: Hiring a professional property management company can save time and ensure effective tenant screening, rent collection, and maintenance.
  • Plan for Maintenance and Repairs: Have a budget for regular maintenance and unexpected repairs to keep your rental property in good condition.
  • Build a Diverse Portfolio: Consider investing in various rental properties to spread risk and maximize returns.
  • Find the Right Lender: This can be crucial to your success as a rental property investor. Homeabroad can help you find the lender you need, understands your rental investment goals, and offers the best-suited loan terms, which further helps you secure financing and maximize your returns.

Investing in North Carolina rentals can be beneficial with careful planning, research, and execution. By following these tips and partnering with the right experts, you can invest wisely and effectively for long-term success.

No Income Verification Loan Options for Real Estate Investors in North Carolina

DSCR loans in North Carolina are ideal for real estate investors who don’t have collateral to secure a traditional mortgage

  • DSCR stands for Debt Service Coverage Ratio, which is the borrower’s ability to pay back the loan based on rental income and other sources of income
  • DSCR loans in North Carolina typically require a ratio of 1 or higher to qualify
  • These loans often have higher interest rates and require more documentation than traditional mortgages
  • However, they can be an excellent alternative for real estate investors who don’t have enough equity or other assets to use as collateral

Working with a lender specializing in DSCR loans can help you navigate the process and find the best loan for your needs. HomeAbroad can connect you with a large network of dependable DSCR lenders with a wealth of experience. You can easily contact them at no cost by contacting HomeAbroad.

US Mortgages with no US credit history

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Wrap-Up & Next Steps

As we conclude this blog post, it is clear that North Carolina offers a promising opportunity for real estate investors. The state’s real estate market is thriving, and several cities are particularly well-suited for rental investments.

And if you are considering investing in real estate in North Carolina, now is a great time to take the first step. You can succeed in this growing market with the right approach and resources.

Let HomeAbroad help you find the best DSCR loan lenders in North Carolina so that you can start your investment journey swiftly.

US Mortgages with no US credit history

Connect with the Best DSCR Lenders

Get quotes from multiple lenders to compare and pick the best one!

FAQs

1. Is it Worth Buying a House in North Carolina?

Yes, it is worth buying a house in North Carolina. The state’s real estate market has been steadily growing, with strong rental demand, affordable home prices, and low competition in many cities.

2. What is the Best Area of North Carolina to Live in?

The best area to live in North Carolina depends on individual preferences and priorities. However, some popular choices include Raleigh for job opportunities and vibrant city life, Charlotte for a booming economy and cultural attractions, etc.

3. Is NC a Rent Control State?

No, North Carolina does not have statewide rent control laws. Landlords can increase rent as much as they want if the rent increase is not based on discrimination.

However, some cities in North Carolina, such as Chapel Hill and Durham, have their own rent control ordinances.

4. Is NC Property Tax High?

North Carolina’s property tax rate is relatively low compared to other states. The average property tax rate in North Carolina is 0.84%, below the national average of 0.99%.

5. Is Charlotte, NC, Real Estate Property Overvalued?

As of May 2023, Charlotte’s real estate market remains strong, with prices increasing steadily over the past few years. Ultimately, the value of Charlotte’s real estate will depend on various factors, such as local economic conditions and supply and demand.

6. Where is the Best Place to be a Landlord in NC?

The best place to be a landlord in NC depends on factors such as job growth, population growth, affordability, and rental demand. Some of the top rental markets in NC include Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, and Wilmington, among others.

7. What Rental Properties are Most Profitable?

The most profitable rental properties in North Carolina vary depending on location, but properties that are close to universities, employment centers, and tourist attractions tend to generate higher rental income and appreciation.

Michele Lawrie, CREO - HomeAbroad
About the author:
Michele Lawrie is the Chief Real Estate Officer at HomeAbroad and has worked as a real estate professional for the past 15 years, helping domestic and foreign national clients navigate the home buying and selling process.
She is passionate about real estate and strives to educate read more...