Mar 7, 2023 - News

Charlotte renters pay a “singles tax” of nearly $8,000 per year to live alone

Photo: Andy Weber/Axios

It costs to live alone in Charlotte — $7,915 more per year, to be exact, according to an analysis from Zillow.

The analysis ranked Charlotte in the top 20 for U.S. cities with the highest so-called “singles tax.”

Why it matters: 47% of Charlotte’s households are renter-occupied. Many renters are grappling with growing rent prices (they’re up 7.5% year-over-year) — but they’ll feel the sting even more living alone.

Context: The “singles tax” isn’t an actual tax but instead a term to describe the additional cost one can expect to pay per year for renting a one-bedroom apartment alone, and not splitting that cost with someone else.

Of note: Charlotte is becoming a “regular steady market” in terms of rent growth,” according to Zillow senior economist Nicole Bachaud.

By the numbers: The average rent of a one-bedroom in Charlotte is $1,765 as of January, per Zillow.

  • Living alone in a one-bedroom costs a Charlotte renter a “singles tax” of $7,915 per year.
  • Cohabitating renters in Charlotte save a collective $15,829 in the same apartment.

What they’re saying: The best way to avoid this tax is with the help of additional renters, Bachaud said.

  • “If you live alone, you have to pay the full rent versus if you live with a significant other or roommates, you’re only paying half of that burden,” she added.

It’s worth noting the more people you have in one rental, the lower the rent burden will be on each individual. For this specific analysis, Zillow only looked at one-bedroom apartments — hence the “singles tax” label.

Yes, but: Some apartments in Charlotte are cheaper than the traditional one-bedroom units in many parts of town. Studios, for instance, normally cost a bit less. Micro-apartments, cropping up in areas like South End and NoDa, boast lower costs without all of the amenities of other high-end buildings.

Zoom in: Charlotte’s 28202 — which includes Uptown — has the highest “singles tax” of $892 per month on a one-bedroom, which typically rents for $1,784 per month, according to data Zillow provided to Axios.

  • Conversely, 28214 — which includes northwest Charlotte, near the Whitewater Center — has the lowest “singles tax” of $414.50 on a one-bedroom rental of $828.90 per month.

Zoom out: Of all major U.S. metros, New York City has the highest “singles tax” at $19,500 per year. On the flip side, Detroit and Cleveland have the lowest at $4,483 and $4,387, respectively.

The top ten cities with the highest “singles tax.” Photo: Courtesy of Zillow.

The bottom line: Living alone has its perks, but it also comes with a hefty price tag. If you’re a single renter who wouldn’t mind saving nearly $8,000 a year, then it may be time to mingle (for a roommate, at least).

Related Axios story: Charlotte renters are paying more for smaller apartments compared to those in Raleigh


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