May 3, 2023 - Real Estate

How Charlotte rent grew from $400 to $1,400 in 20 years

Uptown skyline

Photo: Andy Weber/Axios

Rent prices have surged in Charlotte. We recently asked readers about how much they spent on their first apartment in Charlotte.

Spoiler alert: It was way less than what they’re spending today.

What’s happening: As Charlotte’s population has exploded over the years, so too has the cost of living here.

  • Depending on when you moved here, you might’ve experienced what current renters might consider the unimaginable — relatively cheap rent.

Why it matters: The median rent in the city is $1,493 and prices are now up 2.9% year-over-year, according to Apartment List

  • Yes, but: Rental rates weren’t always this high.
  • Some readers took us down a trip through memory lane to remind us how affordable it used to be to live in Charlotte.

Some of these responses have been edited for clarity.


“I moved to Charlotte in 1995 and rented a room in Dilworth for $300. In 1996, I moved to uptown and paid $600 flat for a huge two-bedroom overlooking 4th Ward Park. It came with a pool, a balcony and super fun neighbors.” — Elizabeth K. 


“My first apartment here was definitely less than $1000 and it was three bedrooms … that was 1998/1999.” — Elizabeth R.


“I moved into a one-bedroom apartment off Sharon Road West in 2002, and my rent was $450/month. I moved to Dilworth one year later, and my same-sized apartment was $725/month. It got bulldozed one year later to make room for the new Lowe’s.” — Kellie L.


“I moved to Charlotte in 2007. At that time in Ballantyne, a one-bedroom apartment with 1,000 square feet cost me $815!” — Jess H.


“My first real apartment was in 2009 and it $609/month. My last apartment was Uptown at $1,850 and now I’m in a house.” — Von C.


“I moved to Charlotte Halloween weekend of 2010 and paid $1,717 a month for a two bed, two bath on the top floor of the Ashton (back when it had a view and South End was unrecognizable from what it is now). I would be so curious to know what that unit is going for now. Astronomical, I’m sure!” — Beck W.


“I paid $400 for a one bedroom/one bath apartment which included water and basic cable at Village Lake Apartments in 2012 now called The Park at Ferentino.” — Stephanie L.


“I first moved in February 2015. I paid $1,254 per month for a 1 bedroom at Colonial Reserve in South End.” — Katrine H.


“I moved into Bradham at New Bern in July of 2021 and was paying a base rent of $1,651. I have since renewed my rent and that price was hiked up to a base rent of $1,919, and that was after negotiating. With the added fees, such as parking, pest control, valet trash, and a pet fee, I pay $2,006 per month before utilities. That is for a 737 sq ft “studio” apartment (A2 floorplan). I am also supposed to get another rent renewal letter in the coming days, and I have ever reason to believe that the base rent will be pushing $2,000” — Pitts P.

Zoom in: In recent years, some renters having been spending more than they’d like to admit.

Bottom line: Lower rents once existed in Charlotte — but you just had to be here to experience them. 


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Charlotte.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Charlotte stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Charlotte.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more