Construction rushing to keep up with downtown Raleigh population boom

April 18, 2018 GMT

Just one week after the State of the City address, Raleigh leaders are now focusing on the state of downtown as more people move in and apartments fill up.

According to a report released Tuesday, downtown residential population has grown 35 percent since 2014, leading to a 95 percent occupancy rate for area apartments.

The area is so popular that Angelo Galiber, who didn’t get a chance to visit Raleigh before moving to North Carolina, rented his place in the Warehouse District sight unseen.

“I guess being new to the city here, I wanted to be in the heart of things, he said. “I’m in love with this place.”

On average, downtown Raleigh residents pay $1,444 per month in rent, but many millennials said the cost of living downtown evens out.

“What I like about living downtown is that I can walk to and from work, which saves me parking, where as before, when I was kind of living near Crabtree Valley Mall, I just spent a lot on parking,” resident Grant Pendergraft said.

It’s not just college kids opting for city living. A lot of empty-nesters tired of maintaining large houses and lawns are also moving downtown.

People are moving into the apartments just as quickly as they are being built.

“To be at 95 percent occupied after having added 1,800 units in just a three year period is pretty remarkable,” said Bill King, senior vice president of planning and development for the Downtown Raleigh alliance.

Thousands of additional units are under construction, but the question for City Council members is how to make them affordable.

“It’s at the top of the mind for council and I think their main priority is figuring out how to increase supply of affordable housing,” King said.

City leaders said there is a plan for an affordable housing summit later this year.