Rising rent costs in Raleigh pricing out minimum-wage, low-income residents

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The minimum wage doesn’t cover affordable rent anywhere in the country, according to a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Experts recommend that rent should not be more than 30 percent of monthly income, which means someone making minimum wage in North Carolina should aim for $377 in housing expenses.

According to the NLIHC, the average rent for a one-bedroom in the Raleigh metro area (Wake, Johnston, and Franklin counties) is about three times that at just over $1,000.

The journey to finding a new rental was far from enjoyable for Brean Prefontaine.

“It was a horrible time looking for a place to rent,” Prefontaine said.

She said she was looking for an upgrade to her apartment near North Carolina State University, but is ending up in the same building because it’s more affordable.

She makes between $40,000 to $50,000 a year.

“I actually looked over in Apex ’cause I thought that would be better, and the one-bedroom was like $1,500,” she said. “I thought was insane, and then I looked all over Raleigh — yeah prices were kind of high.”

Jonathan Pitts works in health care and said his current rental is about 35 to 40 percent of his household income between him and his wife.

“I’ve never had the luxury of living by myself just ’cause I couldn’t afford it, you know, so I don’t even know how that would be possible really at this point to try to live by yourself,” Pitts said.

According to the real estate site Zumper, the average rent for a one-bedroom in Raleigh went up 7 percent since last year.

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