Thursday, April 17, 2014

Charlotte rising on lists of top cities for millennials, new college grads

If you've been wondering what's up with the surge in apartment complex construction in Charlotte, particularly in and around uptown, a couple of new studies might help explain why developers have pushed apartment-building numbers locally to an all-time high. is out this week with its Top 10 cities for recent college graduates, and Charlotte landed in the No. 2 spot, behind only Denver, Co. The list factored in both affordability of average rents for one-bedroom apartments, plus median income and unemployment rates. It also assessed whether a city had "a vibrant culture catering to active young professionals," according to a press release from the site.

Also out this week is's analysis of best cities and neighborhoods for millennials., which grew out of the college rating site, offers rankings and reviews of neighborhoods, schools and metro areas. Charlotte landed at No. 18 on its analysis of the 25 best cities for millennials. (Raleigh came in at No. 12).

Every time I ask a developer about the risk of an apartment bubble locally, they point to the kind of demographic trends animating both these reports. The young folks are coming in droves, the developers say, and they aren't ready to buy houses.

What do you think? Are enough young adults arriving in Charlotte to support the many new apartments going up around the city?


Anonymous said...

"Are enough young adults arriving in Charlotte to support the many new apartments going up around the city?"

At the moment, yes. The Multifamily market is in balance. If half of the projects which have been announced recently get built in the next year then I suspect we will see rents drop significantly.

Ultimately a decline in rents due to oversupply may be the best thing that could happen to urban development in CLT. It will allow many of the people who were priced out of urban living an opportunity. Our in town neighborhoods will become much healthier and more interesting.

Anonymous said...

This is good news but the question is: will the rents be affordable to them? Rents are already too high as it is. Even some of the dumpier apartments charge too much.

Anonymous said...

Rents are high, but keep in mind that most millenials have roommates.

Most of my coworkers pay $500-700/mo with a roommate. That's not that bad. Some of the new places going up in center city/south end are more expensive than that, but most are not.

With all the new projects coming online in the next year to year and a half, I expect to see rents drop some. There hasn't been much competition in these markets until recently because there were only 1 or 2 buildings under construction at a time. Now there are several and they all want to fill their rooms.

Once this round of building is done, we'll probably see a lull in major projects for a while. Most of the newer projects will be smaller infill projects that are <50 units per building.

Anonymous said...

These rankings are a joke. Of the 30 largest metro areas, Charlotte still has one of the highest unemployment rates. Furthermore, the number and percentage of people within Charlotte with their bachelor's degree or higher is lagging many other metropolitan areas. Nice try though -

Anonymous said...

Odd list. Is this list based on metropolitan areas or cities only? If it's by metro area, then Dallas and Ft. Worth should be one. If it's by city proper only, then the city of Charlotte shouldn't even be listed as it's unemployment rate (city-only, not metro) is above 7%.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Frazier should look into the research behind these rankings before writing about it.

Anonymous said...

To the people above saying Charlotte has a high unemployment rate, that’s actually not the case any longer. Since Gov McCrory and crew in Raleigh started cooking the books regarding the number of people on the unemployment rolls, our unemployment rate has tanked. Charlotte’s rate now is just 6.4% which is right in line with cities like Pittsburgh, Denver and San Jose, places that have bragged for the past few years of not being hit that hard by the recession.

Anonymous said...

When discussing unemployment rate, you also have to take population growth into consideration.

Charlotte is still adding tens of thousands of people every year. The population growth has roughly mirrored job growth for several years, and many of these people are moving here without jobs (or taking jobs that locals otherwise would have gotten).

Charlotte's employment numbers are at all time highs. Simply looking at the unemployment rate is a terrible way to judge the area's job market.

Anonymous said...

It would interesting to hear why developers feel more confident in doing the next rental multi-family project than the first condo project in 6-7 years. I have my theories concerning a clueless DC figurehead but would be curious to hear a developers view.

Bolyn McClung said...


…it has always been on someone’s list of the best places to live for one reason or another.

Recently it has been best for young professional African-Americans, homosexuals, the unemployed, homeless and now educated millennials. However it is also not the place for bicyclist, walkers, lovers of public transportation and those affected by spring pollen.

In the 1960s, 70s and 80s; Charlotte found itself the last stop for top managers of regional businesses. They came here on their ways to the top of the corporate ladder and found the reasons to stay here and raise a family outweighed moving on to the next stop.

I’m very encouraged that Charlotte as a destination will continue. Contrary to all the ink about education spending, if a family is in one of the upwardly mobile groups, public and private educational opportunities are excellent.

The ability and willingness of the County’s towns to take on bond indebtedness for public infrastructure is healthy. That insures there is something to generate community excitement and awe.

Unless something unexpected, such as the death of the hub-and-spoke airline system that would kill the airport, I can’t imagine Charlotte falling off any Best list for years to come.

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...

The curse of liberalism in what used to be the City of Churches.
The Queen City is now known as Queer City.
Un-emasculated married homosexual Obama has also given America a new nickname called Queer Nation.

Anonymous said...

"Charlotte’s rate now is just 6.4% which is right in line with cities like Pittsburgh, Denver and San Jose, places that have bragged for the past few years of not being hit that hard by the recession." The 6.4% figure is for the METRO AREA, not the city. The poster of above the CITY'S unemployment rate.