As we continue to put Hurricane Florence in our rearview mirror, I would like to share some encouraging news about market trends regarding investment and rental properties in our area.
On April 19th, The Wilmington Business Journal published an article titled “Reports: Rents Rising Higher in Wilmington Than in Other NC Cities” that described how the increases in apartment rents this year in Wilmington have been among the highest in the country. The article stated that there were about 1,200 workforce and low-income apartments lost to the hurricane which has created a real shortage in the rental housing market. In the Wilmington apartment market, occupancies were about 96.7% for the first quarter of 2019 which was up from about 95% over the last several years.
The Star News also reported market growth in a mid-April piece called “Welcome to Boomtown! Wilmington, Region Continue Rapid Growth”. The article asserts that the Wilmington metro area population grew 15.5% from 2010-2018 bringing the reported population totals to 232,274 and 62,162 for New Hanover and Pender Counties respectively. This growth rate places the Wilmington metro area as one of the fastest growing population centers in the country.
Brunswick County, which borders New Hanover County to the south and west but is included in the Myrtle Beach metro area, also reported some significant growth. It ranked 4th in the nation for percentage growth for counties with populations over 20,000. This amounted to adding over 6,000 new residents in 2018, bringing its population total to 136,744.
At Sweyer Property Management, we are witnessing the effects of these trends on a daily basis as the area’s population continues to grow at rates that are outpacing the supply of rental housing units. This creates an environment of extremely high occupancy, very limited vacancy periods during turnovers, high retention rates and rent rates that are appreciating significantly higher than inflation benchmarks. With all these factors taken into consideration and the growth trend poised to continue on an upward trajectory, it is a great time to own investment rental properties in southeastern NC.