CHARLOTTE, N.C. - "All of these are leased," said Hali Eplin, the property manager for 1225 South Church apartments, as she walked Eyewitness News through the courtyard and showed us dozens of apartments.
That’s a phrase all landlords want to be able to say. The vacancy rate at 1225 South Church and complexes throughout the city is low. Demand for rentals is so high that Eplin said her complex is adding on and pre-leasing some of the units already.
"We're already 5 percent for phase two," she said.
That is a trend that Charles Dalton, from Real Data in Charlotte, has been watching.
"We've been on an upward trend over the past two years," Dalton said.
Dalton's company tracks the apartment market in the southeast. He said that rent for existing apartments increased 5.7 percent in 2011 and 5 percent in 2012. He expects the increase to continue next year.
"Somewhere between 4 percent and 5 percent for 2013," Dalton said.
The National Association of Realtors projects the average across the country to increase 4.6 percent.
Dalton said he expects rent in Charlotte to level out in the next couple of years, but to remain steady and strong.
That’s why some outside, even foreign, investors are looking at Charlotte.
"From their outside analysis, our job market is strong, our vacancy rate is low," said Scott Lindsley, a Realtor with Janus Real Estate.
Lindsley said he has recently sold several rental properties to Canadian investors, including a six-unit property in NoDa. The investor who bought those said he chose Charlotte because prices are low, rents are strong and population growth has been steady.
"It's great for our economy," Lindsley said.