Homes Aren’t Affordable in North Carolina. And It’s Getting Worse.


By Michael McElroy

August 1, 2022

The housing boom may be slowing, but there is a huge gap between what potential homeowners make and what they need to make to afford a mortgage. 

Higher interest rates have slightly tempered the drastic rise in housing prices in the U.S., but they are still, to use a technical term, ridiculous in North Carolina.

An analysis by, a national mortgage data site, shows that prices remain far out of reach for many North Carolinians, even in cities where salaries tend to be higher. 

And while you read the numbers and percentages below, keep in mind that there are real lives and stagnant potential behind them.

In Raleigh, where the actual median income is $69,720, a homeowner would need to make nearly $15,000 more a year to afford the median mortgage. In Charlotte, homeowners need to make $72,348, while the actual median income is $65,359. These, it goes without saying, are untenable gaps. 

And these salaries above are assuming a buyer has put 20% down. If a home-buyer in Raleigh puts only 10% down, they would need to make $97,919 a year to afford a home at the median price. In Charlotte, $84,771.

That is the opposite of affordable, and things are just getting worse.

What’s It Like In NC’s Two Biggest Cities?

The median home price in Raleigh is nearly 27% higher than last year. In Charlotte, prices have risen 19%.

The problem is stark, but is nothing new. There are, however, signs of progress, prompted by a rare bit of bipartisan cooperation.

Rep. Alma Adams, Democrat, and Rep. David Rouzer, Republican, announced on Friday that a bill they introduced in March had prompted the U.S. Treasury Department to remove restrictions for how states can use federal COVID relief funds to pay for affordable housing. 

Nearly 200,000 low income households in North Carolina lack affordable rental homes, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. North Carolina had earmarked $205 million of the Covid funds to help address the national housing crisis. and with this particular red tape gone, the state has far more flexibility to spend it.

There is also separate help available for homeowners behind on their mortgages. The North Carolina Housing Assistance Fund, created as part of the federal American Rescue Plan, was established to “help prevent mortgage delinquencies, defaults, displacements and foreclosures due to COVID-19.” Click here to see if you are eligible.


  • Michael McElroy

    Michael McElroy is Cardinal & Pine's political correspondent. He is an adjunct instructor at UNC-Chapel Hill's Hussman School of Journalism and Media, and a former editor at The New York Times.

CATEGORIES: Uncategorized


Local News

Related Stories
Share This