With hundreds of thousands out of work and struggling to pay bills amid the coronavirus outbreak, a recent report claims there’s at least a slight silver lining: the Triangle’s ever-increasing rent prices have slowed down just a little.

According to a new report from RENTCafé’, sixty percent of cities saw a slowdown in rent hikes, including Raleigh and Durham. Nationally, the average cost of rent (now a whopping $1,474) increased 2.9 percent in March, down from a 3.2 percent jump last month. 

Although Raleigh’s rent prices are still considered affordable by national standards ($1,248  as of this month), the growth rate has been much faster, with February seeing a 5.8 percent increase. March saw growth slow down ever-so-slightly, with rents going up 5.7 percent, which the report claims “suggests that a slowdown in rent growth during the coronavirus crisis is already starting to show in Raleigh as well.”

Rent hikes in Durham slowed down from 3.1 percent to 2.9 percent, closely matching national trends. The average cost of an apartment in the Bull City is now $1,190.

Chapel Hill continues to be the most expensive place for renters, with the average unit costing $1,421. 

Although Governor Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order halted most businesses, construction is considered essential, so it will be interesting to see what (if any) long-term impact the public health crisis has on housing affordability in the area. Evictions have also been put on hold.

That may help some families struggling to make ends meet while awaiting their Trump Bucks in the mail. Still, the $1,200 benefit isn’t even one month’s rent for most Triangle renters. 

Contact Raleigh news editor Leigh Tauss at ltauss@indyweek.com. 

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