Top 10 NC cities with the greatest percentage decreases in rental rates

Raleigh, NC – There’s something for everyone in North Carolina, as rent is decreasing all over the state. Long to live in the mountains? North Carolina’s got you covered. Prefer Piedmont or Coastal Plains? You might still pay a pretty penny, depending on what you’re looking for, but it’ll be less than you would’ve paid this time last year.

Impressive career potential is another reason the Old North State’s seeing an influx of new residents. North Carolina is known for some of the world’s best healthcare facilities, not to mention education establishments, like Duke University and the University of North Carolina.

Here are the 10 cities in North Carolina where rent is decreasing the most.

10. Matthews

matthews nc
Source: Cove at Matthews
  • Rent change in the past year: -1.97 percent
  • Average 1-BR rental price: $1,070

Located just above the South Carolina border in the center of the state, Matthews is only about a 20-minute drive from the beloved city of Charlotte. Its proximity to the city means that residents enjoy all the perks of Charlotte living, but with a lower price tag (about $20 per month less from April 2019/2020 than April 2018/2019) than if they were in the city center.

North Carolinians are known for being the outdoorsy type, and Matthews is no disappointment on that front. Among the local nature offerings, runners, bikers and walkers particularly enjoy the Four Mile Creek Greenway, which feeds into the joyously named Squirrel Lake Park.

9. Charlotte

charlotte nc
  • Rent change in the past year: -3.17 percent
  • Average 1-BR rental price: $1,342

Charlotte is a hub of all things pleasing. Foodies, hand-crafted cocktails/beer aficionados and art-lovers all hail Charlotte as the “Queen City” and for good reason. The city is getting ever-friendlier to cost-conscious residents, as rent prices for the average one-bedroom dropped nearly $50 from the 2018/2019 to 2019/2020 period.

You have to try really hard to be bored in Charlotte, what with all types of museums, outdoor activities, festivals and sports the area offers. Charlotte’s affordability, diversity and a huge range of entertainment potential makes it especially popular for young professionals turned young families.

8. Raleigh

raleigh nc
  • Rent change in the past year: -4.46 percent
  • Average 1-BR rental price: $1,199

It’s getting easier to live in the capital city of Raleigh, thanks to a nearly 5 percent dip in rent prices. From April 2018 to April 2019, the average one-bedroom renter paid $1,255 per month, compared with $1,199 from April 2019 to April 2020. That’s a difference of more than half a Benjamin!

Located just east of central North Carolina, Raleigh is particularly lauded for its status as part of the world-renowned “Research Triangle,” along with fellow cities Durham and Chapel Hill. It also boasts more than 9,000 acres of parkland, including a greenway system more than 180 miles in length that’s happily frequented by bikers, hikers and walkers. The area experiences four distinct seasons that locals and visitors love to enjoy.

7. Mooresville

mooresville nc
  • Rent change in the past year: -4.48 percent
  • Average 1-BR rental price: $1,062

Just north of Charlotte, the city of Mooresville is an up-and-coming suburb with major ties to the racing community, especially as home of the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame. Despite its nickname of “Race City, U.S.A.,” Mooresville is about more than NASCAR. Residents to the area enjoy easy access to picturesque Lake Norman, as well as top-notch educational opportunities, all with a delightfully small-town feel.

Rent prices for the typical one-bedroom in Mooresville have dropped about $50 per month in the period of April 2019 to April 2020, compared with the previous year. Over the course of a year, that’s a savings of about $600!

6. Durham

durham nc
  • Rent change in the past year: -5.25 percent
  • Average 1-BR rental price: $1,178

A one-bedroom in Durham rang up at about $1,178 during the April 2019 to April 2020 period, compared with $1,244 per month during the previous year. This dip of 5.25 percent further increases the desirability of The Bull City as the place to be for new and existing North Carolinians.

As home to Duke University, and with the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, only a stone’s throw away (8.5 miles), Durham is an educational powerhouse. This status also cements its reputation as a medical mecca, with Duke University Hospital among the elite teaching hospitals in the country.

5. Greenville

greenville nc
  • Rent change in the past year: -5.44 percent
  • Average 1-BR rental price: $774

Not too far from the coast of North Carolina lies Greenville, a charming historic city that still manages to have a foothold squarely in modern life. It’s an outdoorsman’s mecca, with proximity to the ocean, local swamps, the Tar River waterway and the Greenville Greenway trail system.

The area is also renowned for its barbecue and beer, so it’s only fitting that the county offers a “Brew & ‘Cue” tour, through which patrons take their “PassPork” to be stamped at the various stops around Pitt County. Prize upon completion!

Greenville has the lowest monthly rent on our list, at $774 per month, down from $819 during the previous year’s period.

4. Asheville

asheville nc
  • Rent change in the past year: -5.75 percent
  • Average 1-BR rental price: $1,068

Moving over to the mountainous western portion of the state, renters in the city of Asheville have enjoyed a 5.75 percent drop in rent, about a $65 decrease from the previous year. That doesn’t mean that Asheville isn’t prospering, however. The downtown area is jammed with more renowned eateries than even the most devoted foodie will ever be able to visit, not to mention the booming nightlife and tasty breweries.

Then, of course, there’s Asheville’s status as a historic landmark, thanks in large part to the elegant, if overwhelming Biltmore Estate. It’s also the perfect place to snag a one-of-a-kind piece of art, whether for your wall or your wrist. The Blue Ridge Mountains are so beautiful that they beckon even to the staunchest of couch potatoes, whether to zipline, bike or just take a nice long walk.

3. Chapel Hill

chapel hill nc
  • Rent change in the past year: -6.05 percent
  • Average 1-BR rental price: $1,127

Chapel Hill is home to more than just the University of North Carolina, but sometimes, it doesn’t feel that way! Pride in the ‘Heels, particularly the ever-dominant basketball team, is so heavy that it’s easy to see why the die-hards claim to “bleed blue.”

There’s plenty to do aside from UNC-related activities, however. The town regularly puts on road races and festivals, celebrating everything from antiques to bluegrass music. Historic Franklin Street is the most happening spot in the city, with dozens of boutiques, restaurants and nightspots to its credit.

The city has seen a more than 6 percent decline in rent prices, with the average one-bedroom nearly $75 cheaper than it was from April 2018 to 2019. Great news for the college kids, right?

2. Morrisville

morrisville nc
  • Rent change in the past year: -6.74 percent
  • Average 1-BR rental price: $1,065

Smack in the Research Triangle area of the state, the city of Morrisville is an up-and-coming community with a reputation for diversity. In fact, the cuisine variety in the area is so impressive that locals mark in red on their calendars the East Meets West Festival (held every September), so as to not miss the dizzying array of international food offerings.

Like much of the state, Morrisville is ideal for people who enjoy outdoor activities. Lake Crabtree County Park offers a 520-acre lake and everything that entails. Then, there are the shops and restaurants at Park West Village where locals head for much-needed retail therapy.

Rent prices are down 6.74 percent in Morrisville, from $1,142 (April 2018 to April 2019) to $1,065 in the period of April 2019 to April 2020, a monthly break of $77!

1. Clayton

clayton nc
  • Average 1-BR rental price: $1,078
  • Rent change in the past year: -9.24 percent

Only a 15-minute drive from Raleigh is the comparatively small town of Clayton, and the city’s growth is largely due to the continued success of the Research Triangle area. Clayton is particularly known for job opportunities galore since manufacturing facilities and pharmaceutical companies have set up shop there. It also doesn’t hurt that the town is in spitting distance of major highways like I-40 and U.S. 70!

It’s not all work in Clayton, however. The downtown area features a superb portfolio of dining options, breweries, boutiques and even an outdoor summer concert series. It’s the ideal time to move to this charming town, as it tops our list of North Carolina cities where rent is decreasing the most, with a decrease of more than 9 percent, which equates to $90 per month!

Cheapest cities in North Carolina

Don’t fret too much if the North Carolina city you’re most interested in didn’t make the list. There are still plenty of affordable rentals throughout the state. Check out this chart of the 25 cheapest overall cities in the Tar Heel State.

RankCityAverage 1BR RentAverage YoY Rent Price Change
4High Point$828-1.43%

Average rent in North Carolina

North Carolina is known for being affordable, and the state is certainly backing up that reputation with declining rent prices. In 2020, the average one-bedroom tenant can expect to pay around $1,145 per month, down 5.22 percent from $1,208 over the same period for the previous year. That’s a decrease of $63 a month, which everyone can agree would be much better spent on the authentic craft beer and barbecue the state is known for.


Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and’s multifamily rental property inventory from April 2019 to April 2020. We use a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets. Cities were excluded if they did not have an average of at least 20 units in our available inventory during that time period.

The data contained herein does not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.