It’s becoming more difficult to afford to buy a home in Charlotte, North Carolina. Though still better and more affordable than many other locations in the country, Mecklenburg County (home to Charlotte) is feeling the stings of an increase in median sales prices, lower inventory levels and the beginning of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate rise.

Attom Data Solutions, parent company to the comprehensive real estate data firm, Realty/Inc., recently released its latest real estate data on Mecklenburg County.  Bottom line when comparing figures from 2015 to 2016, there has been an increase of 5% in both the median sales price  and the median wage growth in Charlotte.  “This turns out to be a wash,” says Daren Blomquist, the senior vice president of Attom, “…but…it’s now more expensive to borrow money this year than last…” due to higher interest rates.

Currently, in Mecklenburg County, it takes 24.8% of a person’s average wages to cover the cost of buying a house whereas nationally, it takes about 33.6% of a person’s average wage to cover the cost of buying a house. The problem in Mecklenburg County is that there are less available homes to buy today…32% less than just a few years ago.  The result? Prices are going up due to low inventories and bidding wars for available homes are becoming more ubiquitous.

Mecklenburg County has several things going for it that make it a very attractive place to live even while some within the area’s pulse are becoming concerned about affordability issues.  Its school systems are ranked well above the national average; it unemployment rate is ranked just below the national average; its crime rate is ranked just below the national average. Weighing these enticing lifestyle rankings against creeping home price increases, who’s to say how long Charlotte, its environs in Mecklenburg County, and its neighboring towns such as Gaston, Cabarras, Iredell and Catawba will continue to be more affordable location options than most others as they are now?

Charlotte’s landlords and renters are already feeling the pinch from these creeping price increases.  Thirty percent of renters’ wages now go towards paying rent and 48% of Charlotte’s renters report being cost burdened, according to Abodo.  Living in Charlotte, North Carolina, as an owner or renter is becoming more of a delicate balance than ever.