Surge in luxury apartments shows a changing Raleigh

Developers in the Triangle are banking, literally, on their belief that people aren’t looking just to buy homes. Yes, that particular American Dream thrives, thank goodness. But as younger people used to the renting life in the Northeast move here or as baby boomers ready to retire and break the bonds of home ownership look for rentals, apartment builders are confident they’ll turn into customers.

That’s the only way to explain a real boom in apartments over the last 12 months. The News & Observer’s David Bracken reports that nearly 8,000 new apartments have been completed in the last 12 months, a record over the last 20 years. Many are higher-end luxury apartments with amenities like convenient walking to shops and restaurants (caught the scene in Raleigh’s Cameron Village lately?) and covered parking.

The building has slowed, and now developers are awaiting renters to fill up their places. Often a market has a little sway in it, but there is no question the Triangle is growing and that more and more younger professionals are coming to town. And while some boomers, given that they’re old enough to be free of mortgages, will want to stay put in their homes, others dream of the day when they can move down to “cozy” and hand the lawnmower off to their kids.

Home-buying still has many virtues, especially for young families and those interested in a sound, long-term investment, but renters do get a home, and they have the peace of mind of leaving their tools stashed in a drawer or two while they call maintenance.

The housing market ideally answers the needs of many. Apartment builders are betting the number of needs will match what they’re providing.