Residential Demand in DTR

I’ll put this here because I can’t think of a better thread. It’s really about residential in downtown overall (condos, apartments, etc.). Maybe there is such a thread and I didn’t see it. I would really like to know others’ opinions.

There are a lot of apartments either recently online, soon to be online, or planned. Kane has 1,000 units at Smoky Hollow alone. There are some new condos, but most projects are rental. Condo resales aren’t “hot” right now.

My question is how do you folks feel about the demand? Of the existing rental properties, what are their occupancy rates? Can Kane fill 1,000 units in Smoky Hollow in an acceptable timeframe? I don’t know the names of some of the other planned projects off the top of my head, but there are quite a few.


Unfortunately, record breaking home sales data according to the NAHB was achieved this summer squarely in the outer suburbs as people look for more space and move into more permanent remote working situations. I worry for top of market rental/condo projects in the near term, however as urban demand slows relative to suburban, prices will reach a tipping point I’m sure where some folks abandon the burbs for relatively more affordable urban housing.

Covid may be the crises of the day, but sustainable human habitat is still the elephant in the room long after covid finds the door. We may experience a blip in the next 18 months, but I personally believe walkable Transit empowered living will ultimately be crowned. What’s happening on the far edges of Cary, Fuquay, and Rolesville regarding Mass deforestation for tract Built Homes is still in my opinion going to be studied in history books as one of the dumbest land use Arrangements humans have ever had with the Earth


Leaving the cities and spreading further out is not going to solve the problem; it is the problem. All of this virtue signaling and shaming of people not following the rules from people who think they are saving humanity is horse****.

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It sounds like you’re “disagreeing” with him -but I’m pretty sure y’all are on the same side; both of you are saying it’s stupid to keep expanding the suburbs.

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Raleigh led the way with this trend about 10 to 20 years ago… They did it on a massive scale. Why do you think the Raleigh population exploded in those years? Wasn’t for growth in downtown that is for sure. Just thought you should have added the biggest offender in this area to your list.

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This isn’t a Cary issue, a Raleigh issue, or even a North Carolina issue; this is a national issue. It’s only really been in the last 20 years or so that investment and focus on building urban environments and renewing derelict ones has occurred across our country in a large scale & meaningful way.


Sure, I was just highlighting places where deforestation is happening the fastest currently. Raleigh is done gobbling up virgin land, but her suburbs have a voracious appetite

Cary-Chatham Land Use Agreement


I sorry but you made me laugh as Raleigh is most definitely NOT through gobbling up virgin land. I think they ranked 3rd in acres annexed last year in Wake County (ahead of Cary). Raleigh has merely slowed down and I am sure that it is not due to changes in policy about suburbs. Cary annexes into Chatham County and Raleigh annexes into Durham County. County lines do not deter any city’s growth.

What did Raleigh annex last year, and how many square miles is the city now?
As for “gobbling up”, and the use of “voracious”, it could be argued that that’s still true. While Raleigh continues to annex, it’s nothing like it used to be when each subsequent decade meant tens of square miles of new land in the city. Raleigh is definitely getting more densely populated since 2000, and especially since the annexation laws changed early in the last decade.

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Right now the big boys with Annexations are Fuquay Varina and Apex (it was posted here somewhere about how much was annexed by each city in Wake County for the past year). And you and I have had this conversation several times before… the changes in the annexation laws has had virtually zero to do with Raleigh’s lower annexation levels. They didn’t forcibly annex before except rarely and to keep assuming that they would all of a sudden start forcibly annexing all over the place is a disconnect. The changes in the annexation laws has not slowed down the the other cities in Wake County simply because they are almost always have been owner initiated voluntary annexations.


Along with a variety of influences, the dynamic of having other municipalities around the city of Raleigh has certainly shaped how the City of Raleigh has annexed since 2010, and I do hear you when you say that the the change to the law has had little effect on Raleigh’s annexation behavior. However, I do recall seeing population projections for the city from 10 years ago (put out by the city) that had presumed that Raleigh would be around 200 square miles by 2020. If the law didn’t materially change how Raleigh has annexed lands, then how could that projection be so off?
We will have to agree to disagree regarding the law’s impact.
As for the annexation on the edges, it’s a lot easier to buy large swaths of land and petition for annexation for services to the nearest town. In most of those cases, that town in not Raleigh.

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Yes. We very much disagree. A projection is merely that… a projection. The only times Raleigh forcibly annexed was for altruistic reasons in the southeast part of Raleigh to help some ailing neighborhoods and it was at most once a year. I mean maybe adding 20 acres and maybe a 100 people or something. The laws impact was only towards forcibly annexing. So the only reason that Raleigh is not meeting that projection is simply because there are less voluntary annexations. Thanks to 540 opening up is southwest Wake a tremendous amount of growth has occurred in that area. Raleigh did change vast amount of its zoning in order to encourage growth in already existing areas. That is why North Hills for example has grown like it has. The law had virtually zero affect in my opinion as I have seen every annexation in Wake County in the past 20 years.

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My apologies for making assumptions on Raleigh annexation vs. other nearby cities. My direct experience has been in West Cary (I went to Green Hope High). Let’s not turn this into a city vs. city. The issue is sustainable human habitat, and as John mentioned previously, it’s not specific to our region or our state. It’s a post WWII, pro-automobile, militaristic conquering of our land. Borrowing from Strong Towns language, it’s a dogma of designing and building to a finished, inflexible state instead of incremental and experimental development patterns. FWIW, Cary’s development staff is much more flexible in their urban core than Raleigh is. We are still battling Raleigh permitting on an infill single family home proposal because of some inflexible exterior wall height rule only applicable to infill properties.




There are two resale condos around the corner from me (small buildings in Boylan Heights) that went on the market on the same day. They both went under contract within three weeks of listing. These buildings have no amenities that I know of other than off-street parking. Houses that go on the market in Boylan Heights are snatched up before you can blink.

I read something recently that said that rental vacancies are rising nationwide because renters who are still employed are trying to take advantage of current mortgage rates. I’m not sure what the downtown rental market is like right now, but it will be interesting to watch.


The trope of urban markets losing to suburban ones isn’t true outside of a few cities (even right now), but has been a popular one in media forever.

Urban For-Sale Markets Keeping Pace With the Suburbs, With Two Key Exceptions

Everywhere but San Francisco and New York City, urban housing markets are just as hot for sellers as suburban markets, according to data released recently by Zillow.

Here’s direct link to Zillow’s page on it if you want to skip the planitzen summary.