Row of houses on street corner in Raleigh

What is Affordable Housing?

“Affordable housing” generally refers to housing that is affordable to households with low incomes, meaning that these households pay no more than 30 percent of their income for housing costs like rent, mortgage, and utilities. If a household pays more than 30 percent of their income for housing, they are considered “housing cost-burdened.”

“Low-income” is based on the Area Median Income (AMI) of a city or county. Typically, households are considered low-income if they earn no more than 80 percent of the AMI. Households earning under 50 percent of the AMI are considered very low-income and households earning under 30 percent of the AMI are considered extremely low-income. 

Number of People in Household 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
30% AMI $22,500 $25,700  $28,900 $32,100 $34,700 $37,250 $39,850 $42,400
50% AMI $37,450 $42,800 $48,150 $53,500 $57,800 $62,100 $66,350  $70,650
80% AMI $59,950 $68,500 $77,050 $85,600 $92,450 $99,300 $106,150 $113,000

Source: HUD 2022 Income Limits

How many Raleigh households are housing cost-burdened?

According to the most recent estimates available (from 2021), there are approximately 42,300 cost-burdened renters in the City of Raleigh (about 47 percent of all renters). This is an increase of 6.85 percent during the five years from 2016 to 2021. There are approximately 16,400 cost-burdened homeowners, representing 17 percent of all homeowners. This is a decrease of nine percent over the five years from 2016 to 2021. 

Sources: 2017-2021 U.S. Census American Community Survey (ACS) and 2012-2016 U.S. Census American Community Survey (ACS)

Fair Market Rents represent the cost to rent a moderately-priced dwelling unit in a local housing market. To rent a two-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent in Raleigh, the occupant would need to earn $23.52 per hour, making Raleigh the second most expensive city in the state after Asheville. Raleigh workers had an average hourly wage of $28.15 in May of 2021. 

  Raleigh North Carolina (statewide)
Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment $1,223 $997
Income Needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment at FMR  $48,920 ($23.52 per hour) $39,897  ($19.18 per hour)

Sources: National Low Income Housing Coalition, 2023, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics  



Housing and Neighborhoods
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421 Fayetteville St. 12th Floor, Suite 1200
Raleigh, NC 


Housing and Neighborhoods
Service Categories:
Affordable Housing
Related Services:
Affordable Rental HousingAffordable Housing GoalsAffordable Housing BondAffordable Rental Development