5 Of the Most Rapidly Gentrifying Cities in America

Gentrification is happening nationwide, with corner shops closing down, rent prices rising, and swanky new nightlife popping up in cities all over the country. But revitalization, and the subsequent gentrification is affecting areas at different rates. Read on for a round up of the five most rapidly gentrifying cities in America.


1. Asheville, NC

Asheville was once a tiny hippie haven in North Carolina, home to artists, musicians and activists. In the past few decades, its cool cred has received national recognition, attracting many more people to this charming metro area. Home prices have increased 88% between 2000 and 2015, with a median home price in 2015 of $235,000, up from $125,000 in 2000.

The quirky hub for America's favorite weirdos has faced major development in recent years, with luxury golf courses springing up, and craft breweries replacing local dives. Currently, gentrification is focused on the River Arts District. Once a funky industrial style neighborhood covered with brightly painted murals, the River Arts District is now a prime target for new development. In 2014, two dozen artists were kicked out of their studios to make room for new developments.


2. Denver, CO

The mile high city has been attracting a new crowd with its booming tech scene, spectacular outdoor recreation, and recently legalized marijuana industry. Tech bros, stoners, and stoner tech bros have been flocking to the alpine city, driving up real estate prices. Currently, gentrification is focused on the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods. Property values have shot up 60% in two years, thanks to several multi billion dollar developers looking to make their mark. Homeowners report that their property taxes have increased by more than $600 between 2013 and 2015.

Between 2011 and 2017, the average rent for a one bedroom apartment nearly doubled, up to $1,400 per month in July of 2017, in comparison to $783 in January of 2011, according to Rent Jungle's data.

3. Sacramento, CA

The state capitol of California has always played second fiddle to the splashier cities San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. But Californians are beginning to turn their backs on these glamorous coastal cities and move to Sacramento in droves, lured by a lower cost of living and a developing cultural scene.

Urban development has flipped the city from quiet, grungy town into hip metro area. And with development has come higher housing prices. Rent Jungle reports that rental prices in Sacramento average $1,430 as of September 2017, up nearly $500 from January of 2011, when the average rent was $979.

Gentrification has been particularly focused on Midtown and Oak Park, two neighborhoods that were once described as "the ghetto" of Sacramento. The artists formerly working in Oak Park have begun to skip town, in search of cheaper rents in Oregon and Arizona. Today, these previously mostly black neighborhoods are home to trendy bars, high-end restaurants, shiny condo buildings, and luxury spas.

4. Charleston, SC

Aggressive development and careless rezoning has made Charleston the fastest gentrifying city in America. The median home price has increased by 77.5% in a decade and a half, from $152,100 in 2000 to $270,000 in 2015.

New urban planning policies have dramatically rezoned the city, leading to the elimination of many low-income housing projects in favor of high priced condominiums. Mom and pop shops around the city have folded one after another, unable to keep up with rising costs.

A turning point for the city was the demolition of Shoreview, a large low-income apartment building in downtown Charleston, which was replaced with a planned community of expensive single family homes.

The results of Charleston's development have been dramatic. African American families have been leaving the city, replaced by a whiter, wealthier population. The Census Bureau reports that Charleston's black population has declined from 42% to 23%.

5. Jersey City, NJ

For decades, Jersey City was little more than a throwaway joke for New Yorkers. In recent years however, the rapid gentrification of New York's outer boroughs has made Jersey City a convenient and affordable option for commuters. With the PATH train making Manhattan an easy hop away, Jersey City is becoming more and more desirable for people looking to avoid the sky-high costs of Manhattan real estate.

Besides it's location, Jersey City itself has been revitalized in recent years. The crime rate has dropped, and new high-rise apartment buildings and businesses have been springing up all over downtown Jersey City. An emerging restaurant and nightlife scene is growing, attracting more young people to the city.

The average rental price in Jersey City today is $2,555 per month, up from $1,939 in January of 2011. Rent control has been helping to keep housing affordable, but many local businesses have already been pushed out as the city rapidly gentrifies.

As artists, corner shops and communities of color are priced out of these cities, it seems difficult to turn back the clock on gentrification. Explore rental trends in each of these cities to learn more.

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