Rent prices reach another record high, growing nationwide

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(NewsNation) — Rents reached another high in April, and continue to grow nationwide.

A new report by Realtor.com found that the median rent in the 50 largest US metropolitan areas climbed to $1,827, up 16.7% from what they were a year ago. Rent has been steadily increasing since Jan.2021, the report said, rebounding from a dip in the first year of the pandemic.

It’s also getting harder to find housing as well: The national rental vacancy rate has held below 6% in the last three quarters, according to Realtor.com.

Because landlords had fewer available units, they were able to charge higher rents, giving renters few options but to pay them, the report said. Out of all the units, studio rents grew the fastest, with a 17.2% increase in April, compared to 15.9% for 2-bedroom units and 15.6% for 1-bedroom units.

When it comes to where rent is going up the most, Realtor.com’s report found three Florida metro areas (Miami, Orlando and Tampa) led the pack. Miami rent was up 51.6% from last April.

The cheapest cities to rent are generally in the South and Midwest. The top 3 least expensive are Odessa, Texas; Lake Charles, Louisiana and Davenport, Iowa.

“I get 15 to 20 calls a day for people looking for assistance on their rental fund,” Patti Brock, who works to provide emergency financial aid to people with Grand Prairie United Charities in Texas, said.

Her federal rental funds ran dry, so she’s pushing renters out to a 50-mile radius to find affordable housing, many of whom are still playing catch-up from the pandemic.

“While you’re trying to catch up, now your rent went up another $500,” Brock said. “So absolutely it’s working-class people. It’s not the rich and famous or people who aren’t working at all.”

As people’s rents go up across the country, people’s wages have not been keeping pace, according to Clever Real Estate.

From 1985 to 2020, the national median rental prices rose by 149%, but overall income only grew by 35%, the real estate service said.

According to a recent study by the Low-Income Housing Coalition. there isn’t a city, state or county right now where a typical minimum-wage worker can afford a two-bedroom rental.

Those facing a rent hike or who can’t find affordable housing can get help by researching rent control laws in their area or seeking out rental assistance programs. They can also negotiate with their landlord.

Meanwhile, existing-home sales prices also increased, albeit at a slower year-over-year pace of 14.8%, the National Association of Realtors said in a news release.

However, home sales themselves had a third straight month of declines.

“Higher home prices and sharply higher mortgage rates have reduced buyer activity,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in a statement. “It looks like more declines are imminent in the upcoming months, and we’ll likely return to the pre-pandemic home sales activity after the remarkable surge over the past two years.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in April was $391,200. That’s up from last year at this time, when it was $340,700.

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