Here’s why renters need to work more hours to afford rent

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Apartment for rent sign displayed on residential street. Shows demand for housing, rental market, landlord-tenant relations.

NEW YORK (NewsNation) — Many Americans are feeling the pinch of higher rents.

Renters need to work about six hours more a month than what was needed before the pandemic to make their monthly payments. Nationally, Americans making an average hourly wage need to work nearly 63 hours to afford their monthly rent, according to a new report from Zillow.

The typical monthly rent is $2,040, according to Zillow. Over the past five years, rents have grown 36.9%, while the average wage is only up 23%.

“Rents were growing at a record pace for much of 2021, squeezing budgets for renters moving or renewing leases,” said Jeff Tucker, a senior economist at Zillow. 

The South and Southwest regions, where workers flocked during the pandemic, have been hit particularly hard by rent growth. In Miami, renters now need to clock 24 hours more to pay rent than before the pandemic, and in Tampa, workers need an additional 20 hours,” according to Zillow’s report.

Rents in three markets are now easier to pay than in 2019: San Jose, San Francisco, and Boston, according to the report. Yet, rents in these metros are among the highest in the country. 

Here are the top five cities in the U.S. with the highest rent, according to Zillow:

  1. San Jose – $3,341
  2. New York – $3,212
  3. San Francisco – $3,199
  4. San Diego – $3,105
  5. Los Angeles – $2,979

After the peak of the pandemic and rent moratoriums ended, many landlords raised rents substantially putting many people in a financial bind. This has led to some people bringing in roommates or moving in with family members because they can’t afford their rent.

“Now, it appears more people are opting to double up with roommates or family, which means more vacancies and pressure on landlords to price their units competitively, offering some hope of relief on the horizon,” Tucker said.

Rent growth fell by 0.1% in October, after years of massive growth; however, rents have risen by 9.6% since last year.

Despite the slowdown, landlords say the higher cost of upkeep and repairs are two of the reasons why they have to raise rents. they also blame inflation.

Yet, some landlords are more likely to negotiate rent costs with those renewing leasing than with new renters. About 22 percent said they would consider negotiating with tenants who are renewing a lease.

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