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Soaring US rent prices force families out of homes

Rent on two-bedroom apartments, though, didn't fare better. Rent prices in Idaho for a two-bedroom are up a whopping 116% compared to last year. In Maine, it is up 135%.
Posted at 9:00 PM, Feb 16, 2022

Costs are rapidly climbing throughout the U.S.

"It's not just an economic issue. This is a social issue that's tearing apart the fabric of communities and families," said Aaron Dietrich, with the People's Council of Saint Petersburg.

"You've got us people who are full-time workers who work over 40 hours a week, or 80 hours a week, even doing overtime who are still struggling. But we're low income. We're getting pushed out.

That's basically how I feel about the whole situation," said daycare worker Chelsie Delgado.

From Oregon to Florida, families are struggling to keep a roof over their head as rent prices soar in some cases, as much as hundreds of dollars.

"People I have known who have lived here their whole life are saying, 'Hey, it's time for me to go,'" Dietrich said.

Unable to pay the bills, many are being forced to leave in search of more affordable housing, but their options are slim.

"Renters who are low and middle class who normally would be homeowners by this point, can't get into the housing market. They're stuck in the rental market, which only increases the demand for housing, which allows landlords to raise the rent even higher," said Legal Aid Society's Zac Oswald.

In January, the real estate company Redfin released a survey looking at the rent prices in the 50 largest cities in the U.S. According to the survey, the average monthly listed rents in the U.S. rose 14% in 2021, a massive jump from the 3% increase from 2020, which was relatively standard in comparison to recent years.

The city with the biggest rent increase is Austin, Texas, which Redfin says experienced a 40% jump over the year before.

Analysts say one reason behind skyrocketing rents is rising demand.

The high cost of buying a home is driving more people to the rental market in an economy facing inflation pressures.

"I have a lot of employees that say they have to leave because they just can't afford to live here any longer," said Larry Falisi, co-owner of The Hangout.

The rising rent is having a ripple effect on businesses, with owners saying workers are leaving them because they can't afford the area.

"We're having a little bit of a situation finding culinary talent to support the back of the house," said Daniel Kniola, chef and general manger at Food & Thought Too. 

With no help on the horizon, renters like Ariel Lovell are having to pack up their lives. Her $1,000 rent in Hendersonville, Tennessee is now being bumped up to $1,400

"As long as I've been here — that's just outrageous," she said. "I have a 9-year-old that's in school, I have an 18- month-old, I have a 4-month-old so I'm like '$1,400 and $1,550 is a lot.'" 

She's now moving in with extended family. A move she says she never wanted to make.

"I don't want to get put out. I don't want to go live with my parents," Lovell continued. "I'm the type of mother where I take care of them on my own."

This story was originally published by Meg Hilling of Newsy.