First gas prices, then heating and now rent prices. Runaway inflation is pushing rents up throughout Pres. Joe Biden’s America, delivering an avg. of a 20 percent hike in the U.S.’s largest 50 cities over the past year.
During the same time, the U.S. Census Bureau statistics reveal rental vacancy rates during Q4 of 2021 have fallen to 5.6 percent, the lowest number since 1984 in the the world’s biggest economy.
The rent spike has stung the wallets of people in the Miami metro area the most, where the median rent payments have surged to $2,850, a 49.8 percent increase from the previous year.
Other cities throughout Florida — Tampa, Jacksonville and Orlando — and the Sun Belt locations of Las Vegas, San Diego, Austin, Texas, and Tennessee and Memphis, all saw increases of over 25 percent during that same time period.
Meanwhile, Boston has just about overtaken San Francisco as the country’s most expensive rental market with an almost 27 percent increase in properties that have two bedrooms.
In NY City, rent prices have increased 22.8 percent in a years’ time, while LA saw a more subtle 14 percent hike to its rental prices, all as prices for gas, food, used cars and other goods have continued to climb.
Across the 50 biggest U.S. metro areas, median rent prices rose 19.3 percent from Dec. 2020 to Dec. 2021.
Increasing rents and high inflation are fast becoming the country’s top economic problems.
Labor Dept. data, which covers the existing rents as well as newer listings, reveal much smaller increases, but these prices are also increasing.
Rental costs have increased 0.5 percent in Jan. from Dec., the dept. said this past week. That was the single largest increase seen in 20 years and will most likely accelerate.
“Without many rental vacancies that landlords usually have, that gives them more pricing power because they are not sitting on empty units that need to be filled,” says Danielle Hale.
Economists are concerned about the impact of rental increases on inflation rates because of the big increases in new leases that feed into the United States consumer price index, which measures inflation.
Inflation has jumped 7.5 percent in Jan. from a year earlier, the largest increase seen in four decades.