It’s the first of the month, which means rent is due for millions of people. And there are a lot of people renting these days.
A recent report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University found that there were nearly 900,000 more people renting in late 2021 than there were in early 2020. Meanwhile, the current vacancy rate is just under 6% — the lowest it’s been since the 1980s.
For a brief moment in the early months of the pandemic, it was a renter’s market.
“There was a real slowdown in demand for rental housing. Rents fell, vacancies went up, and it seemed like the rental market was really softening quickly,” said Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard.
“Now we’re in the opposite situation,” he continued, “where rents are rising at their fastest pace in decades, vacancies are falling, and so renters across the board are facing much higher costs of housing than they were two years ago.”
The main reason is that buying has become super competitive in the pandemic, so more people are sticking with renting, per Andrew Aurand at the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
“Many of these households are higher-income households who, in the past, would likely have been homeowners, but we’ve seen significant increases, of course, in home prices and so more households are choosing to rent,” he said.
That, Aurand said, is driving up rent for everyone.
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