Why rent prices are so high and what can be done about it

Rent rising in Alabama
Rent rising in Alabama
Published: Feb. 28, 2022 at 10:32 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - What’s up with the rent? It’s up for sure! Data shows Alabama is among the states with the highest rent rates in the country. 

The fallout from soaring rent prices isn’t just a headache when looking for a place to live. According to a market analyst, unaffordable rent has financial implications that are extremely detrimental to the quality of life.

”You can’t just say to landlords that you have to charge less, and you can’t say to people you got to make more money,” Nick VinZant with Lending Tree complained. 

Nick VinZant with Lending Tree, an online lending marketplace, explained rent prices have been steadily increasing over the last decade, blowing the lid during the COVID-19 pandemic.

”In Alabama, we’ve seen a 13% increase in the last year; that’s unbelievable,” VinZant exclaimed.

According to rentdata.org, in Jefferson County, a 2-bedroom apartment averaged a little more than $1000 in 2021. The same place would have cost about $873 in 2019. The financial fallout was terrible for the quality of life of residents, according to VinZant.

”If you are paying more than 30% of your total income on rent, you are considered it to be housing cost-burdened, that’s because if you’re paying that much it’s difficult to afford other household necessities,” VinZant said.

Alabama is one of the most cost-burdened states in the nation, he said.

“What we found when we looked at Alabama is nearly 50% of renters, one out of every two people, are housing cost-burdened,” he explained. 

VinZant said soaring rent prices were a problem elected leaders needed to address because double-digit percent rent increases and 2-3% pay raises was math that did not add up.

”Fundamental policy changes with elected leaders having more investment in affordable housing and relaxing zoning laws that would allow affordable housing to be built,” VinZant said.

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