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Why is rent so high?

We talked to experts about why rent prices are rising in our area
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 6:30 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Renters tell us finding an apartment in their price range, these days, is becoming harder and harder.

Greg Christian recently moved to Greenville from Tennessee. He says he left his last apartment due to rent inflation, but here, he’s still paying almost four times more.

“Some places have different qualifications. Some places want you to make three times the monthly rent,” Christian said, “So, if you’re paying $1,400 a month, who makes $4,200 dollars by themselves?”

When Christian started shopping for apartments, he says it was an eye-opener. He says one of his applications was declined because his credit wasn’t good enough. He says his credit isn’t that bad.

“I had to increase my price range to 14 hundred, even though I didn’t really want to. That opened the amount of apartments I could apply for,” said Christian.

Blake Sizemore, of Fountain Inn, says he’s seeing price increases all over The Upstate.

“I’m seeing 12 hundred to 18 hundred a month. I think that’s expensive,” Sizemore said.

Director of Clemson University’s Master of Real Estate Development Program, Dustin Read, says inflation is the main factor; especially in the Greenville area.

“Greenville’s a little bit uniquely situated in the sense that it’s a mid-sized city in the sunbelt with a diversified economy that was already growing really rapidly before the global pandemic and that trend has been exacerbated by an influx of folks moving from other markets to the southeast,” Read said.

Renters are staying renters for longer and not moving into homes. They’re competing with cash offers and businesses buying properties for profit.

“Buyers are coming in strong with full price offers as well as all-cash or high cash offers,” Read continues, “There are a number of very, large companies, across the country, that are in the business of buying single-family homes purely to hold them as rental properties.”

Realtor.com says the national median was just short of $1,800 in March. That’s a 17 percent jump from last year.

In Greenville, the average is a little over $1,200 after we checked through some rental sites.

You’d think property managers would be more competitive. Read says that’s not the case.

“You have intense competition for the rental units that are available which is putting upward pressure on rent,” said Read, “And the ability to deliver new supply to the market has been constrained.”

Sizemore he makes due charging someone else rent.

“I have another rental property to cover my rent,” said Sizemore.

And Christian had to settle for something higher than his ideal budget, but he’s hoping it doesn’t go up again.

“I can’t afford anything $1600 or more. It’s just unlikely,” Christian said.

Read says it’s looking like prices could go down toward the middle of this year, as he’s noticed the rate at which rent is going up finally starting to decline.