SIMON KENT 21 Feb 20224983:00
First gas, then heating and now rents. Runaway inflation is driving rents skywards across Joe Biden’s America, delivering an average of a 20 percent increase in the U.S.’s biggest 50 cities over the past 12 months, a study details.
At the same time, U.S. Census Bureau statistics show rental vacancy rates during the fourth quarter of 2021 fell to 5.6 percent, the lowest since 1984 in the the world’s largest economy.
The rent spike has stung wallets nowhere more than in the Miami metro area, where the median rent surged to an eyewatering $2,850, 49.8 percent higher than the previous year.
Other cities across Florida — Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville — and the Sun Belt destinations of San Diego, Las Vegas, Austin, Texas, and Memphis, Tennessee, all saw spikes of more than 25 percent during that time period, AP reports.
Meanwhile, Boston has nearly overtaken San Francisco as the nation’s most expensive rental market with a nearly 27 percent increase in properties with two bedrooms, according to the Zumper study released at the end of last month.
In New York City, rent prices increased 22.8 percent year-over-year, while Los Angeles saw a bit more subtle 14 percent increase, all as prices for gasoline, used cars, food and other goods continue to climb.
Across the 50 largest U.S. metro areas, median rent rose an astounding 19.3 percent from December 2020 to December 2021, according to a Realtor.com analysis of properties with two or fewer bedrooms.
Labor Department data, which covers existing rents as well as new listings, shows much smaller increases, but these are also picking up, the Daily Mail reports.
Rental costs rose 0.5 percent in January from December, the department said last week. That was the single biggest increase in 20 years and will likely accelerate.
“Without a lot of rental vacancy that landlords are accustomed to having, that gives them some pricing power because they’re not sitting on empty units that they need to fill,” Danielle Hale, Realtor.com’s chief economist, told the Associated Press.
Economists worry about the impact of rent increases on inflation because the big jumps in new leases feed into the U.S. consumer price index, which is used to measure inflation.
Inflation jumped 7.5 percent in January from a year earlier, the biggest increase in four decades, as Breitbart News reported.