YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Last week, WKBN reported how home sales are improving all across the Mahoning Valley. It turns out that’s having an impact on the rental market.
Census data shows rent costs are up nearly 10 percent in just the last five years.
“Some of the biggest problems we are seeing today is a lot of student loan debt,” said Stephanie Pappada of Howard Hanna in Poland. “Especially from recent graduates.”
Single mom and full-time student Kerri Cameron had a hard time finding an affordable place to live.
“I looked at least for a good two years to try and find a place,” said Cameron, a Youngstown tenant. “And I had no hope at all. This was my last resort.”
Now, almost half of her monthly income goes to rent and utilities.
“It’s pretty much a constant battle. It’s a struggle,” Cameron said. “I make sure my rent’s paid and my bills are paid and the rest of the month I struggle to get by.”
Cameron isn’t the only one dealing with high rents.
The average cost of rent in Youngstown in 2010 was $587 per month. That number jumped to $634 in 2015.
And good rentals are harder to come by, as they’re being taken by college graduates who can’t get mortgages.
In turn, many people who would have bought homes now have to rent for a long time.
“A lot of the rental units that are on the market haven’t been renovated in decades,” said Tiffany Sokol of Youngstown Neighborhood Developement Corp. “And people are looking for something a little higher quality — and they’re willing to pay for it.”
That means rents of $700 dollars and more are common — and in demand.
“The rentals we have put online have been rented very, very quickly,” Sokol said. “We have zero vacancy.”