America’s suburbs are posting the country’s fastest-rising rents, a sign that the recent migration of families from major cities is starting to look more long-term.
Many white-collar workers with remote jobs moved out of city apartments for roomier accommodations during the early months of the pandemic in 2020. Now, high mortgage rates and home prices are keeping some of the same families renting for longer periods. A rise in crime and homelessness in several big cities has some renters looking to the suburbs.
The trend is propping up rents and fueling concerns about rental affordability in suburban areas, leading some governments to pass new rent-control measures in response.
Rents in suburbs had climbed 26% through this past July since March 2020, 8 percentage points higher than the gain in urban cores, according to a report from rentals website Apartment List. Suburban rent growth was greater than its urban counterpart in 28 of the 33 metro areas studied, the company said.
“In 2019, we were talking about a decade of urbanization,” said Igor Popov, Apartment List’s chief economist. “That is no longer the case.”
The widest rent gap was in Portland, Ore., which lost nearly 3% of its population between 2020 and 2022. Rents in Portland’s suburbs are up 23% since 2020, compared with about 2% in the center city.
Urban decay and disorder are why people move to the suburbs. Same as it ever was. Bidenomics is just adding inflation to the mix.
Landlords are hitting tenants with an abundance of fees every month. Many are no more than five or 10 dollars each, but when stacked up they can amount to hundreds of dollars more each year. Some fees, such as those for parking and pets, have been around for years, but many renters now pay up for things they were rarely charged for in the past.
That includes fees for trash pickup, pest control, the use of a mailbox, and for making routine maintenance requests. Then there are fees for move-ins and move-outs and for “lease administration.” One Minnesota landlord collected a $100 so-called January fee the first month of each year, though it isn’t clear what tenants got in return for that charge.
In suburban Phoenix, buildings increasingly charge for valet trash pickup that can add more than $30 to the monthly rent. “I can carry the trash 50 feet to the dumpster,” said Debbie Giannecchini, who moved out of a building that started charging the fee.
Apartment asking rents rose 25% between early 2021 and summer 2022, straining the budgets of many renters whose wages didn’t keep up. While rent growth has since flattened in much of the country, large property-investment companies continue with these add-ons to boost their bottom lines.
Flashback: Team Biden might be purposefully grinding down the middle class. “Vladimir Lenin supposedly once said, ‘The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.’ There’s some doubt as to whether this line is genuine; regardless, it seems like a pretty good description of what the Biden administration is doing to America’s middle class.”