WASHINGTON D.C.: Young workers in the U.S. have been the group most harmed by surging rental prices, with many taking on roommates or working additional jobs to afford housing costs.
According to Census Bureau forecasts released last week, in 2021 household rents rose by 10 percent from levels before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Data from the bureau's annual American Community Survey also showed that the median U.S. rent in 2021 was $1,037, up from $941 in 2019.
Those with little savings and unable to buy a house, most notably recent college graduates and other new entrants to the work force, are among the most impacted.
Maeve Kozlark, a 23-year-old New York University doctoral student, lived in an apartment in New York City's Queens borough with a door that would not lock for one year, and the landlord's refusal to fix the lock forced him to make a TikTok video.
One year and 230,000 views later, the lock was still broken when the landlord announced a $1,000 hike on top of an existing rent of $2,500, Kozlark said, as reported by Reuters.
"So began our crazy search to find something that was affordable and not a shoebox, which is pretty impossible," noted Kozlark, who has found a new apartment in Queens costing $3,300 to rent.
In Austin, Texas, 22-year-old Skyler Lee signed a one-year lease for a two-bedroom apartment for herself and her boyfriend, costing $1,950 per month to rent.
One month after moving in, comparable apartments in the building were being rented out at $2,400 per month, which is what Lee expects to pay when she renews her lease next year.
In addition, the rental prices of usually larger properties operated by management companies in the professionally-managed sector have risen even more sharply.
The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies said that at the end of 2021 and start of 2022, annual rent growth in this sector hit 11.6 percent, which is three times the figure in the five years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, as post-pandemic demand surged, vacancy rates fell to their lowest levels since 1984.
Whitney Airgood-Obrycki, senior research associate at the Harvard housing center, noted, "It is a truly unprecedented market in a lot of Ways," as quoted by Reuters.
Some minority groups are also likely to be significantly impacted. Ingrid Gould Ellen, professor of urban policy and planning at New York University, said black renters are less likely to have parents who own homes, a key source of wealth in the country, and can help them
According to a recent survey by real estate company Zillow, renters of color are requested to pay higher security deposits and more application fees than white renters.