A new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition shows that housing has become so expensive in the U.S. that the average full-time minimum-wage worker cannot afford rent anywhere in the country.
And of 404 cities across the U.S., Sarasota median rent prices have increased by 20 percent—ranking it No. 43 in the country, and putting it in the top 11 percent of cities experiencing the fastest rent growth over the past year.
According to a report by Apartment List, a national online marketplace for residential, long-term renting, rental price growth has been outpacing prior-year averages for several months. The report’s national index increased by 2.3 percent in June, continuing the trend of rapid price growth since the start of the year. So far in 2021, national rental prices have grown by 9.2 percent—whereas in previous years, growth from January to June hovered around 2 to 3 percent.
In both Sarasota and Manatee counties, there's a similar trend. Prices are rising in Sarasota County, and they’re increasing at an even quicker rate in Manatee County. Since March of last year, monthly rents increased by 13 percent in Sarasota County and 19 percent in Manatee County.
In June 2021, rental price levels in Sarasota County increased by 4 percent, bringing them to $1,334 for a one-bedroom and $1,705 for a two-bedroom. In Manatee County, they rose by almost 7 percent last month, translating to roughly $1,214 for a one-bedroom and $1,456 for a two-bedroom rental.
The heightened demand for ready-to-move-into homes amid a limited inventory is the main culprit.
“The numbers don’t surprise me. A lot of shoppers have been unsuccessful at finding a home, especially for under the half-a-million-dollar price point. Many get discouraged and turn to renting,” says Jennifer Putnam, branch manager of Coldwell Banker Realty’s Sarasota Central office.
“With the long term flexibility of working from home over the past year, folks wanted to wait out the pandemic in places with natural amenities, since urban amenities were shuttered. This area offered a quieter, more spacious place to live. And nationally, it's still relatively affordable,” adds Chris Salviati, senior housing economist at Apartment List.
Nationwide, numbers still vary. Prices remain below pre-pandemic levels in harder-hit real estate markets like New York City and San Francisco. Rents in San Francisco, for example, are still 14 percent lower than they were in March 2020. Still, the city has seen prices increase by 17 percent since January of this year.
At the other end of the spectrum, many of the mid-sized markets that have seen rents grow rapidly through the pandemic are booming. Spokane, Washington, saw the nation’s fastest monthly rent growth in June—8.1 percent—and prices there are up 31 percent since the start of the pandemic. Other cities where rents increased the most since March 2020 include Boise, Idaho (39 percent) and Fresno, California (21 percent).