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This Rent Is Bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!


I ushered in the last day of the month as I usually do: by paying our rent while grumbling into my cup of coffee. I was particularly grumpy today because May 31 marks the first day of our new 12-month lease. Like most renters in the low-supply, high-demand housing hellscape of 2022, we now find ourselves shelling out substantially more than we did a year ago just to keep a roof over our heads.

Everyone loves a cute little mountain town, and so housing costs here have always been an issue for everyone but the wealthy. But now they're absolutely out of control. The median listing price has soared to $725K, and it continues to increase every week. So do rental costs. 

We frequently find ourselves saying goodbye to friends who've given up on trying to make it work and are moving to more affordable locales or who simply want to get more bang for their buck in a LCOL (lower cost of living) area. 

Although I love northern AZ for many reasons and hope hope hope we can stay here after my son graduates in a few years, our rental trajectory suggests that may not be possible. 

Here's a brief history of our housing costs since we moved here:

2016: $1414/month. This was for a two-bedroom apartment in a neglected complex in a great part of town. Sure, the cabinets were falling off the walls, and yeah, I could hear my neighbors every time they sneezed, but the price was right (still pricy, but pretty much as good as it gets here) and the location put us close to work, school, and local parks.

2017: $1445/month. Same complex and same unit. Same weird smell emanating from the furnace. Same intractable mildew in the shower. The landlord increased our rent by only a few bucks, which was nice, but our quality of life eroded when we ended up with neighbors who liked to blast music in the middle of the night. Management said there was nothing they could do about it. I have a noise sensitivity that makes situations like that excruciating and untenable, so we started looking around for other options.

In early 2018, we shelled out close to $3500 to break our lease so that we could move to a quieter complex, where we put down a $2100 security deposit and immediately wrote a check for our first month's rent. Desperate times, desperate measures. 

We paid through the nose to make the switch, but we generally like this place and have been here ever since.

2018: $2102/month. Our duplex is close to the old apartment, so we kept the fantastic location and wound up with much quieter and more considerate neighbors. 

2019: $2205/month. We figured a $100 increase wasn't too bad and tried not to think about it.

2020: $2154/month. Miracle of miracles, we negotiated a rent reduction that year. It was a real feat. Bizarrely, a few months later the landlord called, said the negotiated reduction was an error, and asked if we would re-sign our rental agreement at a higher rate. We tried to stifle our laughter and declined. The complex was bought by a new company shortly thereafter.

2021: $2218/month. Mostly we were just relieved that our new overlords (errr, landlords) didn't jack up the rent right away. As in 2019, it was an increase, but it felt like a manageable one. 

2022: $2447/month. And here it is, folks, our new lease as of today -- a 10% increase that amounts to total housing costs of $29,364/year. Talk about a kick in the wallet. It's minimal compared to what other people have experienced this year (for instance, check out what Kara's landlord tried to pull when her lease came up for renewal in Austin, TX -- whoooosh), but wow, inflation is painful.

At least we know we're not alone? 

If you rent, has your monthly payment increased in the last year? If so, how are you handling that increase? Do you plan to make any changes to your lifestyle as a result?

Comments

  1. Might you be living in Flag? We left just this summer because housing was Out. Of. Control. Our 2-bed rent went from $2100 (already usurious) to $2400 at which point we decided 1) we can afford to buy a really nice house at this monthly price--somewhere else and 2) while rent can increase exponentially our salaries won't--and these price increases are unsustainable. I checked to see what our apartment is now listed for: $2650. Bananas indeed.

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    1. OMG YES, and I wonder if you lived in my complex because those prices sound awfully familiar! I love it here but this is just not sustainable. We're committed to staying until my kid graduates in three years but after that, I don't know. Kind of eyeing the east coast since we have family back that way.

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