Skip to main content

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?


  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.

    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.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

So After Five Years, THIS Happened:

Something big happened earlier in October and I wanted to share it here, especially for those who've stuck around since the summer of 2017 when we started this journey : That right there is our student loan balance. Let's take a closer look: And please note that it is now ZEROOOOOOOOOOOOO. (Okay, actually -$1.02, and Mohela says they will be sending us a refund check for that amount. Whatever will we DO with our newfound fortune) That's right. The student loan that has clung to us like an ultra-persistent leech for the past 20 years is gone. What's more, we are finally, FINALLY [[[Drum rolllllllllllll]]] DEBT FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Here's a graph of our debt payoff in the context of big life events such as medical emergencies, job changes (including my Big Quit back in April 2019 ), and a global pandemic. The x-axis represents month/year (with June and December shown). The y-axis represents total debt in thousands of dollars: Five years, people! FIVE! That's a

Fall 2022 Post-Debt Expenses Breakdown

Now that we've finished paying off our debt (I'm still over the moon about it, I really am), I've been working on an updated list of our household expenses for the current quarter. This season of the year is typically our spendiest, thanks to two birthdays, our anniversary, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  We try to restrain ourselves when it comes to presents, but even when we're conservative and limit ourselves to 1-2 gifts per person, we always seem to veer away from true frugality (and frankly, I'm at the point now where I'm not going to forego gift-giving in my immediate family just to save a little money).  Although the topic of expenses might seem a bit boring, I've found it useful to track how they've changed over time. And I know that even with no debts to service, we're spending more than we used to , partly because our needs have changed and partly because of inflation (I'm looking at you, grocery bill and rent!) Here's what our month

Work: Caring Less Until They Let Me Care More

I've been at my current company for more than 1.5 years. It's a record for me. In the past, I've lasted a year on average before calling it quits for one reason or another (documented extensively in my posts tagged as "work"). My current job isn't exactly a passion of mine. I took it because it was the only thing I could get at the end of 2020, when the job market was still in pretty rough shape thanks to the pandemic. It's dull. Most of the time I feel like Helly in the show  Severance  as she slouches at her computer and drops numbers into bins for eight hours a day for reasons unbeknownst to anyone but the powers that be.  I made it through my first year at my company as an underpaid customer service rep mostly because I had a supportive boss and collaborative teammates. Last December, after a frustrating negotiation in which it was made clear to me that I am a mere cog in the giant company wheel, I was promoted to a new (but still tedious) role with a