SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s residential housing market is among the hottest in the nation, but for some, particularly renters, the increasing cost of apartment living is weighing heavily on their household bottom lines.

Wasatch Front resident Garrett Cooper, 34, is among the growing number of Utahns coping with the economic realities of paying rising rental rates while trying to balance other personal financial obligations. Following a divorce, he now shares custody of his son while renting an apartment in Millcreek.

“It’s very tough,” Cooper said. “It’s difficult. I find every year that I have to make cuts and sacrifices on different things as the rent goes up year to year.”

He pays approximately 35 percent of his gross monthly income for rent, but more than 50 percent of his net monthly household income, he noted. Dedicating such a large portion of his wages to rent has been challenging, he said, and the cost has gone up significantly over the past several years.

Sometimes his household budget cuts involve discontinuing a movie streaming service, while other “belt-tightening” choices force him to look for the “best bargain” when shopping for necessities, he said.

“It can be a real struggle,” he said. “I get paid biweekly, so there are times when I’ll get paid almost a full two weeks before the rent is due and won’t get paid again until after the rent is due.”

He said those times are particularly tough.

“(I’ll be) at the point where I have to decide which bills to skip or which groceries to skip,” Cooper explained. A number of his friends and family members have found themselves in similar circumstances, he said, due in large part to rising rental rates.

According to the 2018 Cost Burden Report, nearly half — 49.5 percent — of all renter households nationwide are “cost-burdened.” The report stated that moderately burdened households spend 30 percent to 50 percent of household income on rent, while severely burdened households spend more than half their income on rent.

In the U.S., the number of rent-burdened households in 2017 was 3.1 million greater than in 2007, the report stated, with Florida registering the highest cost-burden rate at 56.4 percent. A household earning the median renter income would be burdened by the median rent in 20 of the nation’s 25 largest metro areas, explained report author Chris Salviati, senior economist for Apartment List.

“Half (of all renters) are cost-burdened, and 1 in 4 are severely cost-burdened — spending more than half their income on rent,” he said. “When you’re spending that much of your gross income on rent, it really doesn’t leave much for even covering basic necessities, let alone planning for the future.”

A major factor in the rising rents has been the increase in the number of renter households while homebuying households have declined, Salviati noted. Additionally, the number of high-income renter households has grown as well.

“Keeping the higher income households in the rental market are driving rents up, and making it even tougher for people that are at the lower end of …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News


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Utahns struggling with high cost of rent

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