‘It’s just not affordable anymore. It’s hard to find a place’: Renters struggle to keep up with price hikes

SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington and Idaho took the top spots for rent increases in the country. Boise renters saw rates increase 12% in the last year, and just last month Spokane’s rent increased more than 6%, according to new findings from Apartment List.

Nationally, rent increased around 5% from last year to this year, but in Spokane, it was over a 20% increase. This is making it harder than ever for renters to find affordable housing. Taylor Harris has lived with a roommate for the past few years, but she’s been saving up for a house and wanted to try living on her own again.

RELATED: Study: Spokane rents have increased 20.4 percent in the past year

“It’s just not affordable anymore. It’s hard to find a place, and it sucks because it’s such a lovely city,” Harris said.

She tried looking at her old apartment complex but realized she couldn’t even consider it because the prices on the same one bedroom, one bath she had rented before had increased almost $600.

“I don’t want to max out my paychecks just renting,” she said. “I just didn’t expect it to go up that much so soon. I’ve only been here two two and a half years. I expected maybe $100 to $200 but not a good $500 to $600 above.”

She ended up using Facebook Marketplace to find a new place to live. She took over someone else’s lease and will have a lower rate because of it. She’s been saving for a home but can’t afford anything yet because homes are selling at extremely high prices in the area. More people like Harris thought they’d be able to buy but are getting priced out of the market, creating a situation where more people are forced to rent and there just isn’t enough supply.

RentCafe ranks Spokane as the second most competitive market in the country in their new competitivity report. They analyzed 125 U.S. rental markets and found that 97% of the city’s apartments filled up in the first three months of the year.

These rent increases are also forcing people to reconsider selling their home in this booming real estate market. Sellers can make a big profit on their sale, but Ric Meyer didn’t think it was worth it. He didn’t want to deal with renting a place at these high prices and not getting the most out of his sale because he would probably have to make an offer well over asking price to keep up with other, more competitive buyers.

“Taking the cash out and being able to make the house the way we want made more sense financially than it did to sell the house,” Meyer said.

He was able to refinance his home and plans to upgrade his current home into something better with the cash. He’s encouraging anyone who’s considering selling to make sure they have a plan for after the home sells.

“Make sure you have a plan in place that when you sell, you have somewhere to go,” he said.

Harris isn’t surprised more people want to call Spokane home, she just hopes she’ll be able to continue being able to afford living in the city she loves.

“It’s worth it for me to stick it out and try but a little nervous for how far it’s going to go for the next couple of years,” Harris said.

Washington’s eviction moratorium is set to expire June 30th, and nearly 200,000 people are behind in rent and could face evictions.

RELATED: City of Spokane awarded $6 million for people struggling to pay rent