Butler County rent spikes spurred by inflation, housing shortage

“If rental rates are rising, it’s primarily due to the limited supply of housing and the increased ancillary expenses that these small business owners face. [with in order] to maintain the house,” Gallant wrote in an email.

Gallant wrote that increased housing production would allow lower rates and more options for tenants, and that small landlords have a vested interest in keeping tenants long-term to avoid high turnover costs. .

“Housing providers are generally resistant to increases, especially large ones,” Gallant wrote. “To avoid them, the best policy is an abundance of housing so that providers compete with other providers, rather than residents competing with each other for scarce housing.”

Mindy Muller, president of the Butler County Housing and Homeless Coalition, said new affordable housing options have not kept pace with the aging and decay of the county’s housing stock over the years.

“There was an effort to try to get the burn out, and some of those houses were no longer being maintained and they had to be demolished,” Muller said. “But we haven’t replaced or replenished that housing stock that was an affordable place for people.”

For tenants, the lack of housing supply means that more and more private landlords are also deprived of options.

“There are a lot more local owners leaving the business because they’re being bought out by these outside owners coming in and buying the properties,” Muller said. “That’s absolutely what’s going on here.”

Brian Carberry, Senior Editor of Lease. (also known as rent.com) – an indexing service that also collects and compares rental prices year over year – said the increases in Butler County are “…all very much in line with what you would expect nationally”.

Carberry said this nationwide increase in rents, which began late last summer and is currently peaking, may be the market that more or less corrects itself after rents remained “relatively flat” at the peak. of the economic impact of COVID.

Factors within the housing market are also contributing to higher rents, Carberry said. A higher cost of living and higher mortgage rates are preventing more people from owning a home, which in turn is increasing short-term demand on rental properties and driving up rents.

Meanwhile, falling housing inventories mean there are fewer homes to buy or rent, and rising home costs mean the cheapest options on the spectrum are being grabbed.

“There’s a lot at stake,” Carberry said. But he expects the rate hike to be limited to this year. In other words, he thinks a tenant won’t have to pay an extra 20% on a lease signed in 2023.

“If people sign a one-year lease, it’s probably a big one-time increase, and then next year when they sign their lease – assuming things stay stable and there’s no of external factors that have an impact on the economy – this rate of increase gained will not be as significant next year.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics said May saw the biggest increase in the housing index since 2004. In particular, rental prices across the country rose 0.6% for the second consecutive month.

Data from Lease. shows big jumps in Butler County towns. The average one-bedroom apartment in Hamilton is 20% more expensive than a year ago, while the average two-bedroom apartment is 13% more expensive.

One-bedroom apartments in Middletown saw a 16% year-over-year increase, while Fairfield saw a 36% increase.

Angela Winesett, a tenant in Hamilton who has lived in the same house for two years, said her landlord told her her rent would go up by $50, or about 9%, starting in July.

Winesett, whose salary has been stagnant since a pay rise at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and before inflation peaked, said she will feel the increase.

“I wanted to go back to my job and say [them], ‘They raised the rent, can I get a raise at work?’ But it didn’t work out very well,” Winesett said. “Fifty dollars is fifty dollars, you know? It’s a difference.

The Journal-News previously reported that SELF helped more customers in May than any other month since the pandemic began, coinciding with the highest inflation rates in decades.

ExploreMore Butler County residents getting help with utilities and rent as costs soar

Diver described the current economic scenario as a “perfect storm” for renters.

“All other costs are also increasing; the cost of gas, the cost of food, the cost of rent — all of that. These increases have more impact on households with the lowest incomes than on others.

All households that receive assistance from SELF will, at some point, be ineligible for additional assistance, and Diver said the future is unclear for customers who reach that limit.

“Every week we see more and more households reaching the limit of the assistance we can provide. What happens after that is anyone’s guess,” Diver said.

Lauren Brindley, a single mother of three who moved to Hamilton after being evicted from Cincinnati last November, said her experience with her private landlord should serve as an example to area housing providers raising rents in above the rate of inflation.

“The owners benefit from it,” Brindley said. “If my landlord can afford to rent this for a reasonable price because he knows I’m a single mom…there’s no reason any of these landlords here shouldn’t charge the prices they charge. have.”

Muller said there are “good conversations going on” about increasing the amount of affordable housing in the area, and those conversations need to feature local organizations, housing providers and tenants.

“At the end of the day, everyone lives somewhere,” Muller said. “Having a holistic approach to how we solve this as a community is essential.”

Julio V. Miller