Rent soaring across the state as affordable housing becomes increasingly scarce

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The housing market has been hot lately, but it’s not just homes for sale that are going up in price. Rent has also seen a spike across the Sunflower State. 

Approximately one-third of Kansans are renters. But, according to property manager Ryan Smith, those searching for a new place or thinking of resigning a lease can expect to spend 5-to-10% more than last year.

“I even have some units that increased 15%,” said Smith. 

Smith mentioned that although prices are soaring, renters are doing what they can to get the upper hand in a scarce market.

“If I have a new listing, my wife and I can’t sleep that night because I’m getting so many emails and my phone is buzzing,” he said.

According to Smith, renters are willing to pay upwards of $100 over the listed price of a property. 

“People are just applying for every unit that becomes available.”

That’s the case with Teryn Norik-Ybarra, who has recently moved from Washington state to Wichita.

“I was pretty lenient on what I was picking, and it was still really difficult to find something,” said Norik-Ybarra. 

Norik-Ybarra said she called over 50 different places and paid hundreds of dollars in application fees, yet claims no one would return her call.

“There was nothing I got desperate.”

Norik-Ybarra moved to the Air Capitol two weeks early just to find a place. When she finally did, it cost her more than she planned. “I’m willing to do that to get into place for me and my kids,” she said. 

Ryan Vincent, the executive director at the Kansas Housing Resources Corp, said the basic principle of supply and demand is causing the hike across the state. 

“We have a shortage of affordable housing across the state, that’s rural and urban areas alike,” Vincent said.   

According to Vincent, another factor affecting the market is that builders are moving towards the high-end market, meaning less affordable housing for the average Kansan.

“Then, we see a crunch,” he added.

The Kansas Housing Resources Corp has programs to aid both renters and landlords struggling with housing needs. For more information, click here

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