It’s a journey that most people eventually take.
Fifteen years ago, Anne Carte decided to leave the familiar comforts of home and family to move out on her own.
For Carte, who was 20 years old at the time, moving to the Biggest Little City from San Jose, Calif., represented an exciting and crucial juncture in her life.
“I moved to Reno to grow up and be an adult,” Carte said.
The year 2002 had its fair share of memorable moments. That same year, “Star Wars: Episode II” debuted in theaters, Tiger Woods won the 66th Masters Tournament and “American Idol” premiered on television.
One thing Carte specifically remembers was the cost of rent. Back then, the monthly rate for Carte’s first studio in Sparks was only $495. For a young person who just moved out of home and landed an entry-level job at Target, an affordable place to stay was not a luxury. It was a basic necessity.
These days, Carte lives in a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment in Reno with her son. Unlike her initial foray into independence, the excitement of moving out has since faded for the 35-year-old. Instead, Carte says she’s just trying to survive and provide for her child.
When Carte first moved into her Reno apartment six years ago, her rent was $750. As Northern Nevada started to enjoy an economic development renaissance in the last few years, however, residents like Carte found themselves caught in the costly wake of Reno’s housing crunch.
The recent influx of new workers combined with near-zero residential development during the recession gave birth to a classic supply-and-demand scenario that saw the cost of housing skyrocket in the Biggest Little City. Just this July, the median price for an existing single-family home in Reno hit an all-time high of $387,250, eclipsing the previous record of $380,000 set in January 2006.
Apartments are no exception.
In the second quarter of 2017, the average rent in the greater Reno-Sparks metro area hit $1,194, according to the latest multifamily report from Johnson Perkins Griffin. Vacancies, meanwhile, fell all the way down to 1.17 percent. Both are all-time records for an area that has hovered among the top metros in the country for increasing rents in several national lists.
“The average rent and current vacancy rates we’re seeing are historical,” said Scott Griffin, a principal and co-founder of real estate appraisal and consulting firm Johnson Perkins Griffin.
It’s a trend that spells bad news for many residents. Not only are many tenants being squeezed by rising rents, some are also finding themselves becoming potential targets of no-cause evictions as property owners capitalize on strong demand by remodeling apartments and charging higher rent.
Carte is no exception. Last April, her rent rose once again, reflecting the realities of a multifamily market that continues to surge. Today, the same apartment that cost her $750 per month six years ago is up to $1,140 per month. Carte does not even want to think about what might happen next year if rising rents from the last few years continue to be a trend.
“My rent has been going up every year by $100 and it now takes over pretty much half of my paycheck,” the 35-year-old Carte said. “I’m getting really scared with what’s going on.”
Source: Reno Gazette-Journal (AP)