Rent prices hit record highs nationwide

ORLANDO, Fla. — The cost of living is soaring and even hitting record levels nationwide.

A recent study by real estate research firm CoStar shows rent prices jumped more than 11% last year, marking the single highest increase ever recorded.

The same report shows some cities like Tampa and Austin experienced more than a 20% increase in rental growth last year.

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Housing experts say both the pandemic and inflation have impacted rental rates. They said supply chain issues have affected the cost for homebuilding materials like lumber, steel and copper.

Experts say these higher rental costs also disproportionately impact African American and Hispanic families.

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Another factor is a low housing stock. Some studies estimate that the United States is short about 5.5 million homes nationwide, which means demand is outpacing supply.

But experts say the housing shortage is not just a federal issue.

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“It’s a state and local issue, because lot of the factors affecting supply relate to local zoning and land use regulations, which restrict the types of housing that can be built that limit the density of housing, which can be a source of affordable homes,” said Dennis Shea, Executive Director of the Terwilliger Center for Housing Policy

Shea said one possible federal solution is the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act, which would offer incentives for developers to build entry level homes in distressed neighborhoods.

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“Other things include providing incentives for local communities to reform their zoning and land use practices to make them more amenable to building affordable housing, building housing at greater density, which could increase supply and kind of address our affordability challenges,” said Shea.

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