Rental Prices Have Risen in 81 of the Biggest 100 Markets Over the Last Year and New College Grads are Feeling it the Most

A special type of upward pressure is being applied to the rental market in many of the nation’s largest population centers. Traditionally, those in their late 20s and early 30s start moving into homes en masse after getting a few years of post-college work experience under their belt. It appears now as though the nation’s ballooning student loan debt and lack of well-paying degree-related jobs has turned into a boon for landlords.

November numbers from Apartment List show that year to year, 81 out of the nation’s 100 biggest housing markets have experienced rising rents.

In some places, mainly west of the Mississippi River, the increase has been substantial, with Tacoma, WA seeing the biggest increase in the nation at a little over 9%. Not far behind is nearby Seattle with just under a 7% rise.

Only 6 out of the 100 markets saw a year over year drop of 2% or more, while 42 out of 100 have seen a rise of 2% or more.

Much of this increase is likely due to the fact that younger people continue to rent for longer periods of time out of necessity. Paying off student loan debt burden that they carry (though possibly due to the misguided pretense of “just go to college, you’ll be fine”) keeps their monthly expenses high enough to both prevent saving for a down payment and hurts their debt to income ratio. As anyone who has gone through the mortgage process in the past will tell you, banks scrutinize those two aspects of your application particularly hard.

Starting off post-college life with an average of about $30,000 in debt according to 2012 numbers, extrapolated to about $37,000 in 2016 numbers (total student loan debt has risen about 30% since 2012), makes it hard to become a homeowner. In addition, only about 30% of Federal student loans are on 10 year repayment plans, meaning other plans may saddle college grads with debt for at least a decade, possibly two or more.

Financeography Tip: You may want to check your credit report to make sure your student loans are being reported correctly. Catching a problem now can make it easier for you to fix it, keeping your credit score intact.


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