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High demand leading to bidding wars for rental homes

California Evictions
Posted at 2:04 PM, Aug 20, 2021

Typical rent prices are up 7% since last year, according to Zillow. That's mostly because of demand.

People who wanted a house and can't afford it now are turning to rental homes. It's even starting bidding wars in some places with people offering above the listed rent price.

The National Apartment Association (NAA) says it's mostly heard of this happening for single-family rental properties.

“There was a family that came in and said, ‘We want to be in the school district, we tried to buy a home, we couldn't do it, and we want this and we're going to pay you X amount more per month, just because we want to be here,’” said Bob Pinnegar, the president and CEO of the NAA.

“This is a really individual decision and not something that, you know, we have a lot of data to understand exactly what the, you know, pros and cons of this are,” said Nicole Bachaud, an economic data analyst at Zillow.

The NAA says bidding wars aren't a major factor driving prices up and it's a trend that likely won't stick around long in the rental market. The organization says rising prices are more because of remote workers and multiple generations looking to rent at the same time.

Baby boomers want to take advantage of the housing market and downsize right now. Fewer millennials have been buying homes for years now, and a lot of Gen Zers are landing their first job out of college and moving into their first place.

If you're having trouble finding an affordable place that meets your expectations, try to only focus on the necessities and know what your options are in advance.

“So, to really understand, you know, I need two bedrooms versus I want two bedrooms is going to help people kind of narrow down their options and really focus in on what they're looking for,” said Bachaud.

“I would say that at least 90 days before your lease expires, perhaps longer depending upon your market and how active it is, have a conversation with a property management company and ask them what the rental rates are. Ask them what the renewals are going to be so you understand your options well in advance,” said Pinnegar.

Both housing experts we spoke with expect the rental market to stabilize soon.