SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A new apartmentlist.com report says rent prices around the country have gone up by nearly 18% in the past year. Some renters in the Ozarks tell OzarksFirst they’re seeing a similar trend and are having to dig deeper into their pockets lately.
OzarksFirst spoke with Katrina Buening, who says she now has to pay $600 more every month. She just signed another year-long lease, and her rent has gone up by $250.
“It hasn’t really affected me as far as how we live,” Buening said. “We are very blessed, but it has made me more mindful of everything going up. Groceries are going up, rent and houses are getting more expensive. Everything has just gone way up. As far as the day-to-day it’s just the intentionality of, ‘Don’t just spend because you can, but being more intentional with our money and our finances.”
Buening lives in a 55+ apartment building, and she tells OzarksFirst she’s worried about how this is impacting her elderly neighbors.
“They live on a fixed income,” Buening said. “I really can see the impact just talking with them, what it can do for them and it’s really sad to watch.”
Lonnie Funk with the Springfield Apartment & Housing Association tells OzarksFirst that in the past year, the rent has gone up by 8% percent in Springfield. This is different from the last three years when the Queen City only averaged a 4% increase.
“Nobody likes to see their rent go up,” Funk said. “I think the really frustrating thing to people is they may have just gotten a wage increase. They’ve seen that wage increase basically get all the way used up due to inflation in everyday items, and rent is one of those items.”
Funk tells OzarksFirst that a one-bedroom apartment in Springfield normally will cost you around $700, and a two-bedroom will cost you $800. If you factor in the 8% increase in rent prices, he says people are paying $56 more on a one-bedroom and $62 more on a two-bedroom.
As someone who manages around 2,200 leases in Springfield, Funk says the best way people can deal with a more expensive rent is by talking to their landlord.
“The best thing is for people to communicate with us if they have an issue, so we can help them,” Funk said. “If they don’t respond to us, then you start worrying that they’re going to skip on you, or they don’t want to talk to you. If they don’t talk to you, you can’t help.”
Funk says there are charity groups willing to help you with your rent.
“Catholic Charities [of Southern Missouri], OACAC, SAFHR to help assist in them being able to pay their rents,” Funk said. “I encourage people to stay where they’re at if where they’re living is comfortable for them, and just kind of see it through here a little bit. To think you can pick up and just move someplace else to get similar accommodations may not work out for them.”
He says there aren’t too many apartments available in the area at the moment. The last time Funk checked, Springfield had created 8,000 jobs. In turn, a lot of pressure has been put on which apartments are available.
“There are some new apartments that are being built in the market and some that are going to start, but it takes almost 14-16 months to complete an apartment project now,” Funk said. “There’s no immediate help out there.”