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New inflation numbers don't show promise for lower rent rates

Rent sign
Posted at 5:06 PM, Jun 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-10 18:19:25-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the latest inflation numbers, which show the consumer price index rose to 8.6%.

The increase is the largest since December 1981.

Prices of everyday necessities continue to rise including rent, and renters like Juliet Lewre notice.

"I go to KU and rent, I definitely see it increasing a bunch, and it's hard to find a place affordable nowadays," she said.

Lewre is looking for an apartment under $1,000. She moved to Kansas City from Minneapolis.

"Two grand a month for an apartment was what we were looking at, so yeah I definitely had to move," Lewre said.

Stacey Johnson-Cosby is president of the KC Regional Housing Alliance. She says property owners are also feeling the impact of inflation.

“We’re small businesses and we can’t absorb those costs, and so as the cost of labor and materials and supplies goes up, we have to reflect that in our rent amounts," Johnson Crosby said.

Johnson-Cosby adds property owners can't absorb the rising costs and continue to stay in business.

She shares one solution is converting vacant lots into new properties, another option involves the government.

“If they can either stay out of housing or work with housing providers to come up with solutions that are good for us, that is something. Otherwise, we’re losing our local housing providers that provide the affordable housing to outside investors, and so policy matters," she said.

According to Zillow's rent index, rent prices have steadily climbed in the Kansas City area since 2014. From April 2021 to April 2022, rent jumped more than 11% in Kansas City.

Zillow's Observed Rent Index

Lewre is considering working full-time to afford rent and hopes to find something soon.

"Prices are a little bit cheaper down here, but still everything is expensive now," Lewre said.