Demand for rentals is rising

That's leading to an increase in rent in some areas.

BAKERSFIELD - Rental demand is on the rise. That's according to a new national study released from Harvard University. The study shows there are fewer vacancies. And, with more demand and less supply, rental prices are creeping up.

Bakersfield is following the national trend.

"The demand for apartments has gone up," said Northridge Apartments property manager Steve Coleman.

Coleman says only two of the sixty units at the complex are vacant. But, with such high demand he says they'll be filled in days.         

"The cost of living is going up, but people's wages are not going up. So, that's what's killing everyone in Bakersfield right now," said Coleman.

Coleman says with the spike in need, comes a spike in price. This year, they raised the rent $25 a month.

"So, we haven't increased our rent in four years until this year," said Coleman.

While the increase here isn't as high as the four percent rent increases found in the study in some parts of the West, it's in line with the 1.6 percent annual increase found in Fresno and the 1.8 percent increase in the Ventura/Oxnard area.

Wilma Russ raised her now grown children in an apartment. She says renting is just easier.

"That way I don't have to pay no water bill. I don't have to worry about the lawn being taken care of and all of that. And, here we have a swimming pool. I don't even have to clean the swimming pool. I just pay my rent," said Russ.

At ATCO Property Management, owner Darren Powers says single family inventory is very low.

"Hottest market of single family homes I've ever had is right now and I've been doing this for 28 years," said Powers.

Powers says homes renting in the range of $1,000 to $1,500 a month are gone in days. The same goes for apartments costing $750 to $1,000 a month.

"Our rents are definitely higher than they have been traditionally or say in the past eighteen months. We're moving rents up a little bit slowly," said Powers.

Powers says more people don't want the maintenance responsibility and others, once caught in foreclosure, are left with a bad taste of ownership.

"There are a lot of people that came out of the climb when they were purchased on the real estate market and they don't want to be homeowners again. They now are going to be tenants long-term," said Powers.

Powers says traditionally Bakersfield is behind the statewide curve, so when rents max out elsewhere, we'll be soon to follow.

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