Action 13 Renters' Rights looks into the future of rent as costs climb

Action 13 Renters' Rights: What is the future of rent as costs climb?
As the housing market in Houston continues to get more expensive, Action 13 Renters' Rights looks into what the future holds for tenants.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In Houston, the majority of households are renters, according to census data. With the cost of rent going up and up, ABC13 spoke with experts about the future of rent and if there is any relief in sight.

"Buying homes right now is not an easy one, and everything is going up," Zondora Curtis, a new homeowner, said.

When ABC13 spoke to Curtis back in December, she had worked and made sacrifices for three years in order to make her dream of owning her own home a reality.

"I made the decision to move further out to the outskirts of Houston to be able to save and pay less in rent to save to buy the home. So I made a lot of strategic changes in my finances and how I budget my money to be able to get where I wanted to be three years later," Curtis explained.

The reality is, as of January, the average sales price of a single-family home in our area is $381,983, making it tough for many to afford their own home. So renting is the option, but that's on the rise too.

"Since 2010, in the city of Houston, rent has gone up 13%. That's after adjusting for inflation. In the county, they have gone up 9%. In both of these cases, that's actually faster than the population growth rate," Steve Sherman, a research scientist at the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University, explained.

According to the latest U.S. Census data, the median rent in Harris County is $1,164, and nearly half of all renters in the county spend more than 30% of their income on housing.

"Houston is not Austin. Houston is not San Francisco. It's not New York or D.C., but we still have a humongous share of cost-burdened renters," Sherman said.

He said the influx of people moving to the area plays a part in the price of rent. However, it's not the only factor, and he doesn't think we'll see a decrease in rent prices any time soon.

"The economy is strong. My crystal ball says that I bet on the rent going up even more," Sherman said.

Cathy Treviño, the chair of the Houston Association of Realtors, explains there is some good news for those looking to eventually buy a home. Home prices aren't going up as much as they have been.

"We're looking at inflation, cost of homes, and interest rates. All three really impacted our industry and have made prices start to try to go back to more normal. They are still rising, but not as high and not as large of price increments we were seeing this same time last year," Treviño said.

So if you are one of the thousands stuck paying for rising rent and would like to have a home, here's advice from someone who's been crunching the numbers.

"Save up for a down payment and wait. Just wait until the interest rates go down," Sherman said.

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Do you have questions about your rent? Are you struggling to get help from landlord? Send us your questions and we will look into it.