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Renters and property owners seeing impacts of low inventory, high demand

High demand and low inventory are translating into sky-high rental costs.

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — If you’re looking for a place to rent in Central Pennsylvania, you’re not alone. 

Apartments are at a premium these days and that means prices are going through the roof.

"I think we are getting into, and have been in a housing crisis," said Justin Eby, executive director of Lancaster County Housing & Redevelopment Authorities.

Low inventory has been compounded by the eviction moratorium among other factors.

"There weren’t any evictions going on so we didn’t have that natural cycle of units becoming available," explained Eby. "Also I think more people are staying put in their homes.”

With inflation at a record high, many people can’t afford to buy in the current real estate market, and there’s not nearly enough rental properties to go around.

"We’re seeing a lot of people [on] waiting lists with 15 to 20 people for a single unit which is not something we’ve experienced in the past," said Eby.

According to the Lancaster County's housing & redevelopment authorities, fair market rent has jumped 11 percent in the past year. 

That translates to increases of two to three hundred dollars a month.

Those in the industry, like Eby, say more tenants are searching for help.

"If you’re on a fixed income you can’t support that much of an increase, maybe gradually over time with other support, but not in a year," he said.

Rita Dallago is the executive director of the Pennsylvania Residential Owners Association and she says it’s a tough time for property owners too.

"[They're dealing with] increasing taxes, increasing costs for insurance, I mean I’m hearing $300-a-year increases in insurance," said Dallago.

Landlords are also seeing hikes in the cost of utilities and unit maintenance.

Dallago says it’s hard to predict when the situation could get better.

"I’m hoping they can come up with some sort of means of leveling things off to bring it back into a balance."

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