BOISE -- Are you having a tough time finding an affordable place to live? If so, you're not alone.
The cost of living is rising in the Treasure Valley.
KTVB went house hunting a couple weeks ago and found low vacancy rates across the board, and home prices rising. So we wanted to find out: what's the rental market like?
KTVB's Morgan Boydston went house hunting in Boise again Thursday and found out just like the buyers market, the rental market is tight with extremely low vacancy rates, as rent continues to rise. We toured three different properties, and while we focused in on Boise, data shows all of Ada County and Canyon County are seeing the same trend.
United States Census Bureau data shows the average median household income in the Boise metro area is $50,323. Experts say you should spend between 25 and 30 percent of your monthly gross income on housing expenses, so if you're making the average median income and spending 25 percent on housing, you should be paying about $1,050.
Currently across Ada County, a National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) report shows the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment, for example, is about $830, while average rent for a three-bedroom house is about $1,280.
The first property we visited was a townhouse-style apartment in west central Boise, managed by First Service Group Property Management. The two-story 1,000 square-foot apartment was built around 2008-2009 and has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. First Service Group owner Chris Todd says rent is now going for $980, which is a little less expensive than the average three-bedroom apartment in Ada County ($1,085).
"Across the board you're right around that $950-$1,200 mark for a three-bedroom just depending on age, condition and location," Todd said. "
"It's location, location, location," Apartment Locators Homefinding Service regional manager, James Asroui, said.
Speaking of location, the North End neighborhood in Boise undoubtedly touts some of the highest rent price tags in the City of Trees, so we went there next.
"The demand is high for this area," Wright Property Management office assistant, Debbie Morrison, told KTVB.
Morrison showed us a roughly 500 square-foot one bedroom, one-bathroom unit going for about $700 per month, including utilities.
"This is actually an average home for what we have downtown," Morrison said.
With its charm and character, rent continues to increase in this area, which Morrison says is due to the lack of availability in the north end and the downtown core. She believes this apartment - which was converted from a garage - would have gone for about $350-$400 five years ago.
Next, we wanted see what some rental houses were going for in a neighborhood across town, with historically lower rent.
We took a tour of a renovated mid-1970's three bedroom, two-bathroom home.
"The owner is asking $1,400. She's a little flexible on the price," Asroui said. "Houses are going quick."
At 1,600 square feet, the house would cost you a little bit more per month than the average three-bedroom, single-family home in Ada County.
"Since 2015, every lease or renewal that comes up we're seeing at least a $25 to $50 increase per month," Todd said.
Supply and demand is the biggest driver of prices, property managers say, especially as so many people migrate here from the West Coast.
"Prices do have a tendency to go up," Asroui added.
According to the recent NARPM quarterly report, vacancy rates for apartments and houses in Ada and Canyon counties are hovering at about 3.5 percent.
"Historically that's very low," Todd added.
"We're usually rented within a week at least, maybe two," Morrison said about their downtown Boise properties.
But property managers are hopeful that could change, as new construction continues on apartment complexes and houses.
"With all these units coming to the market in next six months, I think we will see kind of a leveling off of the rental rates," Todd said.
Property managers tell us rent prices are dictated by them and the property owners and are dependent upon the owners' goals and how much other comparable and nearby units are rented for.
The buyers' market certainly affects the rental market, as well; because there is low inventory - especially for affordable homes - people rent until they can find or build a home, which can also drive up rent.