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Average Boise rent drops slightly but renters say it's still unaffordable

The average rent in Boise dropped 3.1%, according to a report from Apartmentlist.com. Rental assistance non-profit Jesse Tree says renters aren't seeing the benefit.

BOISE, Idaho — The average cost of rent in Boise dropped 3.1% in October, according to a report from apartmentlist.com. However, that same report stated Boise rent has increased overall by 34% since March 2020,  the sharpest decline across the largest 100 cities in the United States.

Despite the small decrease, rental assistance non-profit Jesse Tree doesn't expect this slight decrease to help renters.

"3% decrease is great, but it's definitely not solving the problem," Jesse Tree Executive Director Ali Rabe said.

Since the beginning for the pandemic, Rabe said the demand for Jesse Tree rental assistance services increased by 300% and there is no evidence to suggest the slight 3.1% drop in October helped those in need.

Looking at data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Jesse Tree expects the cost of rent in Boise to increase by 10% over the next year, which will only put more stress on renters in an already volatile market.

"I dont think rent is going down at all," Boise renter Eric Schaller said. "When I first got my apartment it was April of this year, it was $1,300. In the span of 8 months- if I was to get that same apartment now - it would be $1,600 a month at the same complex."

Schaller has lived in Boise since 2009 and remembers considering Boise rental costs fair. As recent as 2013, Schaller rented a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom unit for $750 a month. In October 2021, a unit of the same size costs $1,608, according to apartmentlist.com.

It's this continuous cost of rising rent that's driving some people out of town. Gayo Mazambi decided to go that route two years ago by moving to Indianapolis. He said his new life is more affordable.

"I went [to Indianapolis]. I found a two-bedroom apartment for $650," Mazambi said. "Compared to Boise - two years ago - I used to pay $789 or something. Almost $800 for a one-bedroom apartment. So, I thought [Indianapolis] was the best option."

Schaller is now thinking about following Mazambi's lead and moving out of state; it's a symptom of simply getting priced out.

"I'm thinking perhaps Oregon, or perhaps going Midwest," Schaller said. "I could make more over there, yet pay less for rent. It's crazy."

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