BOISE -- Earlier this week, we told you about a new national report revealing rent is unaffordable in most Idaho communities.
We brought you the stories of Idaho families and seniors struggling to make it in a market where growth is outpacing most wages. On Friday, KTVB's Morgan Boydston investigated and spoke with experts to find out what's causing the climb in rental rates in the Treasure Valley.
We have been hearing from a lot of viewers and social media followers in the community that they are facing rising rent every year. Data supports that: a closer look shows rent across the board in Ada County jumped 9.5 percent over the last year. Overall there was an increase of $107 per month per unit - for single and multi family units - making the average rent $1,300 per month in Ada County.
As we discovered, it's a culmination of factors that lead to property owners asking for more in your monthly check.
"It's primarily just around costs. There's a lot of different factors that associate to rent values," Realty Management Associates Property Manager Spencer Henderson said. "You can't pinpoint one thing but it's a combination of everything,"
The list of factors racks up: A property owner's expenses and the market itself dictate rent prices. Rising property taxes, maintenance and upkeep, improvements, insurance, utilities and cost of living fall into costs covered in your rent check. But those in the field say the market rate is really pushing prices upward.
"The two factors are the market itself - what is the market value? That especially affects new properties, new rentals," Henderson added. "Or you just see strictly just their yearly cost: taxes and everything pushing that up a little bit. Anyone who doesn't increase their rent with how the market keeps going up will take a loss."
Meanwhile, as more people move into the area many are willing to pay more for a place to live - causing values to skyrocket.
"A lot of people are moving in from California or Washington and Oregon and they're paying cash for homes," Ada County Assessor Bob McQuade said.
McQuade says we saw a median of 12 percent increase in assessed value from 2017 to 2018, caused by a variety of factors.
"We're seeing land values have gone up, construction costs have gone up, labor has gone up, materials have gone up," McQuade added.
As for increasing property taxes, McQuade says taxing districts' growing budgets to accommodate growth actually have the biggest impact. McQuade says if assessed values remained the same, but budgets went up, everyone would see an increase in property taxes, while if budgets were kept the same then there would be no change in your taxes.
"Budgets [in Ada County] can increase by 3 percent plus a component growth. That's what causes taxes to go up," he said. "Values have been going up, budgets have been going up."
He explains the baseline numbers to note: The median value of a home is $250,000 in Ada County. If your assessed value increased 12 percent, your taxes will be between 3 and 5 percent.
"If you have the average home of $251,000 you'll see your taxes go up somewhere between 3 to 5 percent this year," McQuade added.
A crucial chunk of why rents are climbing: Think back to your high school or college economics class and pull out the concept of supply and demand. We're seeing that play out in the Treasure Valley. Price is a reflection of that.
"The demand for housing has just been so great - it's been years since I've seen anything like it," McQuade said.
"There's going to be a plateau, whether it's an
economical nationwide plateau or just a
development of the area plateau.
At some point in time supply will catch up with the demand. When that happens you'll most likely see a plateau of rental prices," Henderson explained. "Just as any developing area you're going to get a period of growth, then it'll calm down.
Southwest Idaho chapter of the National Association of Residential Property Managers released a report in May showing Ada and Canyon County vacancy rates are up a tad - from 3.3 percent at the end of 2017 to 3.6 percent currently. However, those rates are still very low.
Answering the call for more housing post-Recession, Henderson says the supply of apartments is starting to swell.
"The housing market here has changed in the last five years more than it's changed in the last 20. The spike, the increase, how much is being bought up, how much is being built. And it's a different group between single family and multi-family buildings. The number of multi-family buildings have just - it's exceeded expectations. And they're being built every single day," Henderson said.
But like any business, Henderson says some property owners' goals are to make money, and increasing rent is how they reach those goals.
"They see it as any other investment," he said. "It fluctuates from owner to owner. You can have an owner who wants to see the most value for their investment. Which is well within their right. You could have another owner that has a more association to the personality of it, communication with tenant, relationships."
He suggests if you're worried about affording rent, keep in touch with your property owner or manager. Talk to them about the terms in your agreement, if they can be adjusted, and see if you can come to some sort of mutual understanding.