Editorial: Hard times persist for state’s renters
Want more proof that the improving economy hasn’t quite reached everyone yet? A residential rent survey conducted for the state housing authority makes clear what those looking for apartments in Concord and farther south could tell you: A decent place to live at a reasonable price is hard to find.
Since 2006 rents for all types of apartments have increased by nearly 10 percent. For two-bedroom apartments, that figure is 7.3 percent. The gross median rent statewide is more than $1,000, including utilities; in Concord it’s $1,038. But even if you can afford that, overall vacancy rates remain low – below 4 percent.
Low vacancy rates and higher rents have continued despite new construction. The housing authority explains that new units are typically offered at higher rates to support the cost of construction. “While it’s good to see signs of construction activity, demand for affordable rental units remains high,” said Dean Christon, executive director of New Hampshire Housing, in releasing the statistics. “In addition, relatively high foreclosure rates and low sales activity over the past several years have created increased pressure on the rental market.”
More would-be tenants competing for not enough apartments and rents that are hard to meet. As politicians on their August break get reacquainted with their constituents, they should be prepared for an earful.