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New report highlights the pressures on Vt. renters - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

New report highlights the pressures on Vt. renters

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

You may not be seeing very many "For Rent" signs around.

"There's a severe lack of housing across the board," Erik Hoekstra said. "It's not even just an affordable housing problem, it's a housing problem."

Hoekstra is a development manager for Redstone, a commercial and residential real estate company in Chittenden County, where there is not enough supply to keep up with housing demand.

"We would need to add about 500 new apartments all at once and have none of them be absorbed to get to a healthy vacancy level," Hoekstra said.

And this demand for housing is causing rents to go up.

The Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition reports that fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Vermont is $1,007. And in order to afford this without paying more than 30 percent of income on housing, a household must earn $19.36.

The coalition also reports that the estimated average wage for a renter in Vermont is $11.24, and in order to afford the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment without paying more than 30 percent of income on rent, a renter must work 69 hours per week, 52 weeks per year.

And renters in Vermont are feeling the pressure on their wallets.

Reporter Shelby Cashman: What would your reaction be if I told you a recent report said that a person would need to make $19.36 an hour to afford a moderate, two-bedroom apartment?

"That's ridiculous. I mean I'm from Florida and just from the prices we pay for our one-bedroom apartment, we could be renting out a two-bedroom house in Florida," said Kyle Wilson, a renter in Essex Junction.

"I pay incredibly too much. Between the cost of rent and the cost of heating, it's insane," said Marielle Fisher, a renter in Warren.

But landlords say owning the buildings is pricey, too, and that rent just reflects rising costs, like taxes. And that there are ways for renters to make a two-bedroom apartment more affordable.

"If you had one or two or even three adults working, that number changes quite a bit on a per person basis," said Angela Zaikowski, the director of the Vermont Apartment Owners Association.

Redstone, along with some other real estate experts in the area, told us that some new housing projects are in the works, especially in Chittenden County where the demand is highest. But construction costs and growing interest rates are still of concern to developers.

Click here for the report on Vermont from the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition.

Click here for more from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

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