Apartment prices in Fresno have risen 13.2% over a one-year period.
RELATED: Fresno ranks 2nd among U.S. cities in fastest rise in rent prices
Greg Terzakis of the California Apartment Association says people who were able to work remotely during the pandemic caused housing prices to spike here.
"You had a migration of people that had been living in very high-cost areas like San Jose, San Francisco, that decided they could move to the Valley," he says.
RENTCafe lists the Central Valley as the hottest rental market.
Spokane is number two, followed by Boise, Sacramento, and southern California's Inland Empire.
Those who moved here from the Bay Area found high-end apartment 'bargains' in the Valley.
"They could go from a one-bedroom, one-bath in the city for $3,000 a month to a three-bedroom, two-bath in a beautiful community in Fresno or Modesto or Stockton for $2500," says Terzakis.
These are mind-boggling prices for people who have always lived in central California.
RELATED: Housing market in Fresno booming despite pandemic
Pat Nolin moved to Merced from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
"I'm minimum wage here working locally downtown but close to 50-60% of that is going away every month to my rent," Nolin says.
"In the last year we've actually had to move out of our apartment. We got priced out. We moved here and we were able to afford it. Around $1200 a month but then they raised it on us and we're going to have to move."
Pat is downsizing from a two-bedroom to a one-bedroom apartment for the same price - $1,200 a month.
"In general you can see a trend upward and a lot of it is, there's a 1% vacancy rate here in Merced," says realtor Kristine Williams.
It's estimated 25 people are looking at the same apartment unit when it becomes available.