Renting in the Valley is getting harder as more move to Valley amid COVID-19

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Renting an apartment in Fresno is getting harder to do.

"The last 25 years, California has been woefully inadequate in building housing stock both single-family homes and multifamily apartments both market-rate and affordable," said Greg Terzakis with the California Apartment Association.

Terzakis said there's a shortage of housing and building costs are up.

"Unless we start building more of everything, everywhere, this crisis is not going to go away even post- COVID 19" he said.

According to Apartment List Search Data, compared to this time last year, there has been a 30% increase in the share of renters searching for leases of six months or less.

Many are leaving metropolitan areas and moving to less expensive areas because they can work remotely.

"So you have people that were paying $3,500 to $5,000 a month for an apartment in San Francisco or San Jose. That can move to the Valley to work remotely and spend a third of that, if not less. And because of the COVID shutdowns, the amenities of the larger cities, the restaurants, the nightclubs, the bars. They're all closed," Terzakis said.

Local people are competing with those from out of the area for housing.

Other San Joaquin Valley towns are also seeing an increase, like Bakersfield and Modesto.

"So, from a quality of life perspective. They can save a lot of money, still get their job done and live essentially the same life because of the lockdowns in the Valley," Terzakis said.

The apartment market has also been impacted by AB 3088, which expires on January 31. It allows protection for renters from being evicted and relief.

Terzakis said the owners are having to pay their bills regardless, making it challenging.

Officials say rent increases are about as high as they can go here in Fresno. However, with the pandemic and things changing so often, it's difficult to say what trend they'll see in housing in the future.
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