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Since the start of the 21st century, the cost of rent has skyrocketed across America. Every state in the nation has seen a spike in the cost of apartments and other residential rentals. Places like Washington D.C., California, and Hawaii have seen rent prices more than double over the past two decades.
While the reasons for rent hikes may vary by locality, one of the major factors for higher costs is the overall decline in homeownership, which hit a peak of 66% in 2000. That, in turn, has led to more Americans turning to rentals, ultimately pushing up the amount landlords can charge. The problem is exacerbated by a shortage of construction workers, which makes it difficult for developers to boost the supply of available housing.
The pandemic is throwing the rental market for a loop, though. On the one hand, rents in some notoriously expensive cities, like New York and San Francisco, have actually fallen this year—the result of white-collar workers with stable jobs taking advantage of new work-from-home policies and relocating to less pricey areas of the country, freeing up apartments in major cities. But for many people, making rent has only gotten more challenging in 2020. At least 22 …
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