Rent Rising

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Whether you're fresh out of college or just trying to save for a down payment on a home, it's going to cost you more money to rent this year.

Apartment rental rates are expected to increase by more than five percent; that's double last year's increase.

"This type of rent increase isn't subject only to the panhandle, it's going on throughout the country, but in terms of Bay County, it's simply a matter of supply and demand."

When you have a low supply of any product, obviously the prices will go up, but as to real estate, if you have a low supply of housing, whether it's in rental market or in sales, then you will actually see a price increase.

In Panama City, the average price of a one bedroom, one bath apartment is going up more than $30 from 2005. For a two bedroom, two bath, it's increasing by more than $40.

The problem is many renters, unable to buy a home, are also finding it more difficult to afford renting one.

"They can't seem to get out of the system, so to speak. They're locked in, they can't afford to move somewhere because they know they'll be hit in the wallet with a high increase in rental prices."

Realtors say with the way the market is shaping up, we may not see a decrease in rent anytime soon.

Another major factor for the increase in rental rates throughout our area is the influx of families who lost their homes during Hurricane Katrina.