RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond renters looking for the best deal may want to scoop up a place now. That was the advice of an expert as prices skyrocket across the country.
For more than a year, Carter Vanhuss said renting his Parkwood Avenue home had been nothing short of ideal.
"Oh my gosh, the location is incredible. Can’t be beat it," Vanhuss said.
The home is located just a block away from Carytown and Vanhuss said his rent prices hadn't changed since he moved in in the summer of 2020.
But come next summer, his landlord would be selling the home, meaning that Vanhuss is already on the hunt for a new place.
"We’re not looking forward to it," he said.
What he’s found amid his search? Steeper prices.
"Definitely is higher than what I wanted to say the least. Especially with the amenities that we need like having a dog door and fenced in back yard. Those premiums in Richmond are premium to say the least," Vanhuss said.
Neighbor Jessica Back noticed it too after she moved home from New York in the fall of 2020.
"Richmond has grown substantially in the two years I've been gone," she said. "Neighborhoods that I’d lived in before were a lot more expensive."
Brian Carberry, Senior Managing Editor for Apartment Guide and Rent.com., said a one bedroom in Richmond was up 9% compared to this time last year.
"Demand is really up, supply is really down," said Carberry.
That was less than increases being seen across the country -- but still up significantly.
"You look at those national numbers, we're seeing a one and two-bedroom apartment up about 20% for each of them. Normally, we would see like 3% to 5% is the general traditional historic increase that we were seeing really before the pandemic," said Carberry.
Carberry said initially, prices flattened out early in the pandemic when people were staying put. But now, just the opposite is happening. People were looking for places to live and those who weren't able to buy a home due to the housing market being so competitive were now looking to rent
"If we were talking six months ago, I wouldn't have told you that I expected to see the rate increase that we're seeing now," Carberry said
Fortunately, he said rent prices in Richmond are slightly below the national average and nationally things are leveling off this time of year.
"The silver lining and some good news, is if you look at rent prices really over the past couple months and just kind of compare month-to-month-to-month, it's relatively flat. So. we're kind of seeing a seasonal shift right now, where in the winter, people generally don't look for places to live like the summer is really that hot time," Carberry said.
That means for those on the hunt, now is a good time to try to snag a deal before it gets swept up.
"Renters don't have as much leeway in terms of negotiating. One thing that generally does work though is if you try to get your landlord to extend your lease. From a 12-month lease to a 24-month lease, that tends to sometimes help you out get a slightly lower payment," Carberry said.
Another thing he said renters could try was a competitive analysis to see if someone will match prices with an apartment down the street.
"Depending on what the demand is in that specific area, it may be successful, it may not," said Carberry.
Carberry said this was a time unlike any other, so it was tough to predict what will happen next.
"I would expect that we will see prices continue to go up maybe not as steeply as they are," Carberry said. "But, you know, that 3% to 5% range is what we traditionally like to see. I think it's going to start normalizing at some point down to that level, because it's really not sustainable to continue to increase at the rate that we're seeing right now. How long it's going to take to get there. It's really anyone's guess."
As for Vanhuss, he wasn't confident he would find another deal like the one he currently has.
"I'm not holding out much hope. It's not looked great in that department, but we’ll just have to wait and see," Vanhuss said.