Renters Hit Breaking Point in a Sudden Reversal for Landlords

After a record surge in housing costs and ballooning expenses for everything from food to energy, America’s renters have had enough.

Rent gains are finally starting to slow in many parts of the US, cooling a years-long boom that sapped affordability from coast to coast. Landlords have little choice but to ease off big increases: Demand from tenants is suddenly sinking.

It’s a dramatic reversal from just months ago, when people were fighting over a limited supply of apartments, getting on waiting lists or paying multiple application fees to land one home. Now, particularly in pandemic boom markets such as Las Vegas and Phoenix, the application piles have thinned out and listings are lingering longer. Measures of US household formation have turned negative.

Young people who otherwise might be striking out on their own are instead staying with the parents or, like 18-year-old Coleby Hillenbrand, cramming into apartments with multiple roommates.

“I was able to round people up and make rent affordable,” said Hillenbrand, who lives with his girlfriend and another couple in a tiny two-bedroom outside of Kansas City. “People our age aren’t making enough money to afford rent on their own.”