LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A big problem emerging for a lot of people in the Las Vegas valley is their rent is going up a lot faster than their paycheck. The rising rents create a huge concern for tenants, many of who say they feel they're on the verge of getting priced out of Las Vegas.
"There's nobody looking out for us and the prices keep going up and up and up," said a tenant who only wanted to use her first name, Dawn. "And then the economy apparently is getting better and better and the rich are just getting richer and richer."
Dawn is fearful the rising home prices might influence her rent in some capacity. Her struggle is a common one.
In the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, median rents rose over 19% from December 2020 to December 2021, according to Realtor.com.
"There has to be legislation in the state of Nevada that the governor needs to sign that has a limit to the rate rents can go up," said Dawn. "There has to be a limit. It just can't go up from $1,000 to $1,500 in a year, which they actually did."
"It's truly phenomenal what's happening," said Las Vegas real estate agent Steve Hawks. "It's sad for locals. In fact, locals in Vegas, many of them can't even afford homes anymore because the Wall Street hedge funds are basically taking up every house built after 1980, under $500,000."
Hawks blames artificially low interest rates and hedge funds, which are corporate entities that raise money to buy houses to later rent. And it's happening all over the country.
MORE HOUSING STORIES: What's driving up Vegas area home prices? What does it mean for those who live here?
"Some parts of California right now are getting a million dollars above list price," he said. Hawks says this happened before about a decade ago in the years following the Great Recession, and that there is an answer, but it may require a president's signature.
"It's very simple. All they have to do is put a two-year moratorium on any corporate hedge funds purchasing properties in order to rent them out to see what kind of impact it's going to have on us," said Hawks.
"Talk about a national security threat when you have all these people who are forced to rent. This is Wall Street getting free money and outfitting unfair trade practice buying these homes," he said.