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The cost of living in Las Vegas may never be the same

Some valley residents priced out of rental market
Posted at 11:17 AM, Mar 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 00:11:46-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It's no secret, it's getting more expensive to live in Las Vegas. Rent has jumped for tenants across the valley, and more and more people simply can't afford it.

Tricia Kean spoke with a local expert who says this isn't just a trend, this is the new cost of living in Las Vegas.

RISING RENT

Lamesha Rowe doesn't know what she's going to do. The rent just increased for her North Las Vegas home near Gowan Road and Clayton Street.

"It went up $205, which is a big increase. I wasn't prepared for that," Rowe said.

"So I reapplied for the CHAP program again to see if they can jump in and offer some assistance," says Lamesha.

Making matters worse, Rowe lost her childcare job during the pandemic. Even though she's working again, she's still playing catch up.

"Behind on rent. Still behind a little bit on utilities, water, gas, electric. But it's definitely — it's scary at this point. I'm just thinking like, 'what are we going to do next?'" Rowe said.

Rowe says she applied for assistance from the Clark County CARES Housing Assistance Program, or CHAP, to see if she can get some help.

But she isn't alone in this struggle. According to Rent.com, Las Vegas rental prices jumped nearly 30% last year. Keith Thomsen with Large Vision Property Management says some had it even worse.

MORE: Rising rents create huge concern for Las Vegas area tenants

"Some owners socked it to them. I mean, 33 percent, 40 percent raises in rents, which has created tremendous problems for these tenants," Thomsen said.

PRICED OUT

Thomsen says in some cases, tenants are being forced to find roommates.

"You're seeing more and more people move in with family and friends. You're seeing more and more families grouped together... Our biggest thing that we're seeing now is people who do apply aren't making the three-times-the-rent standard," Thomsen said.

To make matters worse, Thomsen expects the rental market to heat up, as potential homebuyers face climbing home prices and interest rates.

"They will be coming back into the rental market, and I think those people will start driving up the rental prices again... I see that becoming a problem," Thomsen said. "We do not have enough houses or rentals in this city for the number of people who live here."

"What year do you think it's going to take off?" Kean asked Thomsen.

"I think by the end of this year, rents will start going back up again," he said.

ANY RELIEF?

So the real question is when can renters expect to finally see some relief? Some say that may not happen.

Rent.com says hot markets are remaining hot, so don't expect to see a decrease any time soon.

In fact, Rent.com data journalist Jon Leckie told 13 Action News he would be surprised if rents ever return to pre-pandemic levels, even if they level off some. Thomsen agrees.

"As more sports teams come here and as we grow into so many more avenues where we didn't have before, yeah, we're going to become the expensive city to live in," Thomsen said.

DIGGING DEEPER: What's driving up Vegas area home prices? What does it mean for those who live here?

That's not very reassuring news for renters like Lamesha Rowe.

"I don't know what to do at this point. I don't know, because again, I'm behind, and I haven't really been able to set aside any savings," Rowe said.

WORK WITH LANDLORD

Rowe is working with her landlord and keeping him aware of her situation. She says other struggling renters should do the same.

"I've already let him know. Going into March, I'm trying to catch up," Rowe said.

But if she can't get help from CHAP, Rowe admits she might have to make a difficult decision.

"I'd have to leave the state. I have no family here. I'd have to go back to California, which is ridiculous," she said.

If you're struggling to pay your rent, the CARES Housing Assistance Program, or CHAP, may be able to help.

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