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Justin Schatz is The Paper's daily news reporter. He has reported on New Mexico for KRQE News, Searchlight NM and the Santa Fe Reporter.

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The housing market is still hot in Albuquerque and is showing no signs of slowing down. According to Dwellsy, a rental information and search service, since the beginning of 2021, rent has increased 18 percent in Albuquerque. This is almost double the nationwide increase of 9.6 percent in rent.

To put it simply, the dramatic rent increase can be attributed to the pandemic. According to the CEO and co-founder of Dwellsy, Jonas Bordo, the pandemic motivated many who were forced to stay at home to reevaluate their living space. “What we’re seeing is a market-by-market reshuffling of how people live,” Bordo said.

Due to a dramatic shift in the number of American workers who were forced to work from home, many saw a change in their work environment as an opportunity to either upgrade from their current rent situation or relocate to a city that offered a cheaper cost of living and more outdoor recreational opportunities. Albuquerque is a city that has managed to go relatively under the radar in the last few decades as an affordable outdoor mecca. Not any more.

“It’s one of the toughest markets that I’ve seen in a long time for renters. We are just seeing rents spiraling at an incredibly rapid rate for virtually every type of rental,” Bordo said. The portion of the rental market that has been most affected by an influx of residents has been two-bedroom rentals. According to Bordo, rent for a two-bedroom house increased 28 percent in 2021. To put a number on that increase, that’s an extra $251 a month.

Despite the sudden increase in rent, Albuquerque still boasts one of the most affordable housing markets in the country. “Albuquerque is one of the less expensive markets nationwide, but if you had to pay an extra $250 this year that you didn’t have to pay last year, that is kind of a small consolation.”

Part of the rise in rent can be attributed to renters desiring to upgrade to a single-family house. The problem there lies in that demand has suddenly far outpaced supply, and there are simply not enough single-family houses to go around. There has been a lull in the development of single-family homes and affordable housing for first-time buyers due to stiff resistance from many neighborhoods.

“What we’ve seen is an incredible unwillingness to build new inventory all across the country,” Bordo said. “We’re just not building enough to house the population.”

According to Bordo, there may be an end to increasing rent prices. The renewed demand for entry-level and affordable housing has placed pressure on municipalities to invest in housing. But until supply is able to catch up to demand, rent will most likely continue to increase in the near future.

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