MILWAUKEE — Spring and summer are usually the busy season for people to move, but the cost of rent is skyrocketing in Milwaukee. A West Allis mom is one of those people trying to find a new place to rent.
“I feel like it is kind of crazy. It is over inflated,” said Viviette Smith. “I mean, looking at quote unquote 'affordable housing' is not that affordable right now."
She says her lease is up in a few months and if she stays, she has to pay extra. The mother of three just went through a divorce so right now cash is very tight.
"I don't feel my pay is increasing at the rate the rent levels are increasing,” said Smith.
That is happening across the city. According a report by Rent.com, average monthly rent for apartments in Milwaukee is between $1,100 and $1,625. The average price of a one bedroom $1,400 a month and the average for a two bedroom is $1,600 a month. The chief economist for Realtor.com Danielle Hale says their own research shows rental prices in Milwaukee are rising faster than usual.
"Comparing right now with one year ago, rents were 8.6% higher than they were this time last year. For context, we usually see rents that are growing in 4% to 5% range so that's roughly twice what we would expect to see in a normal market,” said Hale.
In the Riverwest neighborhood, rent has increased by 82% for a one bedroom, according to Rent.com. The average price is $1,400 a month.
"With not a lot of homes available for rent, but a decent number of renters looking to rent because housing costs are rising so much in the for sale market, that's really created an imbalance and supply and demand. That's created conditions where landlords can push rents higher,” said Hale.
However, there are not increases across the board. The Lower East Side saw rent decrease by 58% for an average price of $724. The Northpoint neighborhood dropped by the same percent for an average price of $925.
But for Smith, she hasn't found any of those lower rents yet, so she thinks she might have to stay where she is at and pay for it.
Watch: Smith describes the frustration of skyrocketing rent costs:
"I might have to take on a second job, do some sort of side hustle, because I am not going to be able to make the amounts I need to make,” said Smith.
Outside of Milwaukee, rent is also on the rise. Wauwatosa comes in with the highest rent for a one bedroom outside of the city.