Apartment Hunting May Have Just Gotten Even Harder

by Michelle Regalado

If you've had trouble finding a decent, affordable apartment, there may be a good reason for that. According to a new report via Business Insider, the United States is running out of rental apartments apparently. Weird, right?

As property-management software company RealPage has just revealed to Business Insider, the country has reached over 96 percent of rental apartment occupancy in the third quarter of this year. That's the second-highest occupancy percentage of all time in the United States, following the 96.8 percent peak in 2000.

So what exactly is causing this spike in occupancy? Basically, millennials aren't buying their own residences, and are instead choosing to rent out apartments for longer stretches of time. Of course, we have a good reason for this: housing is so darn expensive these days, that many of us can only just barely afford to make our rent — let alone, buy a place.

But there's a downside to this trend. The higher demand for apartments has caused costs to skyrocket, especially as rental options start to dwindle. Case in point? Per RealPage, leases for residential apartments now average about $1,292. While that may (unfortunately) be considered relatively affordable in expensive cities like New York City, it's still well out of budget for many.

Meanwhile, there are also fewer incentives for builders to create low-rent apartments, as land, labor costs, and building material are all only getting more costly. "Our national housing policy is very much geared towards stimulating home purchases, not towards supporting renters," Jay Parsons, vice president of MPF Research, a division of RealPage, told Business Insider. "So we just aren't building hardly any of the designated affordable, income-restricted housing where there's also just an awful lot of demand."

Yikes. Apartment hunting has never been an easy process, but it looks like it'll be harder than ever in these coming months. On the bright side, I bet all you renters probably have a whole new level of appreciation for your leased apartment right about now.

Images: CBS; Giphy