INDIANAPOLIS – According to realtor.comrent has started to decline and the trend is expected to continue, but in Indiana that isn’t the case.
"Rent is still going up in central Indiana,” Sara Coers with the IU Center for Real Estate Studies said. “Rent growth is slowing but it's still going up. We tend to lag national markets especially the coastal markets. So where as we see more coastal decreases we aren't there yet. "
According to realtor.com, the average price for rent in central Indiana is $1,331 a month, a 7.3% increase year over year. That increase is something renters like Samantha Sparks who has been renting since 2015 are feeling.
"I mean terrible paint jobs, quick turnarounds, terrible flooring,” Samantha Sparks said. “Apartments that are falling apart are going for a grand a month and they just aren't worth that. Plus they will nickel and dime you with fees like parking, pet fees, pool access fees everything else and so it's just miserable for anyone trying to find any housing in Indianapolis right now. "
More housing is being built in Indianapolis, but experts say that likely won't cause prices to go down.
"There's more new units and those rents drag up the average,” Coers said. “The other thing that's happening is we are seeing a lot of rehab units. So a lot of older complexes are being bought and it's almost like flipping a house. So the units are being purchased, they are making investments and rent is being raise substantially."
To make matters worse, according to Prosperity Indiana wages lag in Indiana compared to other Midwestern states.
"As of 2023, twenty of Indiana's top 20 occupations don't pay well enough to be able to afford that two bedroom housing wage,” Andrew Bradely, the Policy Director for Prosperity Indiana said. “That’s up from 9 just a year ago. This new report shows that the average Hoosier renter makes 91 cents an hour less than the typical Midwest renter. So that adds up to almost $2,000 a year and that means that about two months worth of fair market rent goes to that wage gap compared to just other Midwest states.”
Those occupations include office clerks, nurses assistants and home healthcare aids. Those are just a few of the occupations that don’t make enough to afford a modest two bedroom in Indiana. Those occupations are jobs Prosperity Indiana says are often left vacant most often. You can find the full breakdown of that data by clicking here.
To afford a modest two bedroom in Central Indiana the average renter would have to make $20.40 an hour. According to prosperity Indiana's new affordable housing study, the average renter makes $17.86 an hour. Those numbers have renters questioning if housing in our area is fair for those who need a home.
"It's very much a limited access,” Sparks said. “it's very much an access for those who make a certain level of income which is not what the income of the average Indiana resident is. "
Coers says one reason that rents have increased is because landlords are acquiring more fees due to inflation. If that decreases we could see rent prices do the same.
As for when to find the cheapest rates, experts say it's important to shop around and find a rent price that is only thirty percent of your income.