New report offers clues to source of 43% rise in rent prices in Washington County – St George News


ST. GEORGE – The average rent in Utah has risen 45% over the past year and a half, according to a report from Utah-based rental software company Entrata.

Townhouses near Dixie Dr. and Sunset Blvd., September 19, 2021 | Photo by David Dudley, St. George News

Entrata’s report includes data from more than 14,000 apartments in Weber, Davis, Salt Lake, Utah and Washington counties, collected from January 2019 to July 2021.

In addition to the rise in average rent prices across the state, the report also showed a 330% increase in monthly leases and a 357% increase in the number of tenants who paid their rent in the last week of the month. , rather than the first, statewide.

In Washington County, the average rent has gone up 43%. Washington County also saw a 100% increase in monthly leases. And the number of renters who paid their rent in the last week of the month jumped 77%.

The report says COVID-19 has influenced these trends, as some tenants now prefer more flexibility in lease length and payment dates. Bryan Wilson, who founded and owns Utah First Property Management, said he has seen these trends with his own eyes.

File photo of Bryan Wilson, owner of Utah First Property Management, St. George, Utah January 5, 2021 | Photo by David Dudley, St. George News.

“We manage over 1,000 properties,” Wilson told St. George News. “When we talk about why rent prices have gone up, we are really talking about supply and demand.”

“The demand is much greater than the supply right now,” he continued. “And that is why we are seeing a surge in rental prices.”

Wilson said that during his 15 years with the business, he saw rental units that used to rent for $ 995 grow to $ 1,500. Even Iron County is seeing rents go up.

“We manage a few properties in Cedar City,” he said. “Their prices are going up too, but not as much as they are around St. George. Units that used to rent for $ 700 are now at $ 1,000. “

While Entrata said month-to-month rentals were on the rise, Wilson said he had not seen an increase in demand for these rental terms.

“We are pushing for one-year leases,” Wilson said. “After that, we’ll look at month-to-month terms. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense, financially, to offer month-to-month leases up front. Most of our job is to find qualified tenants.

Going through this process over and over, and on short notice, is not worth it, Wilson said. Right now, many qualified tenants are willing to sign one-year leases, so there is no incentive to settle for less.

File photo by Jeremy Larkin, Washington, Utah, May 6, 2021 | Photo by David Dudley, St. George News

Local real estate agent Jeremy Larkin said he thought he knew why there was an increase in monthly rentals.

“I get requests every week,” Larkin told St. George News. “They all ask a variation of the same question. In other words, “Does this property allow short term rentals?” The answer, more often than not, is no.

But the demand, Larkin said, could be linked to a population on the move. Whether they choose to leave cities with high rents, states where the laws are too biased one way or the other, or for personal and family reasons, people are looking to relocate.

“Then when they get to St. George and they can’t find anything to buy, they look for short-term rentals,” Larkin said. “When I receive these messages, there is a sense of urgency. They are nervous. Some are desperate.

Larkin said that a particular client shared a memorable quote.

“This client had planned to move to St. George from the east of the country,” said Larkin. “He said, ‘I can pay $ 4,000 for monthly rent.’ It’s a good budget that can bring in a nice house. But here’s the catch. They have a dog. And so many owners don’t allow dogs.

After trying to help, but without success, Larkin said his client sent a text message that said, “Someone, please take my money!”

According to the report, tenants also paid their rent later in the month and property managers “generously waived late fees.” Wilson pointed out that this is true, but that it is mainly due to emergency situations, where tenants have had to be absent from work for long periods of time due to COVID-19.

“Some had lost their jobs completely,” Wilson said. “So this was mainly due to the moratoriums on evictions mandated by the federal government. In a way, we were really together during this difficult time. “

As a community, Wilson said, St. George is lucky.

“We have a strong market,” he said. “Our business environment is thriving, so people want to be here. As long as people want to be here, even if the market eases up, you’ll be fine.

Larkin echoed that sentiment. He also shared his thoughts on whether the market would eventually correct itself.

“The bottom line is,” said Larkin, “that as long as people pay, the prices will hold up. When we stop paying high prices, the prices will go down.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.


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