Consumer Alert: Rochester rent increases among the highest in the country

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Today’s consumer alert takes a look at renting in Rochester. The numbers are out, and the Flower City is among those at the top of a national list. crunched the March numbers and found that the rise in Rochester rent rates was among the biggest in the country.

New Orleans tops the list with an enormous year-over-year increase of almost 16%. It’s followed by the Riverside, California area, then Memphis, the metro area of Sacramento, then Richmond, Virginia. Rochester comes in 10th in the list of cities with the biggest year-over-year increase in rent prices. The median price is up almost 8% over last year.

So of course I wanted to know why. And what can we, as consumers, do to get the best bang for our rental buck? For answers, I reached out to Lanie Bittner, board president of the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors.

"A lot of it has been driven by demand,” Bittner said. There’s buyer demand for homes for sale, and because of the lack of houses on the market, that has led to people renting more so than they would in the past.

When asked what’s driving that demand she said, “I think we’re just listed number six in the top places to live after the pandemic. I think that a lot of great things going for Rochester. So I think that’s what’s bringing people back here as well as people who haven’t been here before."

She’s right about Rochester’s flattering rankings. In fact, the Flower City is number one on Business Insider’s list as the best place to live in the northeast because of housing affordability and cost of living. Isn’t that ironic? Those are the factors driving demand for housing which is driving up prices. So if that house for rent is perfect for you, you’ll likely have to compete for it.

"You want to get your references in order. Really just present yourself in the best way possible,” Bittner said. "Credit. Anything you do to show financial stability."

So her big takeaways: If you’re looking for a rental, work on your credit score, get good references and show proof of a solid work history. If you just got a new job, she says to wait a few months before you try to rent that new apartment to demonstrate stability.

And that’s your consumer alert.