Fresno Rents Are Outpacing the Rest of the Nation

Rents are rising fast in Fresno. The city has just been named the nation’s “hottest” housing market, with a nearly 39% rise in rents since 2017. That includes a 12% jump during the pandemic.

Rent in Fresno now averages $1,289 a month. That poses enormous challenges for the city’s low-income residents, who number in the tens of thousands. The city’s median household income of $58,000 is almost 30% lower than the state average.

Fresno’s skyrocketing rents appear to be driven by supply issues, not demand. The city saw net out-migration in 2020, according to the California Policy Lab. But apartment vacancies are at record lows. It’s the same old story: Fresno simply isn’t building enough homes.

“We had been engaged in this ‘cotton candy’ kind of economy, that swinging a hammer and building on our periphery was meeting our needs,” former mayor Ashley Swearengin, who now heads the Central Valley Community Foundation, told the LA Times. “The Great Recession was a wake-up call that it wasn’t. It was glaringly obvious that we were bringing the wrong tools to this issue, and we needed to change.”

Read more about Fresno’s blistering housing market and how it’s affecting low-income families here.


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