ENUMCLAW, Wash. - Throughout the pandemic housing prices grew strong in areas across Puget Sound. Now that the economy appears to be in an upswing, apartment rents are also on the rise, but there is worry those prices will land on the families who cannot afford them.
In Enumclaw, some neighbors told FOX 13 News their rent could be raised by hundreds of dollars and they wonder why prices in their small town reflect big city costs. Some economists estimate the rising prices are due to housing scarcity.
"There needs to be compassion, understanding, reality," said mom Shilo Turngren, who has lived at Chinook Park Apartments for about six years.
The pandemic turned into lost work for her family, she said. An eviction moratorium kept them off the streets while her lease converted into a month to month agreement with the apartment property management company.
Turngren said her neighbors received notices from management that rent would soon rise. One notice detailed a renter’s current obligation as near $1,350, but could rise to near $2,000 if the client instead chose to continue living in the unit month to month.
Turngren said her increase was not as steep, but any increase is barely affordable as her family also continues paying down $12,000 owed in back rent.
"This is absolutely devastating," she said. "We are not the only family going through this and that’s what’s even more heartbreaking."
Apartment List published its rent overview for the month of October detailing double-digit percent increases for cities like Tacoma, Seattle and in between. Senior economist at Zillow.com Jeff Tucker said the most likely path towards falling prices is to increase what's currently high demand – housing of all types.
"A lot of renters moved in with parents or roommates and folks moved away from big cities," he said.
After vaccines became widespread, "Renters have been flocking back to cities and as a consequence rents are rising rapidly."
Tarragon Property Services, the company managing the facility, did not immediately respond to FOX 13 News requesting comment.
Turngren says she applied for assistance from King County, but does not know if she has qualified. Any increase in rent on top of paying down obligations could force her family to live in their car, she worried.
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