Knoxville, Tenn. (WVLT) – For the first time in more than a year and a half, the average rent across America has fallen, but East Tennessee may not see the same trend anytime soon.

It’s no secret that the price of renting an apartment in Knoxville has gone up, causing pain in people’s pockets.

“If you’re going anywhere in Knoxville, there’s no place to go because everyone’s on the waiting list, the costs are really high,” said Michelle, who lived in Knoxville with a rent which has jumped by almost 40% in one year.

A report by Apartments.com showed that the average price of a rental property in the United States fell 0.1% from July to August – a small number, but this is the first time that the average price of rental decline in 20 months.

“The occupancy rate is still extremely high,” said Hancen Sale, director of government and policing for the Knoxville Association of Realtors. “We are hovering between 98% and 99%.”

Sale said a healthy market is usually between 94% and 95%. He said it’s as simple as demand exceeds supply.

He also said that several projects were being built in the area, but he said that would still not be enough to really solve the problem.

Even though rental prices have started to drop nationwide, Sale said that doesn’t mean Knoxville is next. He said demand here is still high and the drop in rent prices is mostly happening in big cities.

But there is a silver lining. “They’ve peaked in the sense that they’re not growing as quickly as they were in the first half of this year,” Sale said.

Don’t expect rental prices to make a complete reversal. Sale said that with more jobs and more people moving to the area, he expects strong market demand for the next decade. This creates a dilemma for people like Michelle.

“I’m basically backed into a corner,” she said. “If I don’t take that, I have to move as far away as possible. Far from work, far from friends and family.