High demand and low inventory result in exorbitant rental costs.

LANCASTER COUNTY, PA – If you’re looking for a place to rent in central Pennsylvania, you’re not alone.

Apartments are scarce these days and that means prices are skyrocketing.

“I think we are entering and have been in a housing crisis,” said Justin Eby, executive director of Lancaster County Housing and Redevelopment Authorities.

The low inventory was made worse by the moratorium on evictions, among other factors.

“There were no evictions going on, so we didn’t have that natural cycle of units available,” Eby explained. “Also, I think more people are staying at home.”

With inflation at an all-time high, many people can’t afford to buy in the current real estate market, and there aren’t enough rental properties to go around.

“We see a lot of people [on] waiting lists with 15 to 20 people for a single unit, which we haven’t experienced in the past,” Eby said.

According to Lancaster County housing and redevelopment authorities, fair market rent has jumped 11% over the past year.

This translates into increases of two to three hundred dollars per month.

Industry players, like Eby, say more and more tenants are looking for help.

“If you’re on a fixed income, you can’t afford such an increase, maybe gradually over time with other aids, but not in a year,” he said.

Rita Dallago is the executive director of the Pennsylvania Residential Owners Association and she says these are tough times for homeowners too.

“[They’re dealing with] raise taxes, raise insurance costs, I mean I hear insurance increases of $300 a year,” Dallago said.

Homeowners are also seeing increases in the cost of utilities and home maintenance.

Dallago says it’s hard to predict when the situation might improve.

“Hopefully they can find some kind of way to level things out to bring them back into balance.”