Apartment rents rising in WI, nation

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EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. (WEAU) - After already seeing an increase in rates this year, renters can expect to pay even more next year, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The association said it expects a 4.6 percent rent increase, meaning a renter who pays $600 a month would have to pay an extra $331 next year. Landlords said with other rising costs, it's a necessary change.

Everett Blakeley, owner of Quality Management Services that has 26 apartment buildings in Eau Claire said times have changed in the rental business, forcing him to increase his rates.

"You're going to have ups and downs along the way. But this three or four years is about as scary as I’ve seen it for a long time," Blakeley said.

"If we're not going to have any growth in value, like we haven't had for the last several years, the only way to drive that growth is to get more rent. But you can't get more than the people out there looking for places can afford," he said.

The National Association of Realtors said it expects apartment rents to go up 4.1 percent this year and 4.6 percent next year. Blakeley said there are several reasons for that.

"Other than mortgage prices, property taxes are the biggest expenses we have and we don't have any control if we've got to cut our costs, those are two things I can't cut," he said.

Brian Dick of Eau Claire said he's looking for a new apartment and just wants to get what he pays for.

"I have no problem getting the rent paid, I just would like my money's worth. It's just like going to the store, making a purchase. Are you getting your money's worth? A lot of people return things. Can I get my rent back?" Dick said.

The realtors association said more foreclosures meant more demand for rental property, and Blakeley said it's important to consider what services are included in the price when looking for a place to rent.

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