Could there be relief on the way for SWFL renters? Not likely

Reporter: Samantha Johns
Published: Updated:

Will skyrocketing rent price people out of living in Southwest Florida? If you rent, chances are you’re paying more than you did one year ago.

If you’re looking for a place to live, there aren’t many choices out there.

Before Hurricane Ian, Southwest Florida was booming, and finding affordable housing was like finding a four-leaf clover.

Now the marker is flush with people looking to rent because the storm leveled so many homes, and it will take a while to rebuild.

“The prices just shot through the roof,” said Trayvon Yuengling, of Fort Myers. “You really like can’t find a place for anything realistic for anybody working a regular job.”

Andrea Erhard manages rental properties in Cape Coral.

In the wake of the hurricane, more than 200 people canceled their short-term rentals. Those vacancies were quickly filled.

“A lot of people rented them to workers that came down here to help. FEMA people, adjusters,” Erhard said.

The end result is the price to rent has skyrocketed.

“I would say roughly between 10 and 15%, if not more,” Erhard said.

Property manager Michael McVety said he expected the increases.

“Anytime that the federal government comes in and offers a program with money, it automatically means that rents will raise,” said McVety, who is the president at Red Fortress Property Management.

In time, people will return to their homes, but McVety said he does not think that will result in rent coming down.

“The only way that you can release the pent-up lack of supply is by building. The problem is eventually you’re going to run out of affordable land,” he said.

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