High Cost Of Bozeman: Do Landlords Continue To Take Advantage?
Another week, and another article about how rent is going up in Bozeman. This has become a regular topic of conversation not only online, but at coffee shops, grocery stores, and basically anywhere that human beings gather and converse.
I realize that it sounds like a broken record, but it is the most pressing issue in our community and it certainly doesn't seem like there is any light at the end of the tunnel.
Take for example the renter on the Bozeman Reddit page. Last year, their rent went up 400 dollars a month and they just received notice that it will go up another 200 dollars this year. So, 600 bucks extra a month, let me just ask this, who can afford that? Seriously? Could you? Do you have an extra 600 bucks a month coming in that you could turn around and pay more for rent?
One of the most appealing things about living in Bozeman and the surrounding area is the adventure of the outdoors and all that this part of the world has to offer. What's the point of living here if you can't afford to enjoy any of that because your rent is so high?
Of course, there will be plenty of people that say "good, tell them to go back where they came from!" Here is the problem with that logic, most of them are from Montana. Montanans are moving away from Montana because they can't afford to live here anymore. Consider this, while home prices have doubled in the last couple of years, the average income has only gone up a small percentage.
In fact, according to bestplaces.net the average salary for a Bozemanite is 26,350 dollars a year. Not only is that below the national average, but you simply can't afford to live here on that type of money. So what can be done?
In fact, I had the chance to talk to the Governor of Montana recently and I asked him that. He told me that one of the biggest issues was that our supply chain has been disrupted over the last couple of years and while there are several apartments being built, they can't get all of the supplies they need to finish them. Ok, I can see that, however, what happens when the supply chain is back up and running? Will these landlords and property managers go ahead and decrease the rent?
I'm guessing not.
So what is the average rent for a place here in Bozeman? According to zumper.com, the average rent for a 2 bedroom is 2 grand a month. However, that same apartment would have cost you just over 1300 dollars a month exactly 2 years ago. That's a 700 dollar a month increase in 2 years, which totally falls in line with what the Reddit user is saying.
So, what can be done? Anything? Is it time for people to come together and demand more from those elected to serve us? Or do we do nothing and continue to lose native Montanans and other good folks who simply can't afford to live here anymore?