RENT ON THE RISE: USC professor explains why your housing costs are getting higher

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — If you have seen your rent go up recently, you’re not alone.

According to, the average cost of a 1-bedroom apartment in Columbia has increased by 16 percent over the past year, making the average rent almost up to $1,100 a month.

“Because of working from home, some people are moving from expensive areas like California or New York to places with more affordable housing, South Carolina included. All these changes drive up the demand for houses,” said Crystal Zhan, University of South Carolina economics professor. “Some of the drivers for the housing price also drive up the rental price.”

With the demand for houses driving up costs, many renters are not able to afford to buy say experts.

“A lot of people who intend to become homeowners cannot afford houses, so they choose to rent or have no choice but to continue to rent,” Zhan said. “There’s this demand surge that drives up the rental price. There’s also the supply side story.”

With new apartments being built and opening up in Columbia, the overall price of rent should decrease.

However, Professor Zhan says that these newly constructed apartments are going to cost renters much more than average. 

“The price of raw materials increases. The cost of labor increases,” Zhan said. “It becomes more costly to run rental properties.”

She says the best bet for some college students would be to live a few miles off campus. Apartment prices in the Belvedere neighborhood and the adjacent Rochelle Heights neighborhood are lower than the Columbia average.

“The Feds increase the interest rate so we will see a little cool down in the housing market. You may see a decrease but it may take several years for that to happen,” Zhan said. data shows that the average apartment cost in Lexington, Blythewood and Irmo are all higher than Columbia’s. One of the few places in the Midlands with an average rent below a thousand dollars a month is Orangeburg.


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