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Rapid City sees continued struggling rental market

RAPID CITY (AP) — The property rental market in Rapid City remains tight in spite of ongoing construction of new apartment complexes and renovation of many existing units.

Renters working near the minimum wage level are especially impacted by the market, the Rapid City Journal reported.

A recent report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition showed that a full-time worker making minimum wage in Rapid City, and spending no more than 30 percent of income on rent, would fall about $100 short of the price of the average studio apartment.

The coalition said that workers statewide that bring home minimum wage would need to put in a 65-hour week to pay the rent on a basic two-bedroom house.

"I love the area, people and so many things close by to see," emailed renter Lisa Ohlrogge. "But it's quite spendy to live here. Between rent, food, fuel and pet supplies, I'm barely making ends meet."

Collin Goodwin of Thrive Property Management said that demand and rent prices remain high because of the high cost of real estate and construction.

"Behind every rental is an owner paying equivalently high price for the acquisition of that property," Goodwin said.

He said that property owners who become landlords work on slim margins once loan principal and interest, taxes, insurance and maintenance costs are figured into rental rates.

"In my experience they're not going gangbusters on the profit side," Goodwin said.

He said that continuing to push for higher-paying jobs will close the gap between wages and housing costs. Good housing bargains are only out there if a diligent renter has time and is flexible on location and amenities.

"Once the supply outweighs the demand, those prices will drop," Goodwin said. "I don't know if we've hit that point yet, although it seems like we're building and building."

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