Oxford renters are feeling the pinch of inflation on their lease renewals with rent price increases of hundreds of dollars over last year’s lease.
Max Hill with Collegiate Realty, a rental firm, has seen significant rent increases in Oxford and its surrounding areas.
“Among our owners the highest increase I have seen is 33%. Another at 19%. Most increases range from 10-15%,” Hill said.
This is tracking with nationwide trends, according to Rent.com: “one- and two-bedroom rents were up 22.6% and 20.4%, respectively.”
Maggie Craze, an environmental toxicology student and teaching assistant at UM, was given just two weeks’ notice that her rent would increase by $100 if she didn’t re-sign her lease, which wasn’t up for renewal until July.
“I was so stressed and anxious because of my fixed income, so I just re-signed,” Craze said.
Wages have certainly not increased at the same rate as rent in America. The Bureau of Labor Statistics factored the rate of inflation into American wages and found a 1.7% decrease in the average nationwide hourly wage since January of 2021.
Although Chancellor Glenn Boyce increased the minimum wage to $12.50 per hour for full-time employees at the university, student workers still make as little as $8 per hour, according to a student job listed at The Inn At Ole Miss on March 5.
Still more students live on fixed incomes, grants and scholarships, or loans taken at the beginning of the year based on estimated need. “We’re just grad students so even just an extra $100 a month is a big deal,” Craze said. “I have a fixed income dependent on my stipend.”
Hill credits these increases to property availability.
“More would-be buyers have transitioned into rentals due to the very limited and overpriced buyer’s market,” he said. “The average Oxford renter is getting pushed further out into the county and even into neighboring counties.”
Still, property managers in neighboring counties are not avoiding the trend. One property in Water Valley was listed on the Collegiate Realty website for $900 on the morning of Feb. 24, a steal for the size and location.
By that evening, the new price showed up: $1,200.