Too Many People, Not Enough Housing: Renting is Tougher Than Ever in Wyoming
Cheyenne renter sees ‘decrease in available rentals’
- Published In: Other News & Features
- Last Updated: Apr 09, 2023
A study from RentCafe, a nationwide apartment listing site, found that it was more difficult to rent an apartment in Wyoming at the beginning of the year compared to 2022. This two-bedroom, one-bath, 884-square-foot property in Casper rents for $925 per month. (Courtesy photo from Apartments.com)
By Ellen Fike
Special to the Wyoming Truth
Wyoming has experienced a population boom over the last year, but the state’s housing market has not kept up, a new study revealed.
RentCafe, a nationwide apartment listing site and research team, recently published a study on the most popular rental markets in the United States. Its data showed that it was more difficult to rent an apartment in Wyoming at the beginning of the year compared to 2022.
This news came as no shock to Cheyenne realtor Adrianna True.
“Apartment buildings are going up in lots of places, but they are still not keeping up with the demand,” she said. “Fewer homes are being used as rentals and are now being flipped to sell to out-of-state buyers who want to see shiny new paint and flooring. It makes both buying and renting difficult for families and middle-class workers.”
The slower pace of life in Wyoming, at least compared to states like California and New York, tends to draw newcomers, True said.
She added many renters are unaware they may be able to purchase a house, as an 800+ credit score and 20% down payment are things of the past.
Wyoming is not the only state struggling to keep up with the housing demand; it’s a nationwide issue, according to the RentCafe study. Apartments and rental houses are particularly scarce in New Jersey, where the occupancy rate is almost 97%. While Brooklyn, San Diego and Orange County, California also are seeing their rental markets stretched to the max, the study noted that apartment construction has dwindled in almost all markets since the beginning of 2023.
Still, Wyoming saw the biggest change in rental competitiveness year-over-year among small markets. More than half of renters renewed their leases (52%), leaving the state’s apartment occupancy rate at 95.6%.
Cheyenne resident Aaron Goldberg, 26, knows the difficulties of renting in Wyoming. He and his husband, Brandon, currently pay $950 per month to rent a 700-square-foot apartment in the backyard of a house with three other apartments inside.
“We rent because we don’t know if we want to settle down in Wyoming or move somewhere else,” Goldberg said. “We rent our specific place because it was the only one our landlord had available. We moved out of our old place last year because we were tired of sharing walls with our neighbors, who fought quite a bit.”
Goldberg, who works as a hotel housekeeper, said the couple would move either to a larger place in the city or out of Wyoming if they could afford to do so.
“Over the last few years, I’ve seen a decrease in available rentals,” he said. “Either they’re way out of budget for us or we don’t qualify to live at some of the new apartment complexes because of our income. Sometimes, the quality of the apartment doesn’t match what it costs.”
Gabrielle Bristol, 21, rents a room in a Cheyenne single family house along with four roommates, one of whom owns the property. Bristol, a bank teller, has lived with this group since May 2020.
“I rent because I’m living paycheck to paycheck and can barely afford basic necessities on my $300 rent as is,” Bristol said.
Initially, Bristol’s rent for her room was $250, but the price increased when the group moved from a smaller house into their current larger dwelling.
The landlord is renovating the house, so Bristol will have more personal space soon. However, this will come with a $200 per month increase, which will bring her monthly housing expenditure to $500.
“Ideally, I’d love to have my own space in my own house, but that’s not really an option for me right now,” she said.