BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — A new year presents similar problems for those searching for a place to rent in Baldwin County.

Brian Carberry with Apartment Guide, explains that rent for those in Baldwin County is on the rise.

“If we had talked 9 months ago I would have never guessed that rent prices right around Christmas time would be up 20% compared to where they were a year ago,” said Carberry. “Traditionally this a time when people are not looking for places to live.”

The COVID-19 pandemic created a housing crisis for a lot of people, he said. Right now in January rental experts like Carberry are noticing continued problems locally and nationally that typically aren’t seen until the summer months.

“Availability is an issue. There are a lot more people looking to rent an apartment. Demand to rent an apartment is up compared to where we were this time last year,” said Carberry.

Carberry tells WKRG News 5 that national rent increases in large cities are around 20% higher this year compared to last year. In Baldwin County he said rents have increased about 5%.

Shamrock Properties in Daphne said the demand for rentals so far this year is high. Aiveen Kahalley with the company’s property management, said they’re also seeing new market trends.

“We are experiencing anywhere from 5-10% increases in market rents compared to this time last year. I can also say that the demand for rentals is definitely higher for this time of year than it usually is. We don’t usually get this type of volume until the spring/summer months,” said Kahalley.

Carberry said renters are also dealing with competition as people move from larger cities to Baldwin County, in some cases paying less for housing in south Alabama. 

“Landlords are able to price units higher because people will pay that because they know that if renter A doesn’t want to pay it, renter B might come in the door an hour later and be perfectly fine paying that rent,” Carberry said. 

“I would say that 70% of our applicants are from out of state,” Kahalley said.