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Rents in Erie are on the rise, but a wide range of options and prices remain.

 

Erie renters will find a wealth of properties, prices and amenities available in 2023.

Units include studio apartments and duplexes in established areas of Erie; apartments in new and renovated buildings in the city center; suburban housing estates and townhouses, as well as mobile homes and single-family homes.

But rents are rising and taking a larger share of tenant salaries.

And this creates difficulties for those who are trying to make ends meet.

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Rising rental prices

Nationwide rental prices have risen more than 20% over the past three years, averaging $1,334 per month in the third quarter of 2022. According to Realtor.com and the US, revenue has not kept up with the pace, increasing only about 10%. census bureau.

Prices in Erie also rose.

“My guess is they are up 10% to 15% on average,” said Patrick Groner, president of the Greater Erie Board of Realtors and broker/owner of Pennington Lines Real Estate. “This is not surprising. The rental market sees inflation in the same way that we see inflation in food, gasoline and other expenses. And this creates certain difficulties for tenants.”

These challenges are evidenced by a nearly 60 percent increase in the number of people needing help paying their rent, said Lisa Boyd, director of housing services for the Greater Erie Community Action Committee. GECAC provides rental assistance to those who are experiencing financial difficulties.

Rent help calls have increased from 30 or 40 a week to more than 100 a week since November, Boyd said, largely due to inflation. One woman who was paying $450 or $460 a month in rent was told by her landlord that her rent would increase to about $650, Boyd said.

“That’s 80% of the $800 she receives monthly from Social Security,” Boyd said.

Due to the growing need, GECAC currently has limited funds to provide assistance.

“We’ve had to lower the amount we can give to people so we can help as many people as possible,” Boyd said. “And there just isn’t a lot of affordable or government-subsidized housing in Erie.”

Rent prices in Erie are still well below the national average — $763 in 2022, according to doxoINSIGHTS, an online and mobile bill payment service — but Erie residents pay more for utilities and may fall behind on wages and promotions wages.

“Wages just don’t go up like inflation does,” Boyd said. “Many people pay high gas prices to get to work and earn minimum wage.”

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Inflation also affects landlords.

“From the perspective of landlords, their costs are also rising,” Groner said. “And if they have a property that was previously worth $100,000 and they received $1,000 (monthly) in rent, they can expect the same income from a property that is now worth $120,000, or $1,200 in rent. fees.”

Landlords, who were barred from evicting tenants for non-payment under state and federal moratoriums at the height of the pandemic, must now recoup their losses, Boyd said.

“Landlords were influenced by people who couldn’t pay rent,” she said.

However, there were fewer tenant evictions in 2022 than in previous years, according to the latest figures from the Pennsylvania Courts Administrative Office. From January to November 2022, there were 2,646 landlord-tenant complaints filed in the Erie County District Courts of the Peace, compared to 2,830 complaints filed on average during the same months from 2017 to 2019.

Rising rental prices are also pushing in the fact that even with a significant amount of property available for rent, demand is also growing, said Garrett Shames, COO and general counsel of Glowacki Management Company. Erie manages over 900 rental units, including the Westwind complex on Zuck Road.

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“Interest and demand for rentals is very high, even in winter when it usually slows down,” Shames said. “We just had eight deposits in one week on a rental that will be available next month.”

Contributing to the growing demand are people who are choosing to rent rather than buy a home during volatile economic times.

“As interest rates rise and banks tighten lending conditions, buying a home may not be an option for people,” Shames said. “People continue to rent housing in the hope of saving money or getting a loan. Ultimately, they still want to fulfill the American dream of owning their own home, but they are more comfortable with the rental market because of its flexibility, and perhaps as long as they pay off their student loans. “

Increasing the number of apartments and other properties rented out could eventually help stabilize costs.

“Spending is still capped by the market and we have a lot of rental properties,” Groner said.

These properties include over 100 new apartments, newly built or under construction in the city centre.

Rental Market: Marketing in Downtown Erie

Finding tenants in renovated downtown buildings has not been as easy as Ryan Hoover of the Erie Downtown Development Corp. first thought.

In 2021, after his Disney career in Orlando was hit by the pandemic, Harborcreek native and University of Pennsylvania alumnus Behrend moved home to Erie and began working as EDDC’s Director of Experience, leasing and managing 42 apartments in the former DeLuca Building at 429 State St. and above Flagship City Food Hall and Flagship Market on North Park Row, as well as other residential and commercial properties.

“I thought it would be easy. Who wouldn’t want to live in the city center? Hoover said. “When I lived in Orlando, everyone wanted to live downtown. Then I found out that downtown Erie is not where many Erie residents want to live.”

This is where young professionals returning to Erie want to live. All but one of the 42 apartments are now occupied, mostly by people like Hoover.

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“We found our market with people very similar to me. They are about my age, educated in Erie, left and returned home after losing their jobs or starting to work remotely,” Hoover said. “Some of our residents are real Erie residents, born and raised who never left. But most of them came back or had some connection with Erie and came here.”

The attraction of apartments in the city center includes shops, sports, theatres, restaurants and other places within walking distance. According to Hoover, there is a feeling that everything is still ahead.

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“Call it the Erie renaissance or the return of Erie, these are organizations and individuals pouring money into the city. There is excitement and excitement in the city center,” Hoover said. “Erie is not the city that my wife and I left in 2013.”

Rent for EDDC apartments at 429 State St. and North Park Row range from $900 for studios to $1,800 for two-bedroom apartments. Several apartments, including two with an attic and a large duplex apartment with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, are renting more expensively.

“In historic buildings, apartments come in all shapes and sizes, and some of them are huge,” Hoover said. “They’re not like traditional apartment buildings where apartments are copied and pasted.”

Hoover is optimistic that two new buildings nearing completion downtown, at West Fifth and State Streets and West Fifth and Peach Streets, will also appeal to tenants. In total, there will be 66 apartments in the houses.

“I have an email list of 300 or 400 people who are interested in existing or future apartments, including a few who are just waiting for availability or pricing and are otherwise ready to go,” Hoover said. “I know there are naysayers who say who is going to rent in the city center, but I am optimistic that there are people who are excited about the city and want to live here.”

Modern comfort in classic buildings

Historic properties in the city, restored by Erie businessman and conservationist Tom Hagen, include energy-efficient apartments with amenities such as quartz countertops, CCTV cameras, hardwood floors and state-of-the-art appliances, as well as original wood doors, woodwork and high ceilings .

The property includes the 12-unit Canalside Townhouse apartments in two three-story brick houses built in 1875 on West Sixth Street in Erie’s former Millionaires’ Row neighborhood. The houses were built along the former Erie Expansion Canal and have been restored by a team including Erie architect and conservationist Jeff Kidder.

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“The buildings have been restored to match their original architecture as much as possible while still having modern touches,” said Shams of Glowacki Management Company, the leasing agent for Hagen’s restored properties. “They are also very well cared for and maintained and there is a lot of demand for them.”

Only one apartment out of about 60 properties restored by Hagen was available for rent in mid-January, he said.

Wider range of rental options

A mid-January review of rental listings in Erie in mid-January found many studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments available for rent in Erie County, most of which are in the city.

Townhouses, duplexes and single-family homes were also listed for sale.

Prices typically ranged from $550 to $1,300 per month for an unfurnished one-bedroom apartment, more for apartments with extra bedrooms and bathrooms, furnished apartments, apartments with utilities included in the rent, and duplexes and townhouses.

Established buildings include West Ridge Towers at 5040 West Ridge Road in Millcreek, where rents start at approximately $675; Lovell Place at 153 E. 13th St., about $660; and Cider Mill Apartments at 5200 Henderson Road in Millcreek, about $760.

Amenities, especially in newer developments such as the Copperleaf complex in Summit Township, can include stainless steel appliances, air conditioning, laundry and parking areas, as well as swimming pools and fitness centers. Copperleaf rentals start at $960.

Modern complexes create “a sense of village or community,” Copperleaf developer Joe Palermo told the Erie Times-News in 2022. Commercial tenants provide shops and other amenities to tenants.

Palermo plans to begin construction on a similar 178-unit residential, townhouse and commercial complex in Harborcreek this year.

Apartments in older buildings and houses divided into apartments usually have fewer amenities, but rents are lower.

According to Shames, Erie traditionally offers a variety of rental options and prices.

“We’ve always had a good rental fund, I think because of the colleges and universities around us and the big employers who bring people into town who want to rent at least temporarily,” he said.

Contact Valerie Myers at [email protected]

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