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Study says 30 percent of our income goes to rent

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The monthly rent payment is taking a bigger chunk out of everyone’s budget than ever before.

Analysis done by Zillow finds that between March and June of 2015 rent payments accounted for 30.1 percent of a renter’s monthly household income. They report that’s the highest percentage for rent since they started collecting the data in 1979.

In Greensboro, the statistic doesn’t surprise renters like Ana Julia Alamonte. She said she jumped at the chance to increase her rent by 40 percent so she could live within walking distance of downtown at City View Apartments.

To her finding a more affordable option, 15 to 30 minutes from downtown was not worth it.

“You have to go really far to get into the $600s for rent,” said Alamonte. “The limelight of living luxuriously, being able to enjoy your twenties kind of overshadows that cheaper price.”

Economists say paying a premium price each month prevents renters from being able to save money for retirement or a down payment.

“We find that people may not want to settle down right away they want to use to use the income for convenience and services,” said Erin Jones, an assistant manager with two downtown properties.

The newest property, Greenway at Stadium Park, opened earlier this summer is already almost full. She thinks that people are willing to give more of their paycheck for a nice place to live especially if they feel like they couldn’t afford a similar place elsewhere.

“People are really excited to see something that would normally be in New York or Chicago but not pay those New York or Chicago prices,” said Jones.

The Piedmont Triad Apartment Association has also been following this trend. It said a contributing factor in higher rent prices is higher demand for rentals since the economic recession in 2008. There’s also been a rise in rental prices without a corresponding increase in household incomes over the last seven years.