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Renters paying more, looking harder for apartments

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Thousands of new apartments have become available in the metro area in the past year, but they're filling up as fast as they go online and renters are paying more for them.

The Star Tribune cites a report from Marquette Advisors that finds the average rent stands at $984, a jump of 3.5 percent. Meanwhile, the apartment vacancy rate fell to a tight 2.5 percent, down slightly from 2.7 percent at this same time last year.

The Pioneer Press reported the surge in rents is a lingering result of the housing crisis. When banks foreclosed on thousands of homes, those residents were shoved into the rental market, and the flood of new renters forced vacancy rates down. The Pioneer Press also found the tight market is particularly troublesome for lower-income renters. The Minnesota Housing Partnership finds they face the biggest rent increases in 12 years.

Meanwhile, Finance & Commerce reports that Minnesota’s first affordable rental project pitched to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender seniors is fully occupied. Spirit On Lake Apartments in South Minneapolis opened two months ago. The 46 unit building has 29 one-bedroom units and 17 two-bedrooms. Five of the units are reserved for people who have been homeless.

Anyone can live at Spirit on Lake, but it has been marketed to GLBT people and it's estimated that about 80 percent of occupants are GLBT. It's thought to be the second such development in the country.

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