Lewis and Clark County rent increase rate among highest in nation

Phil Drake

Lewis and Clark County is among the U.S. counties with the fastest rent growth rate in the past two years, according to a recent story in the Washington Post.

The county posted a 36.5% rent increase from the first quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2022 and had an average rent of $1,263, the April 21 story said. It was not the highest rent in Montana, but the highest percentage increase.

Rents rose a record 11.3% nationally last year, according to real estate research firm CoStar Group, the Post reported. CoStar is forecasting another 6% rise in U.S. rents this year, which reportedly is about double pre-pandemic norms.

The Post said rents were going up as more people were looking to live on their own after being cooped up with others during the pandemic, the increasing cost of homes made ownership difficult, rent freezes put in place during the pandemic had expired and telecommuting has allowed people to move from pricey “hotspots” to more affordable areas.

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Michael O’Neil, executive director of the Helena Housing Authority, had seen the April 21 article.

“It certainly is

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