Desert Rental Costs Stay High as Inflation Eases

Carmela Karcher

Inflation is easing but rental prices in the desert are not.

“I think people feel this sense of like, ‘I’ve done something wrong,’” CEO and Founder of Lift to Rise, Heather Vaikona, shared. “‘I haven’t worked hard enough or I didn’t make good enough decisions.’ You can’t gain a market that’s working like this.”

According to the 2020 census, the median household income for Palm Springs was about $58,000 with only slight adjustments over the past couple of years.

But according to Zillow, the average rent for a one bedroom apartment in Palm Springs now is nearly $1,900, up nearly $300 during the same period. 

That means people who make the median household income spend over a third of their paycheck on rent and are then considered to be under housing cost burden.

In general, this means people are struggling to pay their rent.

“For folks who live here and work year round, the cost of housing is still high, and it’s still increasing,” Vaikona continued. “We still have a crisis deficit supply. So there’s just not enough housing, period. Particularly, not enough housing for our hard working folks that fall at the low income end of our economic kind of categories.”

And for places like the Coachella Valley, whose economy relies on tourism and those who work to make the desert what it is, these high prices can become detrimental.

“Our economy is really built on the backs of the labor of low income folks who are priced out,” Vaikona said. “For anyone who enjoys living in the desert, they’re doing so in part on the backs of folks who are not able to survive. The majority of folks who work here year round are struggling to either get into the housing market or stay housed because of the exponential growing cost of housing.”

In rental assistance, Vaikona said 45% of applicants were single parents.

89% of those single parents were single mothers.

Over half of those single mothers had a child between the age of zero to five years old.

But, there is hope.

So far, Lift to Rise has deployed $250 million toward rental assistance in the last two years and has kept about 100,000 people housed.

On top of that, over 1,000 affordable housing units are currently under construction in the desert, which is a huge jump compared to only 38 units being built in 2018.

While these organizations are doing what they can to help ease this pressure, more needs to be done.

“There’s no public agency, there’s no municipality who single handedly can solve the housing crisis,” Vaikona explained. “Folks do not prioritize housing until it is too late. We need all of our cities, our county, every single agency that has capacity to make decisions, to be making decisions.”

For more information on Lift to Rise and their resources, click here.

Suscribe Form Desktop


Submit your suggestions and questions

Nbc Palm Spring Logo

Download our App

Apple Store Logo

Play Store Logo