ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – With the pandemic and skyrocketing rent prices, affordable housing is needed now more than ever. Many people are still out of work but their rent continues to go up. Now, help is on the way with more affordable housing coming to cities like Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

“You have high demand for buildings, you have high rental demand. Those are all indicators for driving rents,” IREM Government Affairs Chair, Chuck Sheldon.

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Sheldon says it’s become a competitive market as affordable housing becomes less affordable. Since 2018, the cost per square foot has gone up from 75 cents to $1.20. That’s about a $400 increase over the past four years.

“There is no way that you can hold your rents down and if you do that out of the goodness of your heart, you’re paying those increases in cost out of your pocket,” said Sheldon.

Tenants aren’t the only ones feeling the pinch. Landlords are also facing higher costs that are passed down to residents.

“The price to fix your buildings has gone up 30 to 40 percent in this last year so when you have to fix a sink or faucet you’re paying 30 percent more than you were,” added Sheldon

To help with demand, there are now 3,000 new apartments being built in the Albuquerque and Santa Fe areas with 38% of those catering to low-income individuals. Sheldon says although more housing will help, the supply is still too short.

“We have a two-month supply of houses on the market. So when you look at that, that’s going to drive prices. We used to have nine to 10 months of supply, now it’s two,” Sheldon said.

One tenant says after experiencing two rent increases at his rental property he has no other choice but to move out. “If we saw some sort of direct benefit from that rent increase that would be one thing but it just feels like it’s being increased and no consideration given to people who have lived there for a while,” said Matt Wencl.

In the last year, rent prices in Albuquerque and Santa Fe have gone up 15% to 20% According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, rent for a one-bedroom apartment this year is expected to be around $821 for low-income housing. Last year, it was $770.