The cost of renting a home in Fresno County is on the rise, but increases over the past year vary widely, according to new data.
Overall median rent increased 2.2 percent from February 2016 to February of this year, to $1,265 a month, according to Zillow, a real estate research company.
In Fresno, the annual increase was 3.6 percent, while in Clovis the increase was estimated at 2 percent, Zillow said. But Fresno’s median monthly rent in February was at $1,243, well below Clovis’ $1,537.
In Orange Cove, where median rent is $999, costs have declined 3.4 percent year-over-year. Five other ZIP codes in Fresno County also had one-year declines.
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Real estate experts generally advise people to spend no more than a third of their income on housing. By that measure, nearly half of households in Fresno County would be unable to afford Zillow’s estimate of the county’s median rent, according to U.S. Census data.
Still, median rents vary widely, from $2,098 a month in the Friant area to $792 in central Fresno (ZIP code 93701). At those rates, a household in the Friant area would need yearly household income of $76,291 to afford the rent (the Friant designation includes Woodward Park and Cooper River areas). In central Fresno, the household income needed to cover the median rent would be $28,800.
Other organizations have produced their own estimates of median monthly rent, among them Apartmentlist.com, which derives its figures from rental listings. In numbers released last week, Apartmentlist.com estimates a median one-bedroom apartment in Fresno goes for $710 and a median two-bedroom apartment is running $850 a month. The company also estimates rents have risen 4.3 percent in the past year.
Zillow’s estimates include homes and condos as well as apartments and other multifamily units, and project what all homes would rent for in a ZIP code, regardless of whether they’re available to rent, said Lauren Braun, a company spokeswoman.
“We do this because it controls for the mix of available rentals – for example, if a bunch of new luxury apartments were available in January, but mostly older units were available in February, it would look like rents fell, when it was more due to what units were on the market at the time,” Braun said.
Using data from Zillow and the Census Bureau, here’s a look at how rent – and the income needed to cover it – stacks up in Fresno County.
Correction: An earlier version identified Apartmentlist.com as Apartments.com.
Data mapping by John Alvin and Douglas E. Beeman.