FORT MYERS

Will skyrocketing rents cost people in Southwest Florida their lives? If you’re renting, chances are you’re paying more than you were a year ago.

If you’re looking for accommodation, there aren’t many choices here.

Before Hurricane Ian, Southwest Florida was booming, and finding affordable housing was like finding a four-leaf clover.

This marker is now on par with people who want to rent a home because the storm leveled so many homes and it will take some time to rebuild.

“The prices are just skyrocketing,” said Trayvon Yuengling of Fort Myers. “You really love that you can’t find room for anything real for someone who works a regular job.”

Andrea Ehrhard manages rental properties in Cape Coral.

As a result of the hurricane, more than 200 people gave up their short-term rentals. These vacancies were quickly filled.

“A lot of people rented them to workers who came here to help. The FEMA people, the adjusters,” Erhardt said.

As a result, the rental price increased dramatically.

“I would say about 10 to 15%, if not more,” Erhardt said.

Property manager Michael McVety said he expected the increase.

“Anytime the federal government comes in and offers a program with money, that automatically means that rents are going to go up,” said McVety, who is president of Red Fortress Property Management.

In time, people will return to their homes, but McVety said he doesn’t think that will lead to lower rents.

“The only way to get rid of the accumulated shortage is through construction. The problem is that eventually you will run out of available land,” he said.

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