Denton County renters continued to get squeezed in May with prices for single-family rentals edging up slightly compared to the same time last year. As home price inflation continues to push higher, the average rent per square foot rose a bit faster. In Denton County the average price for a home leased during the month of May registered at roughly $1921. This was essentially unchanged from May of last year, but the price per square foot rose from $0.93 to $0.96. Within the city of Denton where average rents are lower ($1617), the price per square foot rose from $0.94 to $0.99.

Perhaps this is why the City of Denton is evaluating whether to modify their restrictions on tiny homes as they work on the city’s development code. Cities across the country are looking for creative ways to provide affordable housing to local residents. Unfortunately they are looking in many of the wrong places. I certainly don’t have anything against someone wanting to live in a tiny house, but trashing development codes to combat rampant home price inflation and the general financialization of housing is a fool’s errand.

The lack of affordable housing, whether it be Denton TX, greater DFW or anywhere in the U.S. boils down to explicit government policy, and for sure monetary policy, directed at the real estate market. Those with short memories forget that huge swaths of affordable homes were taken out of the market the minute Wall Street was bailout out following the last housing crash. And those same Wall Street hedge funds are still buying up affordable homes to add to their rental portfolios!

Anyone who has gone shopping for an “affordable” starter home in the DFW area can attest to the challenges home buyers now face if they want a decent roof over their head and a modest monthly payment. If the City of Denton really wants to get a handle on the lack of affordable housing, Council members would be better served turning their focus to the closest branch of the Federal Reserve bank.

Just like the last housing bubble, it’s the Fed who provided the fuel to fan the flames of home price inflation. And once again the Fed is in the process of hiking interest rates when home prices are once again at lofty levels. The good news for those looking to rent a home is that asking rents in the Dallas area rose less than 3 percent compared to May of last year. According to RentCafe’s latest apartment market report¬†asking rents in Denton TX rose 3.0 percent in May to $1175.

While renting an apartment might not be your ideal choice, it’s a choice more people are being forced to make as home prices rise to levels that are simply too expensive for many families living on modest incomes. New supply of apartment homes coming to the market should help to curtail prices increases in the near term. Several developments in the Denton area are offering move-in specials or even a free month of rent. If you are looking for an affordable home, just give me a call.