The cost of living in the United States, particularly rent, has been on the rise since 2020, posing challenges for many individuals 

Inflation is a significant factor driving up rent costs. Increased expenses in labor and supply compel landlords to pass on these expenses to renters 

There's a pressing need for more housing inventory, but there's a nationwide shortage of affordable rental properties, intensifying competition among renters 

Prospective homebuyers are opting to remain renters due to barriers in the current housing market, exacerbating the shortage of available rentals 

In 2022, median household income in the U.S. was $74,580, showing a slight decrease from the previous year. Virginia's median income dropped to $80,615 in 2021 from $82,214 in 2020 

While wages have been rising, they're struggling to keep up with the inflation rate, impacting people's overall financial stability 

High-income earners are also affected by low inventory and fierce market competition, which can drive up rental costs 

The Federal Reserve's efforts to raise interest rates have helped slow down inflation in 2023, with shelter costs being a significant contributor to inflation 

The rent-to-income ratio (RTI) in the U.S. rose above 30% for the first time in 25 years in 2022 but saw a slight decline to 29.6% in the first quarter of 2023