MACON, Ga. (WGXA) -- Like many places in the US, in Macon, the hunt for a house, brings headaches to bidders.
It's a conundrum that according to Pew Research Center that has become a growing problem for both renters and buyers.
According to the most recent data active listings have dropped to the lowest rate in five years.
Gateway Realty Professionals realtor, Clarena Hoskins specializes in selling homes and says right now there is a big bidding war on houses.
"Right now the market is hot period," Hoskins said.
To uncover why affordable housing in Macon is so inaccessible WGXA's Ereina Plunkett looked into the matter.
"A lot of people that are coming to Macon were under the same assumption that houses are cheap," Plunkett asked Hoskins.
"The way the market is right now interest rates are rising and [with] the pandemic you would think that would slow it down but it didn't," Hoskins responded.
Hoskins went on to clarify that we're in a competitive seller's market that favors landlords and property owners.
"They want your income to be at least three times the monthly rent, and in some places, they require you to put down the first-month deposit, and last month deposit and a security deposit," Hoskins said.
With more options and wiggle room in monthly cost, one would think the silver lining lies in the renter's market, but according to the National Low-Income Coalition, 24% of Georgians looking to rent qualify as being extremely low income.
Working to advocate and assist low-income renters looking to rent an apartment in a tough market, Macon-Bibb Economic Opportunity Housing Specialist, James Baker says inflation and rising costs puts the council in a bind.
"We saw two bedrooms go from $650 to $950, $950 meaning that we cannot help you if you get a two-bedroom, because it is not a fair market rate," Baker said.
Bound by governmental standards that determine the fair market value of housing, the council cannot assist anyone with housing that has a rate above what is deemed as fair.
Baker believes these challenges make finding affordable housing an extreme burden on the renter.
"Since the pandemic, housing has been some of the hardest things to get right now. The difficult part of it, is you have to have three times the income, good credit, and no evictions," Baker said.
Today, according to the National Low-income Housing Coalition the average fair market rent cost for a one-bedroom apartment in Macon will run you around $872 a month.
A cost that is only rising, according to Baker.
"In Macon-Bibb County, we've got outsiders coming in buying up our property, and they're doing Atlanta prices in Macon, Georgia. This is still Macon, this is not Atlanta, this is not California, so the pricing has gone up three to four times," Baker said.
He says even the most vulnerable are having no luck in their search.
"Even with Section Eight vouchers, landlords are still checking your credit, and if your credit isn't good they won't even let you use the Section Eight voucher anymore. That is unheard of," Baker said.
With limited apartments available, Baker says finding apartments in the 120-day time frame of the voucher is next to impossible.
It's an alarming trend that Baker foresees continuing.
"I look at films every day on YouTube and I look at LA's Skid Row, if we don't do anything about housing we are going to have a Skid Row in Macon, Georgia."
As for Hoskins, the hotly competitive market is a reality that she says buyers need to be prepared for when making their bids and presenting themselves as overqualified.
"At the end of the day all things are possible, but I stress to people you have to put your best foot forward if you or anyone is looking to get a house is to go ahead and start working on your credit now, start saving your funds now," Hoskins said.