MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The average one-bedroom apartment in Myrtle Beach now costs nearly $1,600, according to rent.com, but wages are lagging behind.

An increase in demand, a decrease in inventory and elevated interest rates are all factors affecting the cost of rent in Myrtle Beach.

“These rate increases are all working together to push these price levels even higher,” said Joseph von Nessen, a research economist at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.

Data from rent.com shows the average one-bedroom unit in Myrtle Beach costs $1,595, which is a 17% increase from last year. The average two-bedroom apartment costs $1,770.

“I think we are establishing a new normal because we’re seeing these increases in demand and that is especially driven by migration and that’s likely to be a long-run trend,” Von Nessen said.

According to the data, 47% of apartments in Myrtle Beach cost $2,000 or more, while only 6% sit below the $1,000 mark.

Von Nessen said prices will likely level off by the end of this year, but in the long term that might not be the case.

“Three to five to 10 years out, this region of the country and South Carolina, in particular, is likely to see a steady increase in demand as we continue to see population growth,” he said.

As rent prices increase, wages are lagging behind, causing financial problems for many South Carolinians.

“We have not seen wage increases keep up with price increases,” Von Nessen said. “That’s been a real challenge for the U.S. economy and for South Carolinians over the last year.”

Von Nessen said the ongoing increase in prices creates a challenge of what renters can afford and where they need to be looking in order to move forward.

“I think we have to consider housing prices in light of that new normal that we are experiencing with respect to significant and consistent increase in demand,” he said.