Low Vacancies, Rising Rents for Apartments

July 8, 2011

Reis Inc. reports that the average effective rent -- the amount paid after discounting -- was $997 in the second quarter of the year. That is an increase from $974 a year ago. Second-quarter rents, meanwhile, climbed in 80 out of 82 markets surveyed.

According to Reis, monthly rent levels rose fastest in San Jose, Calif., to $1,501.

Apartment vacancies dipped in 72 of the 82 markets Reis tracked during the April-through-June period, dropping the U.S. vacancy rate to 6 percent. That is the lowest since 2008 and was down from 7.8 percent in 2010's second quarter, notes Reis.

Vacancies declined fastest in the markets of Charleston, W.Va.; Greensboro/Winston-Salem, N.C.; and Richmond, Va.

BMO Capital Markets analyst Rich Anderson observes, "Rising rents and falling vacancies are the perfect situation for landlords. It's like drinking without the hangover."

However, there are some warning signs popping up. For instance, apartment owners and managers filled a net 33,000 rental units in the second quarter, a slowdown from the 45,000 units they filled in the first three months of the year. Around 8,700 new apartments opened during the second quarter, the second-lowest quarterly total for new completions since Reis started collecting data in 1999.

Source: "Rents Rise, Vacancies Go Down," Wall Street Journal (07/07/11)

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