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Houston, Texas Apartment Complex Real Estate

Apartment Rent Went Up in 2017, but Growth Slowest Since ’10

Apartment rent was just over $1,350 a month on average at the end of last year, according to a new national report. That’s up about 24 percent over the last decade.

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According to new data from Yardi Matrix, one-bedrooms rented for $1,223 a month on average, two-bedrooms for $1,405 and three-bedroom apartments were going for $1,640 on average. Studios were renting for an average of $1,256 a month at the end of 2017.

Overall, apartment dwellers paid rent that was about 2.5 percent higher last year than in 2016, the report said.

While there were big jumps in some cities, particularly in the South and West, overall the increase was pretty lackluster, representing the smallest annual increase in rents since 2010, Yardi Matrix said.

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“The question for 2018 is how much more steam is left in the market, whether the deceleration will continue or if it will level off or turn negative,” Yardi Matrix wrote in its report. “Our view is that growth will continue at roughly the same rate nationally, led by strong demand. The economy shows no signs of slowing down, as GDP comes off two strong quarters and should get at least a boost from lower corporate and personal tax rates, while job growth continues to impress. Combined with the growth of the young adult population, household formation should remain robust.”

A few cities in Texas and California saw some of the biggest increases. Rents in the oil towns of Odessa and Midland, Texas went up by nearly a third last year. Rent in Reno, Nev. was up almost 10 percent.

Year-Over-Year Changes in Rent Prices 2017-2018
Graphic By Rent Cafe

But in Texas, higher rents in some places were offset by lower ones elsewhere. Average rent actually went down year-over-year in Lubbock, for example, by 6 percent.

Other cities that saw falling average rents included New York, where apartment prices were down about 1.7 percent both in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and Kansas City, which saw a drop by about 1.6 percent. Rent also went down last year in Charleston, South Carolina by 1.8 percent.

New York’s problem is over-supply, Yardi said.

The company said that in cities where rents are relatively affordable, but population is growing, rents should obviously rise in the coming year. Among cities in that category that could see increases, it said, are Sacramento, Orlando, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Colorado Springs.

The data also contained some anomalies. Rents shot up in the Houston area, because of people forced to rent while their homes were repaired after Hurricane Harvey.

“A similar trend to Houston may be occurring in Florida, as demand for housing increases, in part due to the migration from Puerto Rico in the wake of the 2017 hurricane season,” Yardi Matrix said.

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