NATIONWIDE DECLINE IN RENTS
Posted Monday, February 2, 2009 by Realfacts
The release of the Realfacts 4Q08 data provides the first comprehensive
assessment of the rental market in 2008.
Renters looking for an apartment at the beginning of 2009 will have more
choice and be able to get a better value for their rent money. A study of
nationwide rents just released by Realfacts, the Novato data specialists
who are marking their 20th anniversary, shows that rents declined in
nearly every MSA in the country between September and December of 2008.
The year end survey found the highest rate of decline in Miami-Ft
Lauderdale FL (2.4% in the 4th quarter), Riverside-San Bernardino CA
(2.4%), San Jose CA (2.0%), Oxnard‐Thousand Oaks‐Ventura CA
(1.8%). Rents also went down by 1.6% in Orlando, Phoenix, and Los Angeles.
Nationally, the average rent for an apartment once again dropped below
$1,000 declining from $1002 in September to $993 in December.
The decline in rents was matched by a decline in occupancy. The occupancy
rate for apartments in the United States dropped to 92.2% in December,
down from 92.9% in September. That decline in
occupancy meant that 10,000 apartment units were vacant as the year
closed. The Realfacts survey covers an inventory of nearly 3.2 million
units of rental housing in 60 MSAs. In 2008, only 9,248 units
were added to the supply. This compares to an average for the previous ten
years of about 65,000 units per year of new construction.
The decline in rents and occupancy is certainly good news for renters. For
people who have invested in income property, the news is less welcome. In
essence, while income from rental property remained flat in 2008,
inflation drove costs up by 3.85%. This gap is reflected in a smaller
number of sales transactions during 2008. The Realfacts database shows
just 386 sales of apartment complexes larger than 100 units, which is
about one third of the previous three year’s volume.
This data for 2008 indicates that the year’s widespread economic problems
have finally affected the rental market by the end of the year. The choice
to invest in income property for the last several decades has been based
on the assumption that rents would continue to growth. In 2009, investors
are likely to evaluate rental properties based on current income alone.
via an email I received today.