Rental vacancies hitting new lows, driving rents higher

Newly released data shows that vacancies at rental properties have become exceedingly rare in recent months. That fact has driven up the asking rents in many markets across the country, perhaps making homes for sale in Los Angeles relatively more affordable.

According to information from the rental data firm Reis, the effective average rent nationwide jumped from $1,028 in the first quarter to $1,041. That 1.3 percent jump was the most in nearly five years.

The rising rents were driven by dropping vacancies. The national vacancy rate was 4.7 percent percent, the lowest in more than 10 years, as vacant apartments have been quickly snatched up.

“For most markets, once vacancies tighten below 5 percent, effective rents tend to spike as landlords perceive that tight market conditions afford them greater pricing power over tenants,” said Reis senior economist Ryan Severino. “With overall vacancy below this level, it appears that rents are beginning to accelerate.”

The data found that New York City had the most competitive rental market in the country. The vacancy rate there was just 2.2 percent.

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