“Landlords have the advantage”

A new report based on feedback from 500 property managers sums up the rental market:

Vacancy rates are at a low not seen in the last 20 years. According to the U.S. Census, national vacancy rates in the second quarter of 2015 were 6.8 percent for rental housing, down nearly a full percentage point (from 7.5 percent) from the same time in 2014. The last time vacancy rates dipped below 6.8 percent was the fourth quarter of 1985 (6.7 percent)…

As the rental market continues to become more saturated, property managers are having to do even less in order to fill apartment openings. In 2015, 55 percent of property managers said that they are less likely to offer concessions in order to fill vacancies than they have been in years past. In fact, 64 percent reported that they are not doing anything different from one year ago, in order to fill vacancies…

88 percent of property managers raised their rent in the last 12 months, which is likely to continue 68 percent of property managers predict that rental rates will continue to rise in the next year by an average of 8 percent, which is a two percent increase over the estimated 6 percent rent hike predicted by property managers back in 2014…

Millennials face limited job prospects, lower incomes and high student loan debts, making it harder to buy and easier to rent. 45 percent of property managers have noticed an increase in the number of millennials renters. (Maybe some were living at home, and have moved out into the rental market).

Renters are staying in their apartments longer. According to property managers, 34 percent found that renters are holding on tight to their apartments and renewing their leases (up from 29 percent in 2014), rather than moving somewhere new.

This fits with other evidence showing a expensive and tight rental market. So when are communities – from big cities that have tended to emphasize luxury units (like Chicago, New York, and Miami) to suburbs that have tended to approve nicer single-family units to protect property values and keep certain people out – going to have more reasonably priced rental units?

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