Home sales data is easing so far in this calendar year. Home resales and new construction have dropped to multi-month lows and, in many cities, home supplies are rising. One housing sector that’s not slowing, however, is rentals.
The rental market is booming.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the average apartment vacancy rate is 6.6% nationwide, down from 8.0% last year. In addition, the number of occupied apartments rose by more during Q4 2010 than during any comparable period of the last 10 years.
It’s a major reason why rents are up 2.3%.
Some areas, however, fared worse than others. This study of rent increases as published on MSNBC, for example, lists the 10 U.S. cities in which rents increased the most last year. And they may not be the cities you’d expect.
- Greenville, SC (+11.2%; $669 average monthly rent)
- Chattanooga, TN (+10.4%; $726 average monthly rent)
- Savannah, GA (+8.4%; $866 average monthly rent)
- Portland, OR (+8.1%; $875 average monthly rent)
- San Jose, CA (+8.0%; $1,716 average monthly rent)
- Nashville, TN (+8.0%; $786 average monthly rent)
- Tacoma, WA (+8.0%; $900 average monthly rent)
- Denver, CO (+7.5%; $873 average monthly rent)
- Washington, DC (+7.4%; $1,473 average monthly rent)
- Raleigh, NC (+7.4%; $785 average monthly rent)
Big cities New York (#18), San Francisco (#19), and Chicago (#24) showed modest gains, by comparison.
Not everyone wants to be a homeowner, but renters are facing a squeeze. With mortgage rates historically low and home values slow to recover, in many cities, the cost-benefit analysis is shifting toward buying.