Apartment rental rates in Houston soon to be less expensive

By Mark Boyle - Reporter

HOUSTON - Getting an apartment in Houston is about to get less expensive and that's good news for renters. But the reason behind the drop is concerning.

You're bound to find large apartment communities, popping up across the Houston metro area and hundreds more are expected to be completed over the next year. And because of that industry analysts expect rent rates to drop and in some cases, it's already happening.

Construction crews, apartment complexes and leasing signs are things we all see driving around down. For prospective renter Darla Hall, finding an apartment at the right price is critical.

"I heard all the rent was going up and then just recently I heard it was going down so financially, it would help a lot to spend money in other places," said Hall.

According to Apartment Data Services, there are growing concerns for builders there may not be enough people to fill all of the units being built and that will drive rates down.

"The recent concern is that the job growth has slipped because of the price of oil and job growth drives demand for apartments. That's where there is a little anxiety out there," said Bruce McClenny with Apartment Data Services.

According to the Houston Apartment Association, it is seeing rental rates actually decline in highly sought-after areas. In the Montrose/Museum District area, rent is down 4.7 percent now compared to the same time last year; in the Inner Loop area, rates are down 6 percent; the Galleria is down 5.5 percent; the Heights is down 0.1 percent, and in Katy rates fell just over two percent.

So what does this mean for the long term?

"The brand new product, the well-located product, Inner Loop, Galleria, the brand new stuff is going to be a little more affordable than it was before," said McClenny.

Right now more than 18,000 units are available to be leased in the Metro area and nearly 30,000 more are slated for leasing within the next year. McClenny said there is no way to predict what will, but it appears it's turning into a renters market because supply levels are so high.

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