According to a report released by Zumper, rents in Greensboro and Winston-Salem were among the lowest in the 100 markets they surveyed. From an article in the Triad Business Journal:
Of 100 U.S. cities surveyed, Greensboro was No. 88 with average monthly rent of $720 for one-bedroom unit ($820 for two bedrooms). The prices reflected a 5.9 percent yearly increase for one bedroom and a 3.8 percent jump for two bedrooms.
Winston-Salem, which was No. 78 on the list at $780 ($840 for two bedrooms), has experienced a larger spike in rent prices, with increases of 9.9 percent and 10.5 percent, respectively…
Charlotte ($1,160 and $1,310) ranked No. 33; Durham ($1,110 and $1,270) was No. 43; and Raleigh ($1,000 and $1,150) was No. 48.
According to this article in the Wall Street Journal, industry analysts expect slower rent growth for apartments across the US in 2019. A key factor is that more units are expected to come online this year than we’ve seen in any year for three decades. From the article:
Developers are slated to complete another 319,000 new units in 2019, up from last year’s still-aggressive figure of 287,000 units. That is the largest influx of new apartment supply in roughly three decades.
Filling those units could be particularly challenging if the economy begins to slow as expected.
“We certainly saw we can handle that [much supply] as long as the economy is producing 200,000 jobs a month, but that’s realistically not the expectation for next year,” said Greg Willett, RealPage’s chief economist.
As has been true for the last ten years, the pace of construction in the Piedmont Triad has lagged that of most of the country, including our neighbors in Raleigh and Charlotte, so this market may not see the same slow down that’s anticipated for other markets.
Real Data’s October survey results show that the apartment market remains very strong in the Piedmont Triad. Their market summary says it best:
The Triad apartment market is tightening with an average vacancy rate at just 4.0%. Over the last year demand has been strong with 2,348 units absorbed, easily offsetting the 1,595 units added to the supply over the same time period.
The development pipeline includes 2,814 units under construction and another 2,141 units proposed…
The region has posted strong rent growth of 3.8% over the past twelve months. The average rental rate is now $876 per month, as compared to $832 just twelve months ago. One bedroom units average $769, two bedrooms rent for an average of $869 and three bedrooms rent at $1,093 on average.
The report also indicates that the average vacancy rate should hold close to 4.0% for the next year and rents will continue to grow at a yearly rate of 3.5-4.5%.
So which submarkets are the hottest in the Triad?
Occupancy – Guilford Northeast (97.5%)
Average Rent – Guilford Central ($1,091)
Average Rent per SF – Forsyth Central ($1.172)
Units Under Construction – Forsyth Central (573)
To get a full copy of the Real Data October, 2018 report go to aptindex.com.
Across the U.S. rent and occupancy rates rose in the third quarter, although not at the same rate they were rising a few years back. From the Wall Street Journal:
Apartment rents rose 2.9% in the third quarter from a year earlier, up from 2.5% annual rent growth in the second quarter, according to real estate analytics firm RealPageInc. A strong economy with better wage growth helped boost demand for apartments. So did a weak home-sales market, as tight supply may have prompted more renters to put off buying.
“There definitely doesn’t seem to be the pressure to buy that was there a little bit earlier,” said Greg Willett, chief economist at RealPage.
The rental market has still slowed significantly from a few years ago, when rents grew by 5.2% in the third quarter of 2015. But Mr. Willet said that “an upward blip rather than a downward blip” shows at least that the slowdown isn’t accelerating.
The share of occupied apartments during the third quarter rose to 95.8% in the third quarter from 95.4% in the second quarter, according to RealPage.
Interestingly, one factor that might be contributing to the stronger than anticipated rental market is the tax cut passed last year:
Barbara Byrne Denham, a senior economist at Reis, attributed stabilization in the rental market to the tax bill that passed last December. That bill almost doubled the standard deduction for individual and joint filers, making it less advantageous for most homeowners to itemize and take the mortgage interest deduction.
Cities that were experiencing very strong rent growth just two or three years ago are now experiencing flat year-over-year growth and in some cases even year-over-year declines. Some of this shift can be attributed to red-hot construction volume, and some can be attributed to other factors like millennials (finally) moving into home ownership in significant numbers. From Bloomberg:
Tenants are gaining the upper hand in urban centers across the U.S. as new amenity-rich apartment buildings, constructed in response to big rent gains in previous years, are forced to fight for customers. Rents are softening most on the high end and within city limits, Terrazas said. Landlords also have been losing customers to homeownership as millennials strike out on their own, often moving to more affordable suburbs…
U.S. multifamily apartment construction for the past few years have been at levels not seen since the 1980s and rapid rent gains have also encouraged owners of single-family homes and condos to fill them with tenants. Projects opening now were conceived by developers a few years ago when rent gains in the U.S. were peaking at an annual gain of 6.6 percent, according to Zillow data.
The most expensive markets slowed first as new supply became available and tenants struggled to afford rapidly-rising lease rates. Rents in the San Francisco area jumped 19 percent in the year through July 2015. Now, they have been flat since last July. New York rents, which were up 7 percent in 2015, have been decelerating for a couple years, declining 0.4 percent in July.
The two largest metro areas in North Carolina are a part of the trend:
It is a great time for anyone looking to rent an apartment: vacancy rates are rising and there are little or no rent increases in many major cities.
For landlords, though, the U.S. apartment market suffered its worst spring since 2010, near the depths of the housing crisis. Driving this dynamic is a flood of new apartments and weakening demand.
Rents rose 2.3% in the second quarter compared with a year earlier, the smallest annual increase since the third quarter of 2010, according to data from RealPageInc. scheduled to be released on Wednesday. Rental growth was flat in major cities with otherwise strong economies—such as Austin, Portland, Seattle, Dallas and Washington, D.C.—due to large amounts of new supply…
Landlords have enjoyed a record 32 straight quarters of annual rent growth on average, as the U.S. economy strengthened and millennials delayed homeownership. But the reports of slowing, which began in a few markets in late 2016, have intensified to the point that the balance is shifting towards renters and away from landlords…
Data released Tuesday from another apartment data provider, ReisInc. also showed a largely weak rental market across the country in the second quarter. The national vacancy rate ticked up to 4.8% from 4.3% in the second quarter of 2017. The number of additional units that were rented fell to just over 37,000 from nearly 53,000 a year earlier, suggesting demand was weaker.
But it’s not all doom and gloom:
Despite the recent slowdown, apartment owners note that the market is far from crashing and rent growth remains just below historic norms.
Little concern has arisen that the softening could have broader economic repercussions for the U.S. financial system.
Here in the Triad we’ve not had the same level of new construction compared to the major metro areas so we don’t expect to see too much of a softening in terms of rent or vacancy. Time will tell, of course, but this might be one of those times when being the tortoise in the race is a good thing.
Real Data’s April ‘18 report for the Triad shows that occupancy is down a tad is better than it was a year ago, although down a tad in the last six months, while rents rose quickly in the last year. Their data shows that vacancies have risen from 5.2% to 5.5% since October ’17, but are still below the 6% reported one year ago. Average rents are up 4.2% over the last year, with the average rental rate now at $842 vs $794 a year ago.
Drilling down, the data shows that:
1BR Units Average Rent = $741
2BR Units Average Rent = $837
3BR Units Average Rent = $1,039
Guilford-Central submarket has highest avg rent: $1,080
Forsyth-Central submarket has highest avg rent per SF: $1.107
Guilford-South submarket has lowest vacancy rate: 3.9%
Guilford-Northeast submarket has highest vacancy rate: 9.5%
Real Data’s forecast for the next year is that vacancy rates should remain below 6% and rents should continue to grow at a 4-5% annual rate.
To purchase a full report, including stats for individual apartment communities, visit www.aptindex.com
According to REIS the vacancy rate nationwide scootched up a tad in the first quarter of 2018, but so did rents. All in all the market has cooled, but not as much as some analysts feared due to the boom in construction. From the Wall Street Journal:
The apartment vacancy rate edged up to 4.7% in the first quarter, up from 4.6% in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to data released by Reis Inc. on Tuesday. The vacancy rate jumped from 4.3% a year earlier, while the average apartment rent grew 3.9%, Reis said.
By both measures, the market has cooled from the recent peak, when rent growth hit 5.8% in 2015 and the vacancy rate touched a low of 4.1% in the third quarter of 2016.
Still, the market has proved to be resilient, given a flood of new supply from developers hoping to cash in from the strong growth rate earlier in the recovery. A sharp slowdown in occupancy and rent growth hasn’t materialized…
Nearly 59,000 units per quarter were added in 2017, compared to the historical average of around 34,000 units per quarter.
The author of the article also points out that the new tax law, which reduced the tax benefit of owning versus renting, might have reduced the number of people actively pursuing homeownership.
PTAA’s 2017 Industry Forecast Breakfast, held November 28 at Revolution Mill in Greensboro, featured a panel of three speakers: Mark Vitner, Managing Director & Senior Economist at Wells Fargo; Brian Ford, Managing Partner at Capstone Apartment Partners; Colin Wolfe, President of Real Catalyst Group. Vitner provided a regional and national economic update and forecast; Ford addressed the Triad apartment market from a transactional standpoint; Wolfe reviewed the PTAA Supply and Demand Dashboard that he developed in 2017.
Some key takeaways included:
Vitner(National and Regional)
Greensboro apartment activity has slowed in 2017 after the highest amount of absorption on record to close 2016. As a result of slower supply growth, rents have increased each quarter this year.
North Carolina continues to see solid economic gains across most major metro areas.
Pace of job growth in the Triad trails that of the state.
Ford (Piedmont Triad Apartment Transaction Outlook)
52% of Triad Multi-Family Owners are based outside of NC.
Since 2016, 78% of buyers in the Triad are new to the area.
Number of transactions this year in the Triad is 31 YTD. In all of 2016 there was 54.
Triad had almost as many transactions in 2016 (54) as the Triangle (58) did.
Cap Rates in the Triad are on average 0.5%+ higher compared to Charlotte and Raleigh MSAs, thus providing for higher returns for investors.
Wolfe (Triad Supply and Demand Dashboard)
Completions and Demand in the Triad have been largely balanced over the last four years.
Completions as a percentage of overall apartment stock in the Triad has been about the same as the national average over the last four years (1.5% to 2.6%) while Raleigh has ranged from 3.4% to 5% and Charlotte has been in the 4.2%-5.1% range.
Following their presentations, the panelists took questions from the audience for 30 minutes, and the conversation was lively and informative. One fun takeaway from that discussion: Vitner is of the opinion that Charlotte and Atlanta are frontrunners for Amazon’s second HQ.
For more information about the session please contact Jon Lowder.