Rents have been soaring across the country, even outpacing home values, according to a recent Zillow report. And it’s not just a big city problem. “Places that were more traditionally affordable are growing more quickly,” said Skylar Olsen, senior economist at Zillow. The reason is the current shortage of available rentals. “Vacancy rates are at very low levels, which continues to push rents higher,” said Andrew Jakabovics, senior director, Policy Development & Research at Enterprise Community Partners.
There is in-turn a lot of pressure on the rental market: Millennials are renting longer, housing inventory is tight and Baby Boomers are downsizing. There’s also been a shift in people wanting to live in more urban areas, where renting is more common. But there just aren’t enough “For Rent” signs to keep up with the demand. Rental construction also slowed in the aftermath of the housing crisis as confidence shrank. “We weren’t building enough so when the economy recovered, vacancy rates got very tight,” said Hans Nordby, a managing director with real estate research firm CoStar Group. “If you don’t build apartments, it pushes rents up.”
Adding more supply will eventually ease some price pressure, she said. “It just takes time to creep down the distribution. People living in the older units now that aren’t as luxurious migrate over to the new luxury units, and that opens up more units.” But it takes about two years for rental buildings to become available in many markets so the relief won’t be immediate.
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Source: CNN/Money and Forbes