High demand means high monthly rates for rentals in Houston market

January 18, 2013 9:20:18 PM PST
Houston is booming right now. Job growth and home sales are up, and while that's very good news, it brings some bad news too.

The bad news comes to those renting or leasing a home, including those who are moving here because of a new job.

You can find homes for lease around Houston, but it can be a difficult search.

"If there is a property on the market for lease, they lease very quickly, especially if the conditions are right and the prices are right," said Chaille Ralph with the Houston Association of Realtors.

Ralph is a Houston realtor. She says skyrocketing demand for homes has depleted the number of homes for sale and in part that has as lead to a spike in demand for homes for lease, but there's another reason.

"About 85,000 jobs created in Houston last year and many of those people cannot sell their homes in other markets and so they are having to lease temporarily," Ralph said.

She says with high demand come higher monthly rates.

"You are probably looking at $1,500 to $2,500 in most cases. We have many people looking in the $1,000 to $1,500 range and that is very hard to find," said Ralph.

With 80,000 more jobs expected in 2013, demand for apartments is up, too.

"So that equates to about 14,000 new apartments that will be in demand," said Mack Armstrong with the Houston Apartment Association.

Armstrong says occupancy rates are currently at 90 percent and new units are often rented out before the construction ends -- bad news for bargain hunters.

"Growing occupancy typically means rental rates will move up," said Armstrong,

Incentives are also hard to find, things like three months free rent or free cable are not as common in the rental market as they were just three years ago.

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