Strong housing demand fuels Houston’s rental market

by Lindsey Wells

Houston’s rental market is more competitive than ever, with single-family rental home prices rising nearly 7% over the last 12 months, according to a new report by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR). 

The average single-family rent rose 6.7% to $2,075, while the average rent for townhomes and condominiums increased 7.6% to $1,852. 

“Houston’s lease market enjoyed a positive March overall, still benefitting from consumers that have postponed home-buying plans until the market hopefully yields a broader and more affordable supply of housing,” the report noted. The number of single-family rental homes in Greater Houston rose 18.3% year over year. 

The unprecedented market conditions continue to be fueled by strong demand for housing. Net demand for market-rate apartments totaled 712,899 units nationally during Q1 this year, an 8% increase from the previous high set one quarter earlier, according to a RealPage report.

Occupancy rates remain ultra-high in every metropolitan area across the country. Every major market, including Houston, recorded occupancy above 96% in March. 

Only five of the nation’s 150 largest metro areas recorded new lease rent increases below 6%. Rental platform Zumper recently revealed that rent prices in the Greater Houston area were 9.9% higher in February than in the same month in 2021. 

“Rent’s rapid rise is largely tied to the home sales market. As home prices rise, they price out renters who would otherwise buy,” Zumper reports. “And because the home sales market has gotten so hyper-competitive, many frustrated renters in the market for a home have simply given up because the process is so exhausting and demoralizing.”

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