Posted on December 11, 2013 - 06:35 AM
by Heather Alexander
Houston renters are feeling the pinch as they face some of the highest price hikes in the country, according to a new report from researchers at Harvard University.
Of the 93 metro areas measured, Houston made it into the top 10 among large cities with rate increases at 4.8%. That's more than 3 percentage points above inflation. Among all cities nationally, Houston is 15th on the list of rent increases.
All those newbies want prime locations, meaning apartment hunters inside the Loop are faring the worst. An average apartment there now almost $200 more than it was two years ago.
"Two years ago, a one bedroom inner Loop/West Greenaway Plaza apartment cost $1,087. Now it's $1,271," said Bruce McClenny, from Apartment Data Services. "We just haven't delivered enough product to meet this demand. We just didn't build enough fast enough."
Compare that with the average in the Houston metro area as a whole, which saw an increase of just $100 in two years for a one bedroom, from $662 to $762.
Also making the top 20 fastest-rising rents were Austin and Corpus Christi, which have seen similar employment growth.
Researchers say things may get better as new construction projects are completed, but until then, the best advice may be to stay put rather than move homes.
"You might get a better deal renewing rather than starting out fresh," says Andy Teas from the Houston Apartment Association. "Landlords want to avoid the costs of finding new tenants."