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Home arrow Real Estate News arrow General News arrow Realtors predict average vacancy rates will decline and rents likely to go up
Realtors predict average vacancy rates will decline and rents likely to go up Print E-mail
Tuesday, 05 September 2006
Many Americans are adopting a wait-and-see attitude about home buying as the real estate market shows sign of softening.  Thus, those in need of housing are turning to the alternative, which are rentals.

According to the latest Commercial Real Estate Outlook from the National Association of Realtors, a trade association based in Washington, D.C., the apartment rental market will see average vacancy rates of 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter of this year, down from 6.2 percent during the same period in 2005.

"With mortgages rising and home prices at such a high level, people who might have considered purchasing a home a few years ago may now be turning to the rental market, particularly in big cities like New York," says Richard Levy, a senior research analyst at the National Multi Housing Council, an industry association based in Washington, D.C.

To determine the costliest 20 rental markets in the U.S., we turned to real estate research firm Global Real Analytics, which publishes the National Real Estate Index. The San Francisco-based company collects rental data for studios through three-bedroom units in apartment complexes around the country. The firm provided its most recent data on the metropolitan areas with the highest annual rents per square foot.

In Manhattan specifically, the average rent came in at a whopping $48.33 per square foot — an estimate supported by July figures from Citi Habitats, a New York City-area real estate agency. The median monthly rent for a studio apartment in Manhattan is more than $1,900, according to Citi Habitats. If it's a three-bedroom spread that you're after, prepare to fork over somewhere in the neighborhood of $5,000.

San Fran's rental market, which took a major spill after the dot-com bust, has regained strength — and costly price tags. The average price is $27.17 per square foot each year for a high-end spread in the hilly city, up from $22.48 last year, an increase of more than 20 percent. That means renters will fork over more than $2,000 a month for a 1,000-square-foot pad.

Beyond being highly desirable places to call home, the reasons for the lofty price tags —which range from $13.87 annually per square foot in West Palm Beach, Fla., to $27.84 in New York City — vary from region to region and neighborhood to neighborhood.
Take New York. Yuval Greenblatt, executive vice president at Prudential Douglas Elliman in Manhattan, says there is a siege on the local rental market. Among the stressors are a lack of new rental construction and the conversion of many rental buildings into condominiums.
Dennis R. Hughes, a senior vice president at New York brokerage The Corcoran Group, a division of Cendant, says he recently worked with a customer who had a budget of up to $25,000 per month for a three-bedroom apartment, but he still had a hard time finding anything suitable. "There were just a handful of rental listings to show at that price point — that's how tight the market is," Hughes says.

Of course, not everyone is convinced that renting, particularly at current prices, is the better alternative. For the $10,000 a month you shell out for a rental, you could buy a $1.5 million house, says Keller Williams Realty's Leider.

Edwin Baniqued


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