Housing markets received another bit of good news Tuesday as apartment rents rose in the first three months of 2010 for the first time in five quarters, according to Reis, a property research company.

Rents Reverse Course, Vacancies Level Off

Effective rents in the United States went up by 0.1% in the first quarter, an improvement on the 0.7% drop in the final quarter of 2009, according to the Wall Street Journal. Reis officials said some markets had bottomed out and were making turnarounds. Rents rose in 60 of the 79 U.S. markets tracked by Reis and formerly declining rents in large metro areas such as Seattle, Miami and New York ticked upward.

Other indicators also pointed to a turnaround for rental markets. After rising steadily since early 2007, the vacancy rate leveled out at 8%. Ten years ago, vacancy rates were as low as 3.2% before rising to 7.2% in 2004 and presently reaching the 8% plateau. Renters are now staying in apartments for an average of 19 months, compared with a previous average of 14 months and fewer renters are leaving the market to purchase homes, despite a tax credit for homebuyers and low home prices.

Large Market Rents Rising

Properties in Manhattan

Some small housing markets such as Colorado Springs, Colorado (2.5%), Dayton, Ohio (1.4%), experienced rising rents, but many large cities were the beneficiaries of rent upticks. Washington, D.C. (2.0%), Miami (1.6%) and New York (0.9%) all saw sizeable bumps in early 2010. New York’s turnaround was especially drastic, considering the city’s rents fell 2.9% in 2009, according to the Financial Times.

Tempered Enthusiasm

Despite the positive first-quarter numbers, Victor Calanog of Reis told the Wall Street Journal that landlords should expect a “slow recovery” until the job market grows stronger. Unemployment is at 9.7% as the job market stabilizes and starts making its anticipated slow recovery. If the job market continues to see improvements, the rental housing market could benefit from young people (the most likely renters) avoiding unemployment.

Rents in newer apartment buildings did not trend upward as quickly, as barely half of new apartment units were filled in 2010’s first quarter. This is similar to sales of new homes lagging despite the rise in existing home sales in February. Some large markets such as Portland, Oregon, San Diego, and Las Vegas faced rent declines.

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  • dbh

    Surely you aren’t serious! Banks don’t make exceptions based on a personal situation. If you find one that does, shout it to the world!!

    • S Douglas

      I agree! They don’t care about ANYONE’S personal situation. Their bottom line, is NUMBERS, and that’s IT….


    Nonsense! You were not FORCED to overdraw your account to help others! Shame on you! Helping others is a Good Samaritan thing to do, but no one forced you to use your account knowing there was no money to cover the charges you were making! If you didn’t have money in your account to spend, you should have never tried to steal, yes STEAL, from the bank and blame it on an emergency! God is watching you! Also, apparently, you have such bad spending habits no one was willing to give you a credit card, and you blame the company for denying you??!! Your actions speak louder than your words, sir, I say loosely…