Rents Rise to Menace Market

Home and apartment rents are rising in the majority of the U.S. and are expected to sustain higher increases over coming months to for rent menace the housing market, according to a survey of residential property managers.

The new TransUnion survey found that both large and small property managers are faring better than they were a year ago attracting residents, many of whom have suffered through foreclosures as a result of the financial crisis.

Nearly half of the respondents, 48%, said rental prices on the majority of their units increased in the past year. Only 39% said rental prices had increased the previous year in the same survey.

Despite higher rents, more property managers are finding it easier to locate prospective residents. A huge 73% said it is not difficult to find residents. “Data throughout the last year has pointed to a healthier rental market,” said TransUnion rental division head Steve Roe.

Large property managers saw the highest rental increases from 60% in 2011 to 64% in 2012. More than 70% of small property managers said they have zero vacancy, up from 66% in 2011.

Even with a healthier rental market, property managers are still concerned with attracting reliable residents for the remainder of the year. Nearly 60% said they are concerned or “very concerned” to find such tenants as the profile of renters income weakens in most areas of the country.

“Though this number is down from 65% in last year’s survey, it does point to the continued unease about the economy and a lingering question about the ability of tenants to make timely rental payments,” said Roe.

Property managers may also be cautious because more than half of the respondents to the survey (53%) said they have had a renter “skip out” leaving the unit with unpaid rent or damages. Some 18% said a tenant has skipped out in the last year, a sign of the times in this tough economy.