Demand for apartments is seemingly insatiable. Low vacancy, an improving economy and labor market, and lots of newly completed Class A properties coming online with rents higher than the market average will push asking and effective rents up by roughly 3.3% next year.
A new survey shows that while London was one for foreign investors, the rest of the top five cities were all in the USA. The survey said the U.S. is the “stable and secure” country for real-estate investment “by a wide margin.” The U.S. is also the top market when it comes to capital appreciation and for future real-estate purchases.
The reason is perhaps not hard to come by. Rohit Prakash, President – American Full House LLC says, “In the last few years property prices in India have risen significantly. Investors who invested at the lows in India have gained from this rise. They are now looking at booking profits and investing in other assets that are available at reasonable valuations. The US real estate market is one such avenue where prices are currently at the lower end of the range with potential for strong upside. In addition, while smaller investors may be hard pressed to find good properties at $100,000 in India very easily today, there are quite a few such opportunities in the US.”
Vacancy rates are falling fast (the excess supply is being absorbed). The falling vacancy rate is pushing push up effective rents. Note: The excess housing supply includes both apartments, condominiums, and single family homes. A record low number of multi-family units will be completed this year (2011). Only 8,700 apartments came on the market in Q1 (in the Reis survey area).
The Market Tightness Index, which examines vacancies and rents, rose to a record 90 from 78 last quarter. For all indexes, a reading above 50 indicates improving market conditions. Almost four in five respondents (79%) said markets were tighter (lower vacancies and/or higher rents) and—for the first time ever—not a single respondent thought conditions were looser.
The number of occupied apartments increased by 215,000 in the 64 largest U.S. markets in the first half, according to MPF Research. That’s almost double the units added in all of 2009 and the most since the firm began tracking the data in 1992. The vacancy rate declined to 6.6 percent last month from 8.2 percent in December. “Demand is pretty stunningly strong in the first half,” Greg Willett, a vice president at the Carrollton, Texas-based apartment-industry research firm, said in an interview.
Apartment dwellers could be facing double-digit rent increases in the coming years as a shortage of new multifamily units coupled with a rise in prime renter-age households gives landlords clout they haven’t see since the mid-1990s, development experts said Thursday. “Demand pressures are building. It’s not bad today because rents have been down the last two years,” said William McLaughlin, an executive vice president with AvalonBay Communities (NYSE:AVB) in the Northeast. “But it feels a lot like 1992, when we were coming out of a deep recession … and we ended up seeing double-digit rent increases after that,” he said.