Six months in, Houston-area apartment rents still feeling COVID-19 squeeze

Multifamily housing construction brought almost 22,000 units to market in the past 12 months, six months of which were amid the coronavirus outbreak. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)
Multifamily housing construction brought almost 22,000 units to market in the past 12 months, six months of which were amid the coronavirus outbreak. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)

Multifamily housing construction brought almost 22,000 units to market in the past 12 months, six months of which were amid the coronavirus outbreak. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)

In the six months since beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in Houston, the region's apartments have lost all of their average rent gains from the past 12 months, according to new reports by a multifamily housing analytics firm.

Made with Flourish

Unlike the single-family home market, which has had three months of strong sales growth and declining inventory, Houston apartments remain in a weakened position, due in large part to overall uncertainty in the job market and a surge of new construction adding supply, said Bruce McClenny, president of ApartmentData.com.

"Real estate markets really depend upon job growth to grow," he said.

Overall average rent dropped by $5 in August, bringing the overall average across all units to $1,044, its lowest level since May 2019. That means the market is starting from a low position as it heads into a what is usually a sluggish fall and winter, McClenny said.


The drops are even more precipitous for high-end Class A properties, where the average rent for August was $1,463, its lowest in over two years. Occupancy rates are down to around 80% for Class A, as compared to around 90% for the market overall, partly because so many new units have become available.

"We have so much new product, you know—we delivered 20,000-22,000 units in the last 12 months, and the timing of that just couldn't be worse," McClenny said.

Sharp rent declines were found in the Inner Loop areas, particularly downtown.

Absorption, the difference between the number of move-ins and move-outs, is showing positive signs overall, but among Class C and D properties, which typically serve as workforce housing, it has been in negative territory several times since March, suggesting a greater trend toward move-outs.

Bright spots of growth in the marketplace are in Houston's outlying areas, such as Sugar Land-Missouri City, Lake Houston-Kingwood, and Clear Lake-Webster, all of which are showing increasing rents in the past three months, the data show.


MOST RECENT

Commissioners on Nov. 22 voted to approve a density change to preliminary plans for The Preserve, a neighborhood that city documents said could include 565 single-family homes at the northeast corner of Teel and Panther Creek Parkways. (Courtesy city of Frisco)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Neighborhood near PGA Frisco could see larger lots; ERCOT says Texas power grid ready for expected winter demand and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 24.

After two years, the Houston Ballet Company is bringing back “The Nutcracke" on stage in time for the upcoming holiday season. (Courtesy Houston Ballet)
'The Nutcracker' returns to Houston stage for first time in two years

"The Nutcracker" will soon be returning to the stage in Houston.

A health expert with Baylor College of Medicine provides advice to stay safe and healthy while celebrating Thanksgiving with family. (Karolina Grabowska/Pexels)
Baylor College of Medicine: Tips for staying safe and healthy this Thanksgiving as the pandemic continues

Check out some helpful advice from a medical expert on how to stay safe and healthy during Thanksgiving.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sits beside Samsung CEO Dr. Kinam Kim as he announces the company is brining a $17 billion facility to Taylor. (Screnshot via KXAN)
Samsung makes it official: Announcement from Governor's Mansion confirms $17B facility coming to Taylor

Nearly a year after Williamson County officials began pitching Samsung to bring a megafacility to the area, the electronics giant has made it official.

Bill Curci is a chief operating partner for Shuck Me, a seafood restaurant in Fort Worth. (Bailey Lewis/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Fort Worth restaurant Shuck Me is fishing- and family-centric; a guide to Houston's 2021 Thanksgiving Day Parade and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 23.

Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital are collaborating with an immunotherapy company to bring COVID-19 vaccines to South Africa. (Courtesy Pexels)
Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital announce licensing agreement for COVID-19 vaccine in South Africa

Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital are collaborating with an immunotherapy company to bring COVID-19 vaccines to South Africa.

PTSD Foundation of America seeks to reduce veteran suicides

An average of 17.2 veterans died by suicide daily in 2019—a 36% increase from 2001, according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in September.

Hebrews Coffeehouse specializes in coffee flights, an assortment of four specialty coffees with flavors changed every two weeks. (Courtesy Hebrews Coffeehouse)
From coffee trailer to storefront: Meet the owners of Hebrews Coffeehouse on FM 1488

​​​​​​​“Once we had a coffeehouse and people were coming into that house-type environment and then you start to see relationships flourish, that’s what makes our hearts beat,” Geoff said. “Coffee was a catalyst for that.”

Texas Medical Center coronavirus update: ICU numbers drop almost 20%; new hospitalizations plateau

Heading into Thanksgiving, here is the status of COVID-19 in Texas Medical Center hospitals.

Developers unveiled plans for Autry Park, a 14-acre mixed-use project along Buffalo Bayou. (Rendering courtesy Autry Park)
Brasserie, steakhouse coming to Autry Park in spring 2022

Two new restaurants have been announced for the mixed-use development Autry Park, both of which are being developed by Berg Hospitality Group and are expected to open by next spring.

Read below to find out where to donate items or money to local organizations. (Photo courtesy Canva)
Where to donate for Thanksgiving this year in Houston

For those looking to give items or monetary donations for Thanksgiving this year, check out these organizations that help feed Houstonians on Thanksgiving.