San Antonians are paying more to rent apartments – and the rise in prices is fueled by soaring costs of homes for sale, more people are moving into the city and residents from outside are flocking to the area.

The overall median rent reached $ 1,136 in July, an increase of 9.1% year-over-year, according to data provided by apartment search website Apartment List.

Much of the region’s rental growth has occurred since the start of the year, said Rob Warnock, senior research associate at Apartment List. Last year, rents fell 1% from March to December.

Rising home prices and a tight supply of available homes are forcing many potential buyers to continue renting – as new tenants flock to San Antonio, he said. Higher rents result.

The median home price jumped to $ 298,400 in July, a 24% increase from March 2020, the San Antonio Board of Realtors reported.

Inventory – the average time it takes for a home to sell if no new home is listed – fell from 3.2 months to 1.7 months over that time.

Amid lockdown orders and concerns about the spread of the virus, people have postponed their move plans. Now they are ready to move. People who have returned to live with their parents or whose colleges or universities have switched to online courses are now signing leases.

“Right now we’re seeing a lot of moving activity in the rental market,” Warnock said.

Robin Davis, founder of through Austin Investor Interests, attributes the increase in rents to an influx of people moving to San Antonio from other, sometimes more expensive, cities.

The average rent for a local apartment hit a record high of $ 1,102 per month, or $ 1.30 per square foot, in the second quarter. Investors have taken over the complexes, with sales surging 50% from the previous quarter.

“These new San Antonio residents may have come looking to buy, but the scorching housing market has left them with little choice but to rent,” Davis noted in a report.

Job growth is also on the rise, and single-family rental communities are increasingly popular as tenants seek out garages, yards and other amenities.

The occupancy rate in the second quarter reached 93.7%, the second highest rate since 2000. The number of new units finished fell by 44% compared to the previous quarter, which contributed to the absorption of fuel of nearly 3,800 units.

“Overall, this was probably the most successful quarter on record in recent history,” Davis said in the report.

At the start of the pandemic, rents across much of the country flattened or fell as tenants lost their jobs, depleted their savings and moved in with relatives or friends.

The most extreme declines have occurred in dense and expensive cities such as New York and San Francisco. Residents were required to work remotely, and some of the benefits of city living wore off with the closure of restaurants, bars and other attractions, so some workers left town.

Landlords have come up with offers, such as a month or two of free rent, to attract tenants and keep apartments full.

But rent growth is now accelerating due to more jobs by employers, the availability of vaccines, workers returning to their offices, and landlords trying to recoup income lost last year.

Vacancy rates are low. Homeowners don’t have a hard time filling the apartments, so the sweeteners offered last spring and summer are gone, Warnock said.

An eviction ban has also helped keep struggling tenants in their homes during the pandemic. But soaring selling prices and rents are making it harder for residents to find affordable housing.

A sign of demand: San Antonio’s Habitat for Humanity, which builds homes for low-income families, has received 2,273 requests from buyers so far this year. At that time in 2020, the association had received 1,622.

Davis said apartments are rented out faster than they can be built. She expects rents to continue rising for the remainder of the year, especially the prices of luxury units.

Warnock expects rental growth to moderate over the next few months, although renters will still pay more than they were in 2020.

“Price growth is going to slow down, but that’s not going to offset much of the really rapid price growth we’ve seen throughout 2021,” he said. “Prices will again end the year much higher than they were last year.”

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