Houston’s rental market gets ruthless after Harvey

HOUSTON — After Harvey got through with us,  finding an affordable place to rent in Houston is getting down-right difficult!

“All the apartments have bumped up their pricing, at least a 10% increase,” Victor Zhou with ULR Refined Real Estate said.

Remember just last year when luxury apartments were bending over backwards to fill space? Offers of flat screen TVs, Apple watches or two months free rent have evaporated quicker than standing water.

“The apartments have pulled back on specials because they know everybody affected by the hurricane needs a place to live, because of what happened to their homes,” Zhou said.

And when it comes to short-term leases, three months to six months, the price is going up for those, too.

“Some of the properties, you'll see about a $400 - $500 rent increase, based on their market rent,” Zhou explained.

You're also going to see the prices of homes not affected by flooding go up.

Those displaced by Harvey who aren't willing to venture outside of town and commute, or have kids they want to keep in the same school have a few options.

Local apartment locators and real estate agents will know about availability before anyone else, and timing is crucial.

HAR.com also has a tool to directly connect those Harvey displaced with folks with rental properties.

“Some of the homes may be available at a reduced rental rate, or free, depending on the owner,” says HAR.com Chairman Cindy Hamann.

Also check with your FEMA caseworker. Residents in some designated areas may be eligible for two-months rental assistance.

Remember, this isn't a sprint. It's a marathon. But finding the bare necessities, like a roof over your head... that's goal No. 1.