Apartment rental rates up post Harvey, analysts say

HOUSTON-- As Houston's housing market braces itself for the fluctuating changes post Harvey, across the city, increased demand is driving apartment rental rates up.

"The first change you saw was that all the apartment specials went away right after the storm. Supply and demand just kind of jacked the prices up," Paul Murany, manager at Apartment Living Locators said.

The change isn't a new phenomenon.

Analysts at Apartment Data Services estimate about 16,000 rental units in the greater Houston area were damaged from Harvey-- just 2.5% of the total supply. That's roughly the same percentage after Allison in 2001.

"We had about 11,000 units absorbed or rented as a result of Harvey in September. That's quite a lot. We expect maybe 12,000 more units get rented or absorbed in a year's time so we've got almost a year's worth of absorption and new rentals just in the month of September," Bruce McClenny, President of Apartment Data Services said.

McClenny said over the last two months, the average rent has gone up roughly $40 for Class A apartments and roughly $16 for Class B units.

But experts said the bigger issue could come when the rates for these short-term rental units start leveling out again.

"The single-family market is going to change more than anything. We're going to have to deal with rebuilding homes back with higher elevations and all those kinds of things and that's going to be the big issue with these kinds of things as we move forward, because Houston is definitely going to have more storms unfortunately," McClenny said.