According to a report by ApartmentList.com, apartment costs in Houston rose only 0.4% in February compared to January, with median rents stand at $1,002 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,192 for a two-bedroom.
Compared to a year ago, rent in Houston rose 11%, which is lower than the rest of the state of Texas, which saw a 15.9% increase. Other parts of the country have seen a 20% rise in prices due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But rent has also rose in other parts of the Houston area, with Sugar Land rent rising 17.7% from last year, and Pearland up 16% with the highest rent in the area at $1,812 for a median price for a two-bedroom apartment.
The cheapest apartments in the area are in Pasadena, where a two-bedroom place has an average of $1,171, which is up 6.7% from last year.
Despite the rising rent prices, Houston remains one of the cheaper big cities to find an apartment. Rent here has rose slower compared to other major Texas cities like Austin (up 24.3%), Dallas (16.7%) and San Antonio (15.4%).
Other major cities have seen higher costs in rent, with New York City seeing costs go up 33.5%, and rent in Phoenix now up 27.9%.
Houston’s median two-bedroom rent is below the national average, which is at $1,285. The highest median rent is in San Francisco at $2,681.
Meanwhile, the rent assistance program in Houston and Harris County is continuing but are in a race against time to spend all of its funding or return it back to the U.S. Treasury. Of the $283 million allocated to the program, nearly $275 million has already been distributed, helping almost 70,000 families in the area.
The Treasury Department announced last month that it would be reclaiming rental relief dollars from regions that had not spent their funds and reallocating those funds to regions with faster programs. The Houston-Harris County program was promised $13 million of the reallocated funds but has not received the money yet.
Once the funds are received, it is expected that Houston City Council and Harris County Commissioners Court will vote on a proposal to put those dollars towards the eviction intervention initiative.