Sunday, November 01, 2009

More on Falling Rents

by Calculated Risk on 11/01/2009 07:08:00 PM

The WSJ has an article on landlords cutting effective rents: Landlords Offer Incentives to Stay Put

... Equity Residential said new tenants in the third quarter paid 9% to 10% less rent than the previous residents. ... Denver-based UDR is offering renewing tenants a flat-screen TV, new carpet, kitchen upgrade or, $300 in cash. ... Some landlords have also become more open-minded about tenants with credit issues involving home foreclosures.
Rents are falling because vacancies are at record levels. Reis recently reported that the apartment vacancy rate in cities hit a 23 year high of 7.8 percent in the third quarter, and Reis expects the vacancy rate to reach a record 8 percent soon.

Rental Vacancy Rate Click on graph for larger image in new window.

Last week the Census Bureau reported the overall rental vacancy rate hit a record 11.1 percent in Q3 2009.

The higher vacancy rate is pushing down rents and the value of rental units. This is good news for renters, but this will also lead to more apartment defaults, higher default rates for apartment CMBS, and more losses for small and regional banks.

And falling rents are already pushing down owners' equivalent rent (OER). OER just turned negative for the first time 1992. From the BLS:
The increase [in CPI] occurred despite declines in the indexes for rent and owners' equivalent rent, the first decreases in those indexes since 1992.
Since OER is the largest component of CPI, this will apply downward pressure on CPI for some time. And lower rents will also put pressure on house prices, since renting is a competing product.

Note: REIT BRE reports tomorrow and their CEO always some interesting comments.
"I think it is shaping up there is another leg down in terms of market rents and effective rents and that will be somewhere late this year or early [next] year where I think all the operators will move their rents down to basically handle the late stage of this recession."
BRE CEO, Aug 5, 2009