Oil Bust: Houston's Housing Surplus is Driving Rents Down

With a multitude of new high-end apartment complexes coming online, Houston residents are reaping the rewards of lowered rents as landlords struggle to fill vacancies due to a slowing oil economy.
February 18, 2016, 6am PST | jwilliams | @jwillia22
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Sandra Fernandez

If there was ever a need for evidence that more housing units (even those at the high-end of the market) was good for renters, housing proponents can now point to Houston where a number of factors have combined to create a tenants market. Erin Mulvaney of the Houston Chronicle reports that the cooling oil economy in Houston has led to an oversupply of housing units, which in turn has left landlords sitting on empty units. The oversupply has created some unique opportunities for apartment hunters.

Austin Kroschel and Hayley Dippon feel like they are better off renting for now. They recently signed a lease for a new place before they tie the knot next month. The couple was pleased to see that rent for the complex on West Dallas Street dropped nearly $300 from when they were looking last spring.

During their search, they found leasing offices offering free months, waiving application fees and offering such incentives as free trash pickup. The couple came in under their projected budget with $1,350 a month for a one-bedroom apartment.

Developers are reacting to the changed market by scaling back on development, but at this stage they don’t foresee foreclosures on the horizon as happened during the Great Recession. Developers are holding out hope that higher end jobs in health care, hospitality and education will fill the gap left by the decline in employment in the oil industry.

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Published on Friday, January 29, 2016 in Houston Chronicle
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