Rental Prices Steady Despite Higher Demand: TransUnion

The average rent nationwide declined from $831 to $820 between the fourth quarters of 2010 and 2011, though the average deposit increased from $269 to $284, according to TransUnion’s analysis of its rental screening database.
The relatively flat year-over-year average rental price is somewhat surprising considering that vacancy rates are at their lowest level in 10 years.
TransUnion, one of the three major credit bureaus, also found that property managers have tightened their acceptance criteria – such as requiring a higher deposit – for potential applications that are accepted without any conditions.
TransUnion reviewed more than 200,000 rental applications in its analysis.
“We’ve seen greater demand for apartments over the past year, but it hasn’t exactly translated into significantly higher monthly rental payments for consumers,” said Steve Roe, vice president of sales for TransUnion’s rental screening business unit.
Roe said the stable rents are a result of a sluggish economic recovery with unemployment remaining high – although an encouraging jobs report for January may shift average rents slightly higher this year.
“It’s important to note, though, that there have been regional differences with average rental payments in some markets increasing more than 10 percent in the last year,” Roe said.
TransUnion found variances in the national data. For example, between the fourth quarter of  2010 and the fourth quarter of 2011, average rent in Denver increased 10.2 percent from $777 to $857. Average deposits in that same time-frame have moved up from $340 to $383.
The company released the rental price analysis during its 2012 TransUnion Property Management Summit held in downtown Denver.

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