Rental housing market weathering storm; more tenants former homeowners

According to a survey just released by Transunion, Landlord’s and Property managers appear to be making it through the Great Recession and are seeing improvement in the market from their perspective. In fact, seven out of 10 property managers said their rental properties have no vacancies, an increase of almost 17 percent from a year ago. Only 39 percent of respondents said they’re having difficulty finding residents in today’s economic climate. Additionally, more than 3 out of 4 respondents (76 percent) said rental prices have either remained the same or increased since last year.

“There has been a positive change in the rental market in the last year as rental prices appear to have stabilized and property managers are locating more reliable tenants,” said Mike Mauseth, vice president of TransUnion’s rental screening business unit. “Despite the positive signs we observed in the survey, unemployment rates remain high and many prospective tenants continue to struggle in this difficult economy.

With the continued elevated credit risk for American consumers, it’s not surprising that two-thirds of survey respondents (67 percent) said they were concerned about attracting profitable and reliable tenants for the remainder of the calendar year. However, it should be noted that in the 2009 survey, 76 percent of respondents with fewer than 50 rental units were concerned about the same issue.

Another interesting finding from the survey was that 86 percent of respondents said they conduct credit checks on all of their residents, but only 72 percent conduct criminal background checks. Approximately half of property managers (46 percent) have had renters skip out of their lease, with 19 percent having this occur in the last year alone. Interestingly, only 46 percent of property managers attempted to pursue the skipped tenants.

The survey found that 39 percent of respondents said they are seeing an increase from last year in applicants moving to rental units from foreclosed properties.


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