Renters see some relief in housing costs

SAN ANTONIO — Rent isn’t any cheaper, but renters may have already seen peak prices.

“I don’t think we’re really back to pre-pandemic levels,” said researcher Jon Leckie. “I think we are back to the normal growth levels we saw before the pandemic. We’re back to normal growth trends, but this is on top of the extreme growth we’ve seen before. I think it is unlikely that we will go back to pre-pandemic prices.”

Rent has grown an average of about 18% over the past two years according to Now, the rent only goes up about 2%.

“They’re not (the rental renewal rates) crazy like they were before,” said Lisa Pegues, manager of Perch Locating, formally known as Apartments Now, a free apartment search service. “Where they were getting $200, $300 renewal rates, I think everything is starting to stabilize. If they’re setting up with the renewal fee, the renewal fee is $50 to $100.”

Finding a rental can still be tricky. San Antonio has a 90% occupancy rate, but newer rentals are becoming available faster.

“There are over 7,000 units this year that are expected to be leased,” Pegues said.

Those looking to rent may see a price increase somewhat soon.

“We’re going into the summer,” Pegues said. “It’s the busiest time for anyone on the move. So prices will go up.”

A one bedroom apartment in San Antonio will cost you an average of $1,290. Houston is about the same at $1,285. You’ll pay $1,475 in Dallas and $1,544 in Austin. Nationwide, the average is $1,688. Affordability is one of the main reasons people move to San Antonio.

“Some people think it’s a lot cheaper and people from Austin will live here because it’s a lot cheaper than Austin,” Pegues said. “It’s easy to move from them to go back and forth.”

There are ways to save.

Negotiate your lease renewal rate at your current rental.

“The tenants have a little more clout now than they used to,” Leckie said. “Landlords will be much more willing to work with a tenant they know has been a good tenant than to take chances with a new tenant.”

Look for moving specials if you need a new apartment. However, decide quickly why apartments are filling up before they’re ready for renters.

If you know you need to move within the next 75 days, start looking now because everything is starting to pre-let,” Pegues said. “We are renting in July and August. We are pre-letting the buildings as soon as they are released to the property .

Or wait until winter to move in if you can. Prices will probably come down a bit then.

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