According to the Dallas Morning News, based on data from MPF Research, North Texas has the fastest growing apartment market in the country with roughly 39,000 units under construction at the end of 2015. That’s enough units to house populations in whole towns or small cities.
Despite the delivery of more than 15,000 new units to the Dallas market in 2015, occupancy rates are roughly 95% and unemployment sits at 3.8%. The average monthly rent in Dallas has increased 13.7% over the last two years from $892 to $1,014 with an additional 4% increase forecast during 2016 which would result in an average rent of $1,055. The rate of rental increase will slow down, but rents will remain relatively high in the foreseeable future.
Low and moderate income households are also experiencing these rates of rental increase and their paychecks cannot keep pace. A worker earning $15.00/hour or $31,000 annually in 2013 and paying an affordable rent of $800 will need to earn $38,000 this year to afford the same apartment at a 2016 rent of $946. That worker needs to have achieved a 22.5% increase in wages or salary since 2013 just to keep pace with increases in his/her rent. Lower fuel costs have helped some workers manage their increasing housing costs, but this is not a solution. Dallas needs more affordable housing production…now.