Greenwood Landlords Say Area Remains Haven for Renters

June 11, 2008

By Felicia Kitzmiller – Index-Journal

The housing market is a mess. That much is clear, but what it means for renters is significantly more gray.

Last week, The Associated Press reported rental prices nationwide were facing downward pressure as homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments decide to rent out their homes. This, of course, makes more rental units available and floods markets. The AP also reported vacancy rates at professionally managed properties were on the rise because of competition with private owners, and that apartment complexes were among the hardest hit.

However, only five weeks ago, USA Today reported exactly the opposite, saying rental prices are being forced up as people lose their homes to foreclosure and return to the rental market.

The sluggish economy and hemorrage of jobs is only speeding the process, according to USA Today. People are unsure about their future and decide renting is safer than buying. Those renters who would typically be looking to buy a home are also holding out in their rental a little longer, waiting to see if home prices get any lower, the paper reported.

Greenwood’s rental market is, so far, holding constant, according to area property managers. But just like the national market, signs for the future are pointing in all directions.

“We’re renting more units, but rent hasn’t gone down or up,” said Russell Lawrence, broker in charge at Greenwood Rental Agency.

Greenwood Rental Agency manages about 2,300 residential units and about 97 percent of those are currently occupied. Lawrence said this is slightly above the firm’s usual occupancy rate of 95 percent to 96 percent.



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