Harvey caused a flood of new apartment leases in Houston

Dallas-Fort Worth is an apartment mecca. With more than 30,000 rental units under construction, net apartment leasing in DFW totaled over 4,700 apartments in the fourth quarter.

But the strong demand for apartments in North Texas last year couldn’t compare with the flood of new leases in Houston.

Net apartment leasing totaled almost 14,000 units in Houston in the final months of 2017 as residents flooded out of their homes by Hurricane Harvey sought higher ground in rental units.

Bloomberg News

The storm surge of renting made Houston the top apartment market in the country in the fourth quarter, according to a new report by RealPage.

DFW was a distant second place, followed by Los Angeles with 3,333 net rentals and 2,659 in net leasing in Washington, D.C.

Houston apartment rentals in the fourth quarter accounted for almost a fourth of the entire nation’s leasing in the three-month period, RealPage said.

But don’t expect the frenetic pace of leasing to last, says RealPage top economist Greg Willett.

"The recent apartment demand volume in Houston clearly isn’t sustainable, since most households displaced from single-family homes due to flood damage will return to those homes once repairs are done," Willett said. "Still, near-term job growth is expected to be strong enough to spur moderate net demand, rather than net move-outs, in 2018.

"We’re forecasting the overall occupied apartment count will rise about 5,200 units in 2018."

Houston’s apartment development pipeline is meager compared to the DFW building boom.

Close to 30,000 more apartments are expected to open their doors in North Texas this year. In Houston, they anticipate about 7,800 apartment completions in 2018, Willett said.

Tribune Content Agency