The Rental Market vacancy rate jumped to 4.4% in December 2016

The rental market in Chittenden County is rapidly changing due to a surge of newly constructed apartment buildings. 

*According to Allen & Brooks Reports

During the past decade, the vacancy rate has hovered between 1-2%, far below the national average. The low vacancy rate and rising expenses such as property taxes, had led to a competitive market for renters, and allowed landlords to increase rents steadily each year.

With almost 700 newly constructed apartment units coming online in 2016, the rental market is showing more favorable signs for renters. A higher vacancy rate is giving renters more options in their apartment searches, while also prompting some landlords to offer more flexible terms or incentives to attract new tenants.

New rental buildings include Bartlett Brook, a 63-unit building in South Burlington, and the 67-unit Bayberry Commons in Burlington. Both buildings are offering one month of free rent for applicants who sign a lease by March 1, a sign of the type of incentives that are now available.

Our Rental Specialist is forecasting that rent increases will moderate in 2017. Rents may decline on some older apartments that lack the amenities offered by newer buildings. It’s likely the pressure on rents will continue throughout the year, given that another 323 apartment units are expected to come on the market in 2017, according to real estate consulting company Allen & Brooks.

Even though the vacancy rate has eased, our Rental Specialist continues to recommend an apartment search no more than 30 to 45 days before a move.

The following are some trends that are impacting the rental market:

A favorable vacancy rate for renters

The vacancy rate jumped to 4.4% in December 2016 from 3% a year earlier, Allen & Brooks found. In the previous decade, the rate rarely rose above 2%.

Wider range of choices

The construction surge means renters have more options than in previous years. The newly constructed buildings typically have higher rents, yet some renters prefer them because of their amenities, such as parking, gyms and swimming pools.

Minimal rent increases

The new rental inventory and higher vacancy rate will kick off a period of minimal to no rent increases, predicts Allen & Brooks. This comes after average rent increases of almost 3% per year since 2011. A welcomed relief as the rental prices in Chittenden County are high as compared to wage levels.

Because our rental expert has extensive contacts with landlords, Realtors and associations, Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty is well positioned to help clients find the most recent properties on the market.

Chittenden County’s Rental Market Insights

  • The county’s vacancy rate is 4.4%, easing from historically low rates of 1-2%
  • Rent increases may moderate in 2017 because of the higher vacancy rate