Is the Recession Good for Rental Property?

Construction of new apartment buildings propelled a housing permits surge in the month of August, according to the US Commerce department.  This will be the largest increase (10.5%) in new construction since April and it brings up many questions for property owners, current landlords, potential tenants, and those of us here at MyNewPlace.com.

Seasonally Adjusted in Thousands

Seasonally Adjusted in Thousands*

While the recession has negatively affected nearly every industry and individual across the board, commercial and residential construction seem to be among those hurt the most. I don’t know about the rest of you, but my boyfriend and I have elected to stay in a cramped apartment for an additional year while we save money and pay down some loans – a decision largely prompted by fear of a double-dip recession. By this time next year maybe I’ll be thinking about two bedrooms, a dishwasher, or, please-please-PLEASE a washer and dryer in-unit, but at this point it feels safer to stockpile savings. Each having our own closet will just have to wait! Apartment or no, I am sure many of you are facing similar decisions. How many 2007 housing-upgrade dreams turned into 2009 food bills?

So here is my question: has the recent economic downturn driven a large scale of people into the rental housing market? Are property owners seeing a surge in lease applications? Or are tenants, like my boyfriend and I, staying put in their current situations instead of facing the financial and emotional toll of moving? I have my story, but I am very interested to hear those of others. I can quote statistics until they come out my (and your) ears but let’s hear from real estate owners, contractors, tenants and property managers to try and get a real picture of what’s going on.

*graph courtesy of npr.com

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