Apartment vacancies in Chattanooga are at 6.9 percent, up three percentage points from the summer, with one expert citing excess inventory as a cause.
“The vacancy rate is expected to spike this spring as new units come online but should improve by the end of the year as these units lease up,” Kelly Reddecliff, apartment analyst for Real Data Apartment Market Research, said in a statement.
There are 300 apartment units under construction in Hamilton County and 250 units were completed in the past year, Ms. Reddecliff said. Real Data estimates there are 10,487 apartment units in the county in 78 properties, two of which are under construction. The Charlotte, N.C.-based company said it polled all apartment communities in the county with 25 or more units.
The excess inventory should take two years to fill, according to the company.
One local apartment official provided a different rental outlook.
Chattanooga’s vacancy rate is 9.8 percent, said Theresa Biggs, president of the Chattanooga Apartment Association. The average rent was $679, she said.
The rental data may differ because of the sample dates and methodology. The apartment association polled its members at the end of December, while Real Data conducted its poll in January, officials said.
Nationally, the average rent in January 2008 was $1,103, with a vacancy rate of 5.3 percent, according to Realty DataTrust Corp., a national apartment surveyor.
Real Data tracks multifamily apartment markets in major Southeast metro markets. It tracks statistics on more than 800,000 multi-family units in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Georgia and Tennessee. Real Data sells its surveys to apartment managers, lenders, government housing agencies and others. The company last week released its first survey of the Chattanooga rental market.
Apartment rent is among the most affordable of Southeastern cities, according to a research firm.
City; Last survey release date; Vacancy rate; Average rent
Chattanooga; February 2008; 6.9 percent; $658
Asheville, N.C.; December 2007; 4.9 percent; $792
Charlotte, N.C.; September 2007; 6.8 percent; $734
Columbia, S.C.; November 2007; 10.7 percent; $695
Richmond, Va.; February 2008; 6.4 percent; $802
Roanoke, Va.; April 2007; 5.9 percent; $633
Savannah, Ga.; August 2007; 9.4 percent; $748
Tallahassee, Fla.; October 2007; 6.5 percent; $880
Source: Real Data Apartment Market Research, aptindex.com