Fort Worth, which very rarely makes the list of the country’s stronger apartment rent growth performers, is logging impressive numbers right now. Annual price increases for new leases reached 3.9% as of 3Q, topping the national norm of 3.2%.
The key story in Cowtown’s strong momentum lies in middle-market product, particularly the metro’s very large base of 1980s-era units. These communities posted rent growth averaging 5.0% during the past year. In the submarkets where this 1980s-vintage product niche is especially large, rents went up 6.9% in Southwest Fort Worth, 5.3% in Arlington, 4.1% in East Fort Worth, and 4.0% in Hurst/Euless/Bedford.
Healthy employment growth at all wage levels has generated enough apartment demand for the middle-market product sector to reach essentially full occupancy. And the residents of these developments generally don’t make enough to afford home purchase or to lease upper-tier apartment product. For comparison, the metro’s monthly rents of $675 in the 1980s-generation product segment are about $300 under the rates for projects built in the 1990s and almost $400 under the norm for developments built since 2000.
Stellar rent growth in middle-market properties, especially in those located in key suburbs, actually is a pattern seen in almost all of the country’s metros where the individual economies are performing well across many industry categories. The stats stand out a bit more in Fort Worth than in some other metros simply because middle-market product forms a larger share of total inventory in Fort Worth than in lots of other spots.