Category Archives: Housing Costs

Rental Market Conditions by Metro

Rental housing is among the top items on the national housing agenda. The past 30 years have witnessed a housing policy that has been focused on promoting homeownership. The large gap between the number of renting households and the units that they can afford will grow as home ownership becomes increasingly scarce for all but the most qualified buyers and renter/owner preferences change. Rental housing is an important component of national and local housing policies.

This section builds on Census Bureau data and provides resources to examine characteristics of the rental housing market for individual states and metropolitan areas.  See related Web section with interactive table. The interactive table provides a selection of rental housing market attributes for each state and metro.

Rental Vacancy Rate by MSA 2012
This view shows the rental vacancy rate (RVR) in 2012 by MSA. Orange/red metros have higher RVRs, yellow metros are closer to the national RVR and green/blue metros have lower RVRs. Click graphic for larger view with details.

This view shows 521 metros (MSAs and MISAs) — all 2010 vintage metros for which ACS 2012 1 year estimates were tabulated. See southeastern U.S. zoom-in view (shows mini-profile for Atlanta metro attributes). These views were developed using the CV XE GIS and metro GIS project. Members of the User Group may install the CV XE GIS and metro project and create related, augmented map views and perform related analyses. There is no fee.

The rental vacancy rate is the percent of rental units that are unoccupied/available for rent. The rental vacancy rate is a factor in determining supply and demand in the rental market and is a component of the index of leading economic indicators.

A high rental vacancy rate coupled with a low share of homes that are renter occupied generally implies more housing choices available for renting households. The share of burdened households can be lower in such markets. Conversely, a low rental vacancy rate in a market with a high percentage of renter households can signify a tighter rental market, fewer housing choices, and more affordability problems, particularly for low-income households. In these markets, the shares of burdened renters are often higher.

Rental Housing Market Measures and Metro Characteristics
Housing Costs … in 2012, median gross rent in the metro areas (metropolitan statistical areas) in the United States ranged from $522 in the Wheeling WV-OH Metro Area and the Wheeling, WV-OH Metro Area to $1,560 in the San Jose-Sunnyvale- Santa Clara, CA Metro Area compared with the national median of $884. Among the 366 metro areas, 280 (76.5 percent) had a median gross rent below the national median, 86 (23.5 percent) had a median gross rent above the national median. A comparison of all metro areas to the national median masks the tighter rental conditions faced by renters living in higher density metro areas.

Renter Burden … nationwide, nearly 2 in 5 renter households (43.1 percent) were burdened by housing costs consuming 35 percent or more of their incomes. Housing cost burdens ranged from a low of 25.7 percent of renting households in the Jefferson City, MO Metro Area to a high of 57.9 percent of renting households in the Corvallis, OR Metro Area. Many of the metros (metropolitan statistical areas) with the higher cost burden is due to a relatively large student population. Renters living in 166 of the 366 metro areas (45.4 percent) were above the national rate.

Rental Vacancy Rate … nationwide, the rental vacancy rate was 6.8 percent. The rates in the nation’s metro areas (metropolitan statistical areas) ranged from 0.3 percent in the Odessa, TX Metro Area to 38.1 percent in the Myrtle Beach-North Myrtle Beach- Conway, SC Metro Area. Excess rental inventory was almost equally likely to plague metro areas than the national rental housing market as a whole, with 180 (49.2 percent) of all metro areas having a rental vacancy rate below the national rental vacancy rate and 186 (50.8 percent) having vacancy rates at or above the national rate.

Rental Market Conditions by State & Metro Interactive Table
Use the interactive table to view, rank, query, compare rental market conditions by state and metro.

ProximityOne User Group
Join the ProximityOne User Group to keep up-to-date with new developments relating to metros and component geography decision-making information resources. Receive updates and access to tools and resources available only to members. Use this form to join the User Group. There is no fee.

Support Using these Resources
Learn more about metros, metro geographic drill-down, housing market demographic economic data and related analytical tools. Join us in a Decision-Making Information Web session. There is no fee for these one-hour Web sessions. Each informal session is focused on a specific topic. The open structure also provides for Q&A and discussion of application issues of interest to participants.

Metro Housing Price Index: 2013Q3

Goto ProximityOne  Examining housing value appreciation … the Housing Price Index (HPI) provides a measure to examine/analyze housing price levels and variations among metros and states.  The HPI, calculated using home sales price information from Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-acquired mortgages, continued upward momentum in U.S.  Housing prices remained strong in the third quarter 2013, as prices rose 2.0 percent from the previous quarter. This is the ninth consecutive quarterly price increase in the purchase-only, seasonally adjusted index.  It marks the first time since 2009 that the national house price level is higher than it was five years ago.  This section reviews use of HPI data and analytical tools to examine housing price patterns and trends among metros and states.

HPI Percent Change 2012Q3-2013Q3 by Metro
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The HPI alone provides only partial insights — based on this one measure. Evaluation of housing markets, and the regional economy, trends and patterns need to use the HPI in combination with many other measures. Situation & Outlook reports integrate HPI data with other demographic-economic measures.

Interactive Trend Analysis: Metros & States
Use this interactive table to examine the HPI quarter to quarter over the past year by state and metro. The ranking table provides an easy way to rank/compare housing prices for a single metro area or a group of metros.  The graphic presented below shows the top-ranked metros based on HPI percent change from 2012Q3 to 2013Q3.  Optionally rank on any of the quarter-to-quarter changes.  Note that seven of the top ten metros (rate of appreciation over past year) are in California. Using the  interactive table, scroll down using the right scroll bar to view how other metros rank.  Or, double-click the rightmost column to rank in descending order to view metros experiencing the highest rates of decline.

HPI by Quarter; Annual/Quarter-to-Quarter Appreciation Percent Change
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The above graphic illustrates selecting all metros.  Using tools below the interactive table, alternatively select all metros in only one state, all states and no metros or other combinations.

Thematic Pattern Maps
ProximityOne User Group members (join now, no fee) may download the all U.S. metro shapefile with all items shown in the interactive table integrated into the shapefile, ready to use.  Create thematic maps using HPI items with pattern settings of interest.  The map view presented above was developed using this shapefile with integrated HPI data.

Alternative Methods of Estimating Housing Value Appreciation
The HPI is one indicator of measuring home value appreciation at the metro or state level.  See the FHFA home value calculator that illustrates how the HPI can be used to compute estimated value now or at a different point in time.  This tool illustrates the concept but is fraught with problems of real usability.  Using differently sourced data, ProximityOne computes housing value appreciation indexes at the ZIP Code area, census tract and higher level geography.

Watching HPI Patterns
This post will be updated in late February 2014, with release of the 2013 fourth quarter HPI.