Fort Worth apartment occupancy remains above 95% in May

The Fort Worth-Arlington area reached 95.5 percent apartment occupancy in May, marking the third consecutive month in which the Dallas-Fort Worth apartment market remained “full,” as defined by Axiometrics, a Dallas-based apartment market research and analysis firm.

Also achieving the same occupancy in May was the Dallas-Plano-Irving area, according to newly released numbers from the research firm.

“We define the market as stable at 90 percent occupancy and full at 95 percent. A full market is one that can absorb new supply without too much trouble,” said Stephanie McCleskey, Axiometrics’ vice president of research, commenting in a news release.

The Fort Worth area’s occupancy rate was 10 basis points higher than April’s 95.4 percent rate and 50 basis points higher than the 95 percent figure in May 2014. A basis point is a unit equal to one hundredth of a percentage point.

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Meanwhile, the Dallas area’s occupancy rate was 40 basis points higher than the 95.1 percent reported in April and 60 basis points higher than May 2014’s 94.9 percent.

Numbers proved different for the effective rent growth. While Dallas saw its annual effective rent growth rate reach 6.3 percent, a 37-basis-point increase from April’s 5.9 percent, Fort Worth’s 5.9 percent effective rent growth rate represented a 28-basis-point decrease from April’s 6.1 percent.

The effective rent growth rate in both Fort Worth-Arlington and Dallas-Plano-Irving markets was higher than in May 2014, when Dallas reported a 3.4 percent rent-growth rate and Fort Worth a 4.1 percent rate.

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Year-to-date rent growth for 2015 was -0.5 percent in Fort Worth, where renters paid an average of $925 per unit, and 0.9 percent in Dallas, where renters paid an average of $1,038 for their units.

The higher rental growth came as a surprise to McCleskey, she said, especially considering the number of new units delivered to the market. Because of the new supply and seasonal fluctuations, absorption rates dropped in both geographic areas compared to summer 2014. But rates in both markets are beginning to gain momentum as the summer leasing season begins, according to Axiometrics.

“We keep going back to the fundamentals of job and population growth, both of which are very strong in DFW” McCleskey said. “Because of that, and because we’re heading into the busy months of summer, we should likely see a stronger rent growth and absorption in the DFW area.”