LITTLE ROCK, Ark – Despite rent increases becoming more common, Little Rock ranks well for rental.
Personal finance website WalletHub recently ranked Little Rock the 74th best city to rent in the United States. The only other Arkansas location in the 182-city survey, Fort Smith, was ranked 86th.
The ranking is based upon a variety of factors, including quality of life and rental market and affordability. Little Rock came in with a score of 44.99.
Quality of life in the survey factors such things as weather, public school system and safety, including a triple-weight score to percent or residents fully vaccinated. Rent market and affordability was based upon a similar range of factors, including rent affordability, historical price changes and cost of living for the region.
Columbia, Maryland, topped the overall ranking, coming in at 5th on the quality of life list and 11th in rental market. Detroit is ranked a at the bottom of the list, with a 178th ranking for quality of life and 160th ranking for its rental market.
A deeper dive into the survey results showed Little Rock had the highest rental vacancy rate in the country. Warwick, Rhode Island tied with Santa Anna, California for the lowest vacancy rates.
Arkansas appeared again in the survey, with Fort Smith ranking 5th for the cities with the lowest cost of living, behind Brownsville, Texas. Unsurprisingly, New York came in with the highest cost of living in the survey.
YardiMatrix, which supplied some of the data used in the WalletHub survey, reports rental rates around the county have climbed significantly since January 2021. The company said the average rent then was in the $1,400 range but has since climbed to the $1,650 -plus range by May of 2022, with a $19 jump that month alone.
Florida had the highest jump, with a 24% increase in Miami rents, followed closely by Orlando with a 23% jump.
Experts attribute the increase mainly, to the Federal Reserve raising interest rates, with Treasury Bonds topping 3% lately, their highest rate since 2018.
“The Fed is expected to continue the hikes throughout the year, so rates are likely to move higher,” YardiMatrix reports. “The sudden spike in rates has left many in the multifamily industry wondering about the impact on deal flow and property values, which surged in 2021 to all-time highs amid extraordinary liquidity. Few industries are as sensitive to interest rates as commercial real estate, which is financed with copious amounts of debt.”
The National Multifamily Housing Council shows Arkansas having 7% of its residents in apartments, nearly 206,000 Arkansans state-wide.