Few Vacant Units to be Found in Central Iowa

New report shows region’s low vacancies, rising rents

Few Vacant Units to be Found in Central Iowa

For the fifth consecutive year, rents are on the rise in Greater Des Moines. The 2015 installment of CBRE Hubbell’s Apartment Survey shows that affordable apartments in Central Iowa are increasingly hard to come by. Our region’s vacancy rate of 4.1% is the lowest rate in 20 years, pushing rents up to historic highs. The average monthly rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in Greater Des Moines is now $796, up from $781 a year ago. For the first time, one-bedroom units are now averaging over $700/month, at $713.

Des Moines’ rental market is following national trends. Nationally, millennials and Baby Boomers alike are increasingly interested in rental units. For millennials, this is partially due to a difficult job market, making the flexibility of renting more appealing. For both groups, an interest in walkable, urban places is driving demand for apartments. Combined with the needs of a growing population, it seems that developers cannot build apartments fast enough to meet demand.

In 2015, over 3,000 units are planned for construction, including 290 Low Income Housing Tax Credit units. This increase in supply should help to ease the dramatic rise in rents, but 2,137 new units built in 2014 were not enough to stop this trend. As in 2014, rent for efficiency apartments rose the fastest, at 5.7%. More efficiency units will need to be constructed to keep efficiency rents stable, and few are expected to be built. For low-income single individuals who desire these units, this is a worrisome trend that may have a drastic impact on their monthly budgets.

PCHTF thanks CBRE Hubbell for providing this information to our community. These annual surveys provide us with vital information in our work to make housing affordable for all Polk County residents. Click here to read the full 2015 CBRE Hubbell Apartment Survey.