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By Megan Cardona

February 18, 2022 5:00 AMFORT WORTH

Fort Worth’s booming population is driving up rental costs in parts of the city to levels comparable with neighborhoods in Dallas.

Blame the population surge that is outpacing the ability of developers to build new homes and apartments.

Since January 2020, average apartment rent has soared nearly 20% to near $1,400 per month, according to the market research firm ApartmentData.com.

Among the newest complexes with the most amenities, rents averaged $1,744 as of December. Need two bedrooms? You’re looking at over $2,000 a month for a newer apartment.

“The demand for rental property is just off the charts,” said Tony Sims, property manager with Kimball Real Estate. “You can barely keep a property vacant. As soon as you put a sign in the yard, you’re getting calls about it.”

Navigating the rental market in Dallas-Fort Worth can be just as tricky as trying to buy a house in this intensely competitive time for real estate.

Sims said he started to see an increase in demand for housing in Tarrant County in 2017. He estimates that since then, demand has grown by 30% to 40%. Sims has over 20 years of property management experience and oversees 75 rental units.

Where is rent most expensive in Fort Worth?

Within the city, you’re likely to pay the most in the downtown and TCU areas, according to ApartmentData.com.

The average rent in January in these neighborhoods was $1,517, with 89% of units occupied.

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Mag & May is one of the growing number of luxury apartment complexes in the Near Southside neighborhood of Fort Worth. Average rent in the city’s newest complexes with the most amenities was $1,744 as of December. Amanda McCoy amccoy@star-telegram.com

Among other sections of the city and surrounding communities, here are the number of apartment complexes and average rents as of last month:

  • South Fort Worth: 76 complexes, $1,067;
  • Southwest Fort Worth/Benbrook: 49 complexes, $1,248;
  • Far Southwest Fort Worth: 31 complexes, $1,127;
  • West Fort Worth (Western Hills, Ridgmark, Ridglea): 83 complexes, $1,024;
  • East Fort Worth (Woodhaven, I-30E): 68 complexes, $982;
  • Arlington-north: 99 complexes, $1,212;
  • Arlington-south: 141 complexes, $1,214;
  • Northeast (Haltom City, Richland Hills, Fossil Creek): 76 complexes, $1,305;
  • Northeast (Hurst, Euless, Bedford): 138 complexes, $1,286;
  • Northeast (Grapevine, Roanoke, Keller): 91 complexes, $1,572;
  • Northwest Fort Worth (Saginaw, Eagle Mountain): 37 complexes, $1,117.

To get the most bang for your rental buck, you may want to look outside of downtown/TCU neighborhoods. That’s because you’ll pay the most rent per square foot in these sections of central Fort Worth, an average of $1.74 per square foot per month.

But if you don’t mind paying a premium, the downtown and surrounding neighborhoods — including some that are being rejuvenated from their industrial past— offer plenty of nightlife, restaurants, views of the skyline and proximity to the Trinity River. Central Fort Worth puts you close to the entertainment on West 7th Street, the Cowtown culture of the Stockyards and an easy walk or ride share to downtown’s Sundance district.

You’re money goes farther in northwest, west or south Fort Worth, where the average rent per square foot per month is about $1.18 or $1.19. There are fewer apartment complexes in some of these areas.

Around Arlington, to the east of Fort Worth and central to the megaplex, you can expect to pay around $1.42-$1.48 per square foot per month. There are at least 240 apartment complexes here, but in January they were about 94% occupied on average.

The priciest rental rates outside Fort Worth are to the northeast in Grapevine/Roanoke/Keller, where rent averages $1.67 per square foot. Not far from there, you’ll expect to pay $1.51 per square foot per month in Hurst/Euless/Bedford.

Where are the newest apartment complexes in the Fort Worth region?

The Fort Worth region has seen several new, high-end apartment complexes open within the past year, according to ApartmentData.com. There are more still under construction, and at least 15 proposed complexes throughout the city that would offer both affordable and senior housing. Here are some that began leasing in the past year.

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The Encore Panther Island apartments were just completed along Main Street on the 800-acre Panther Island in Fort Worth. Yffy Yossifor yyossifor@star-telegram.com

Central Fort Worth

  • Broadway Chapter, 401 Hemphill St.
  • Burnett Lofts, 1012 Burnett St.
  • Encore Panther Island, 447 N. Main St.
  • Overture River District, 4851 Scott Road

Arlington

  • Jefferson North Collins, 735 Washington Drive
  • The Truman at Arlington Commons, 505 E. Lamar Blvd.

South of Arlington

  • The Atwell, 2100 E. Broad St., Mansfield

Northeast

  • Cavalli at Iron Horse Station, 6490 Iron Horse Blvd., North Richland Hills
  • Sovereign Hometown, 6021 Parker Blvd., North Richland Hills
  • Album Keller Ranch, 5640 Keller Ranch Road, Fort Worth
  • Artisan Village, 8032 Monterra Blvd., Fort Worth
  • Avilla Fossil Creek, 1000 Harmon Road, Fort Worth
  • Elan Keller Ranch, 5701 Bovine Drive, Keller
  • Magnolia on Oak Street, 601 N. Oak St., Roanoke

Northwest

  • Landing at 2EightySeven, 11401 Harp Lane, Fort Worth

South

  • Columbia at Renaissance Square, 2801 Moresby St., Fort Worth
  • The McCoy, 9100 Summit Ridge Road
  • Stallion Ridge, 9000 Balch St., Everman
  • The Waverly, 1700 Fairfield Parkway, Burleson

Southwest

  • The Elm at River Park, 2500 River Park Drive, Fort Worth

Far Southwest

  • The Gates at Meadows Place, 451 Meadow Place Drive, Willow Park
  • Lake Villas, 1000 Quiet Cove Road, Granbury
  • The Mark at Weatherford, 172 College Park Drive, Weatherford
  • Remington Ridge, 360 Kirkpatrick Drive, Weatherford

West

  • Album Benbrook, 8601 Cook Ranch Road, Benbrook

Where in Tarrant County is demand highest for single-family homes?

Areas to the northwest, west and southwest, including the Burleson area, have had the highest demand for single-family rentals, Sims said, with growing interest in the northeast region. For families who work in Denton or Dallas, there’s a desire to move closer to the edges of Tarrant County.

“I think a lot of it has to do with location and, if they have kids, a lot of it has to do with the school systems and how they’re scored,” he said.

Has COVID-19 impacted rental housing in Tarrant County?

After people were laid off from their jobs because of the pandemic, it created a need for rental assistance and an eviction moratorium. Sims said he started seeing more renters experience difficulty in paying their rent in late summer of 2020.

Sims, who is a member of National Association of Property Managers, said all the property managers in the county he knew were trying to jump through hoops to help people stay housed while at the same time trying to ensure the property owners received their money to pay mortgages on the homes.

Two years later, Sims said the issues he saw at the beginning of the pandemic have eased up tremendously. Out of the 75 tenants he oversees, about 20% are receiving rental assistance, which is offered from a state and local level as well as from nonprofit groups.

Will rent prices continue to rise in Tarrant County?

The cost of rent is dependent on the economy; as long as taxes and insurance costs go up, the cost of rent will also rise because property owners can’t absorb those extra costs.

Sims said eventually rent costs will hit a plateau, but for the next couple of years he expects it to continue to rise because demand exceeds supply.

“As long as inflation doesn’t get completely out of hand, I think you’re going to continue to see the cost of housing increase marginally,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to radically increase. I think you’re going to see probably a 10% increase every year.”

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Megan Cardona is a service journalism reporter at the Star-Telegram covering policy, government programs, community resources and more to help residents navigate everyday life in Tarrant County and North Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2020, where she worked at the campus paper, The Shorthorn, for two years.

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