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Rents had been steadily climbing until the pandemic hit Houston in March.

Then, rates started dropping. According to ApartmentData.com, rents in Greater Houston have declined by 1.7% since the end of March.

But that’s not true for most suburbs, where rent growth has been flat.

Many areas, including Sugar Land, Richmond and Pasadena, are actually seeing positive growth. That’s in part because renters have less of a reason to be in the urban area, said Bruce McClenny, president of the Houston-based data firm.

“They can work from home now, so they can move out and be in a different area and still work and not have to commute,” he said.

Add to that the closure of many bars and places of entertainment in the urban core, he said, which may have attracted people to live there before the pandemic.

Average monthly rent at downtown apartments, for instance, has fallen by more than 14% in the past six months.

Another factor is new apartment construction.

“Construction in the Inner Loop, it’s just a double whammy,” McClenny said. “You’ve got a lot of construction, very little absorption.”

Some suburbs, such as the Katy area, have also seen a lot of apartment construction, but it generally hasn’t caused rents to go down this year.

Publication: Houston Public Media

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