Apartment rents increase, along with apartment building values

The cost of renting an apartment hit record levels in the second quarter of 2012, according to a study by Reis, Inc., which tracks real estate data.

Rents increased in all 82 markets in the U.S. that the company tracks, and set new records in 74 of them, the company said.

And while national data on the value of apartment buildings can be hard to come by, it appears the value of these buildings (including multifamily homes) is spiking as well, at least in many markets. This is in contrast to the market for single-family homes in the last few years.

The highest average rent in the study was in New York City, at $2,935 a month. Average rents topped $1,000 a month in 27 markets, including Baltimore, Miami, San Diego and Seattle.

The lowest rents were in Wichita, Kansas, where they averaged just $510 a month.

The apartment vacancy rate plummeted to just 4.7% in the quarter, the lowest level in more than 10 years. The company says this is only the third time in the past 30 years that the vacancy rate has fallen below 5%.

Presumably, as the demand for rental units has spiked and vacancies have dropped, landlords have felt comfortable raising rental rates, and the value of apartment buildings as an investment has increased.