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Survey: Area rents continue slide

By Ken Hedler
Nov. 30, 2017 at 11:09 p.m.

Rents in the Longview area ticked down in November from the previous month and are down 3.1 percent year over year, according to a monthly survey.

At $920, the median rent for a two-bedroom unit in Longview is below the national average of $1,160, according to a report out today from San Francisco-based Apartment List.

Over the past year, rents have increased 2.4 percent statewide and 2.7 percent nationally.

The 0.7 percent monthly rent decline in Longview seems to be an "aberration," said Jim Tucker, owner of the Fairways Apartments on McCann Road, which has 152 units. "That really doesn't happen unless we are in a recession or depression," he said.

The survey might be responding to fewer people looking for apartments, Tucker said.

The downward trend came as no surprise to Karen Holt, housing navigator with the East Texas Aging and Disability Resource Center in Longview. In a statement, she cited "aggressive, high-end conventional property development" in recent years.

"Based on numerous data sources, the supply for conventional or high-end properties is far greater than the demand at this time while the supply of affordable housing is lower and demand much higher," she said. "This effect causes rental rate drops on older, conventional properties trying to keep up their occupancy levels to maintain a level of financial security and compete with the newer properties that have been built in the past few years."

The opposite trend is being seen elsewhere in Texas, according to Apartment List. Rents have increased in eight of the largest 10 cities statewide for which Apartment List has data.

Plano is the most expensive of all major cities in Texas, with a median two-bedroom unit renting for $1,420. Of the 10 cities, Corpus Christi and Lubbock, where two-bedroom units were renting for $1,030 and $820, respectively, are the two other major cities in Texas besides Longview that saw rents fall in November. They fell by 0.3 percent in Corpus Christi and 0.2 percent in Lubbock.

The trend could reverse in Longview with restaurants opening and other new construction, Tucker said.

"Longview will recover," Tucker said. "I just hope it is sooner than later."



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