Thank you for allowing us to serve you. I hope all is well and the long, cold winter is starting to dissipate in your area.
The recent Post Courier article finally indicates what we in the property management trenches have been saying for more than a year: the rental market in Charleston is on the downturn.
We called this downturn over a year ago when the PC was still writing about demand being strong. We started seeing a sharp increase in online page views but a decline in actual showings. This indicates more shopping around for housing.
We are currently ranked #1 in MLS in leasing this year so far, but what we see is a huge uptick in page views for the same amount of rented units. In March alone, our page views on all 81 websites we market on doubled but we had fewer leases.
We gave advice last fall to not increase rents and spend a little money during Christmas for a tenant gift in the hopes of increasing retention. We are happy to say that our tenant retention last season was the highest it has ever been.
We would encourage the following for this year:
- Anticipate not raising rental rates.
- Be prepared to reduce rental rates when we indicate the rates are too high.
- If you have not invested in your exteriors, 2018 might be the year to do so. A more appealing exterior helps retain tenants and helps attract new ones.
- If your current tenant does not renew and you have not made interior improvements, 2018 should be the year you plan to perform capital improvements to your investment. Interior painting, updating kitchen counters, replacing carpets or refinishing wood floors would be a few items to consider.
I have been doing this for 26 years now and have seen downturns, upturns, stagnation, hurricanes and just about everything that can happen in the rental market. This too shall pass. I would think the downturn will last at least 3-5 years before an increased supply of housing gets absorbed by the demand.
In the meantime, know that we are an investment minded property management company dedicated to watching over your investment as if it were our own.
I hope this market update helps!