by John Hill

Continuing a 13-month streak, Abilene homes leased slower when contrasted to market absorption in the same month from the prior year. Over the last four months, homes stayed on the market longer and September 2016 rentals sat, on average, for 37 days before a lease was struck. 

This overview utilizes NTREIS data on leased properties in Abilene, Texas. This data provides 13 months of data spanning September 2015 to September 2016, allowing the user to look across these months at changes in rental prices, days on market and inventory available town wide, both by school district and by ZIP code. The percentage changes calculated in this table compare the current month’s statistics to an average of the last 12-months and the data from the same month in the 2015. 

To measure the inventory of single-family rentals, Taylor Central Appraisal District (TCAD) data provided a measure of the number of non-homesteaded Abilene homes between 2003 to 2016.  A more detailed analysis of this data is mapped and summarized by tables

Using the TCAD data in tandem with NTREIS data reveals that we have added 3,976 new homestead homes between 2003 to 2016.  At the same time, 3,975 homes have forgone their homestead exemption.  It is reasonable to assume these non-homesteaded homes are being used as rentals.  The net result of this event is that the Abilene area has gained 1 new homestead home over the last 13 years. 

Cheap money explains the gain in Abilene-area rentals.  Interest rates have been at 3.25% since 2009, widening the margin in a rental market that has always been shaped by cash flow instead of appreciation like Dallas/Fort Worth rental market. Between 2009 going forward, Abilene added 2,301 rentals or 87% of the new rentals added over the last 13 years.  This new supply has brought us to a point where the pace at which homes rent is notably slower. 

Using this month’s NTREIS data, the 11 rentals in 79601 that leased in September spent 58 days on the market.  Homes in 79602 and 79603 leased in 28 days. Between those statistics, local landlords are faced with 1 to 2 months of lost rent.   

The number of bedroom marginally explain the difference rental rates for homes.  The idea is that larger homes cost more and it is more difficult to bring together a household that needs a larger home.  Over the last 365 days, 2 bedroom inventory rented in 32 days, 3 bedroom inventory leased in 34 days and 4 bedroom units leased in 36 days. 

Town-wide, average total September rents rose $27 from the previous month.  Part of this is explained by the fact that September 2016 homes were 83 square feet larger than homes leased in August 2016.  More important, rent per square foot dropped 2¢ per square foot between August and September. When analyzed by school district, Abilene ISD rentals saw a 6¢ drop in rent compared to Wylie ISD rentals which realized a 2¢ gain in rent.

According to NTREIS, 105 single-family homes were leased in September 2016. These units leased at, on average, 75₵/square foot and were sized at 1,496 square feet.  Consequently, these leases are estimated to deliver a September 2016 value of $117,916 to the Abilene economy.  Considering the coming 12 months and the leases executed during September 2016, these leases potentially account for a $1,414,995 annual contribution to Abilene’s economy.