MARCH 2016 ABILENE AREA RENTAL REPORT

by John Hill

For the last six months, the inventory of Wylie ISD rentals grew older while rent per sqft in March 2016 rose for single-family homes in Wylie ISD.  The combination of higher rent even with aging inventory of rentals speaks to the appeal of Wylie ISD rentals in the overall Abilene market for single-family homes. 

This overview utilizes NTREIS data on leased properties in Abilene, Texas. This data provides 13 months of data spanning March 2015 to March 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. 

This appeal of the Wylie ISD is reiterated by the number of days WISD and AISD rentals are without a tenant.  In March 2016, Wylie ISD rentals were vacant, on average, 31 days while Abilene ISD rentals took an extra 8 days to lease.  This margin of difference is diminished when we look at the 12-month average for days vacant.  Over the last 12 months, Abilene ISD rentals sat empty for an average of 29 days while Wylie ISD rentals were without a tenant for 24 days. 

Economists employ the term supply shock to discuss a dramatic change in output in a market.  The destruction of a key factory that creates memory chips for computers, warfare in the Middle East, or absence of resolve among member-nations of OPEC have created supply shocks in recent years.  With that definition in mind, it will be interesting to observe the impact on Wylie ISD rents when the 180 apartments across the street from Wylie ISD are completed and the 400 units at 707 and Buffalo Gap are brought to market. 

Pet deposits roughly mirrored the 12-month average for pet deposits at $262 per lease.  A third of March 2016 rentals accepted pets which matches the 12-month average.  Security deposits in March 2016 were down $40 from the previous month, but were not significantly different from the 12-month average at $865 or 61¢ per square foot. 

When reviewed on a per square foot basis, Abilene area rents were relatively flat.  Town-wide rent fell by 1¢ against the preceding month to 74¢ per square foot.  Abilene ISD rents matched their 12-month average, holding steady at 70¢ per square foot.  Wylie ISD rents rose 2¢/sf over the previous month and came close to matching their 12-month average priced at 90¢/sqft. 

One can take two perspectives on this: the half-empty approach is that rentals in Abilene offer no appreciation in value because rents are flat.  The half-full perspective is that rentals in Abilene offer a steady return and are not plagued by changes in inventory and rents that happen in more volatile, oil-driven markets like San Angelo and Midland/Odessa.  Consequently, buying right in the Abilene market may take time when searching for a rental that is priced for a favorable return, but once you have, the barriers posed by a flat market make it an attractive place to own rentals. 

According to NTREIS, 92 single-family homes were leased in December 2015. These units leased at, on average, 74¢/sf and were sized at 1,413 square feet.  Consequently, these leases are estimated to deliver a March 2016 value of $96,197 to the Abilene economy.  Considering the coming 12 months and the leases executed during December 2015, these leases potentially account for an $1,154,365 annual contribution to Abilene’s economy.