Low apartment stock could spell trouble for residents displaced by Hurricane Florence

Majority of rental stock consists of single-family homes

Sep.September 18, 2018 11:00 AM

Flooding from Hurricane Florence is seen in Leland, North Carolina, which is located just outside of Wilmington, North Carolina (Credit: Getty Images) 

Low apartment inventories might make relocating residents displaced by Hurricane Florence particularly difficult in small cities in North Carolina.

The hurricane pummeled some of North Carolina’s smaller cities, where single-family homes make up much of the rental inventory, the Wall Street Journal reported. For example, Wilmington and Fayetteville each have fewer than 1,500 empty apartment units, according to apartment research firm RealPage Inc.

That’s less than half of the vacant units in Charleston, South Carolina. After Hurricane Harvey, 70,000 units were available in Houston, Texas.

“A lot of the cities that were flooded are smaller and less dense,” Ric Campo, chairman and chief executive of Houston-based Camden Property Trust, told the Wall Street Journal. “They just don’t have the apartment inventory.”

Rents jumped in Houston after Hurricane Harvey while the vacancy rate declined. In Wilmington, the vacancy rate is at 6.6 percent with an annual rent growth of 2.3 percent. Florence is expected to drive the vacancy rate down.

According to Bloomberg, the Category 1 hurricane has caused an estimated $2.5 billion in insured losses in North Carolina. The storm has killed at least 32 people. [WSJ and Bloomberg] — Kathryn Brenzel

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