There were 1,927 homes and condos listed for rent in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in 14 downtown ZIP Codes when we first began tracking the number in November of 2009.
Available MLS-listed rentals in the area fell to a low of 665 in April of last year and has been trending upward ever since. Yesterday the number stood at 942, the highest level we’ve seen since April of 2011.
The growth in the number of available rentals has coincided with growing strength in the for-sale market and increasing prices, trends that might have been expected to result in lower numbers of rentals as “accidental landlords” found themselves able to sell.
The growing number of MLS-listed rentals may be due in part to increased competition: the downtown apartment market has added 1,000s of units in high-amenity new buildings in the last 18 months, and more are on the way.
There’s another trend that may account in part for the growing inventory: fraud on the part of rental services and brokers. I don’t have exact comparative counts, but there seem to be far more “address not available listings” than there were two years ago. These no-address listings are often just bait-and-switch efforts to lure rental prospects. Don’t give in to the temptation to contact a rental service to find out where the property is located. Work with an experienced broker from a reputable major firm and let him or her source out what’s really available for rent in the MLS.