Real Estate

Houston’s vacant apartments could house Hurricane Harvey victims

City maintains high vacancy rates

Hurricane Harvey swept through South Texas this week, causing at least 39 deaths, destroying homes and creating billions of dollars in damages.

Houston is the fourth most populous city in the country with about 6.5 million people living in the metro area, and many lost their home to the flood waters.

Officials estimate up to 40,000 homes could be destroyed, according to an article by Tanza Loudenback for Business Insider.

Houston holds one of the lowest occupancy rates in the country at 92.9%, according to an article be Brian Croce for Multifamily Executive. Due to this low rate and the large number of apartments, the area should be able to accommodate an influx of renters.

The estimated 47,000 vacant units in the Houston area should be able to take in the displaced victims of the hurricane, according to the article.

However, the problem lies in the price point of the vacant apartments.

From the article:

In a blog post, Willett wrote that Houston’s biggest block of available existing rental housing “lies within the urban core, with just over 2,200 vacant apartments found in the Downtown/Montrose/River Oaks submarket. These are comparatively expensive units, as monthly rent in the neighborhood averages $1,769.”

Most of the available units in the metro area are luxury apartments, he tells MFE, but there are still vacant units at all price points.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it is extending disaster relief to Hurricane Harvey victims. Other mortgage industries also stepped up to the plate, offering relief to the Houston area.

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