Rents continue to rise in New Hampshire as a shortage of units pushes prices up.
A new report from New Hampshire Housing, based on a telephone study conducted by the UNH Survey Center, puts the median monthly rent for a 2-bedroom unit at $1,263, up four percent from last year.
While experts say many factors play into the home rental market, these price hikes are a clear sign of demand outpacing supply.
“Even before the Great Recession, there was a relatively tight rental market,” says Dean Christon, executive director of New Hampshire House. “Then during the recession, there was not much in the way of construction. And as we’ve come out of the recession, construction just has not kept pace with need.”
The report finds that the vacancy rate in New Hampshire is just 1.4%, far lower than the 4-5% considered a “balanced market.” The housing crunch is compounded, according to the report’s authors, by new construction focusing on higher-end apartments.
“As new production occurs, it is likely that it is going to target the higher end of the market. That’s where margins are better,” explains Christon.
Rockingham County has the state’s highest rental rates, with the median price of a 2-bedroom unit at $1,409 a month. Coos County has the lowest rental prices at $818 per month. Still, Coos is seeing a surge in prices, with rental rates up by 23% over the previous five years.
For the current statewide median housing unit to be considered affordable, a renter would need to earn an annual salary of $50,400.
Housing advocates caution that a lack of affordable rental options can stall business activity in the state.