RealFacts research firm has compiled the following data for rentals in the areas that I service for property management.
According to the study, monthly apartment rents in the Manatee, Sarasota and Venice markets averaged $973 for the first quarter of 2007. This represents a 3.5% increase over the same reporting period in 2006.
The greater market area of Manatee and Sarasota counties is the third most expensive in the state of Florida behind Naples and Miami. Apartment occupancy rates at an average of 91.5% were down 3.5% over the same reporting period in 2006.
The Englewood area was not included in this study due to the low number of actual apartment communities that the area has to offer. Being a still relatively "undiscovered and under-developed" area of the Florida coastline, Englewood's rental market relies heavily on the availability of single-family homes.
In general, area rental rates in the Englewood area for single-family homes have dropped approximately $100-200/mo from the previous year's rates. Brand new homes with pools can be rented for $1200/mo with lawn and pool care included. Inventory in the single-family home rental market in Englewood has increased significantly over the last year due to lack of sales activity.
Recent conversations with would-be homeowners in the area indicate that many consumers are taking the "wait and see" approach of finding a home. Many potential renters I meet tell me that they are finding rental deals that are too good to pass up for now.
Instead of purchasing now, as they had planned, they will wait another year or two to see if the tax and insurance issues will be properly addressed and if, indeed, the market will adjust upward again.
In the meantime, many of them are taking advantage of being able to rent more of a home than they could in the past. For example, in some areas, a 4 bedroom, 3 bath pool home on a canal with a dock can be rented for less than $1500/mo.
Most rental property owners are willing to structure a lease purchase or lease option package that will meet the needs of the renter. In fact, one real estate agency in town has changed their signs to clearly indicated "FOR SALE OR LEASE!"
It's a GREAT TIME to get a GOOD DEAL on a rental home in Manatee, Sarasota or Charlotte county!