Rents in New Mexico’s largest city appear to be rising

October 16, 2019 GMT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Two studies show rents in New Mexico’s largest city appear to be rising.

The Texas-based company RealPage recently found rents around Albuquerque rose 5% in the past year, the Albuquerque Journal reports . That’s the 12th-largest jump among small metros during that same period, according to the group.

In addition, a study from Apartment List showed that more than half of Albuquerque renters spend at least 30% of their salary on rent. And that’s a higher percentage than expensive West Coast metros like Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle.

RealPage manager of market analytics Carl Whitaker attributed the jump to Albuquerque’s slow-but-steady job growth in recent years. There are also a limited number of new homes to rent and to buy, he said.

“With pretty limited availability, that does give apartment operators more wiggle room,” Whitaker said.

Whitaker said Albuquerque’s current average monthly rent is $877, much lower than the national average of $1,041. However, New Mexico and Albuquerque both have average renter incomes well below the national average. Data from Apartment List shows New Mexico’s median renter income as $31,953, ahead of just six states.

Other New Mexico areas also are seeing jumps in rent. Rental search engine Rent Jungle found that as of April 2019, the average rent for an apartment in Hobbs is $1,188. The amount is a 16.5% increase from last year in the oil boom town.

The lack of supply is affecting home prices as well as rents, keeping potential buyers in rentals. Jessica Beecher, owner of RE/MAX Select in Albuquerque, said the inventory of available homes in Albuquerque dropped precipitously during the second quarter. Not coincidentally, home prices also rose 9% during the same period.

“That 9 percent is the highest percent we’ve seen in over a decade,” Beecher said.