Victoria residents question national study saying rents have dropped

Jessica  Rodrigo By Jessica Rodrigo

June 7, 2014 at 1:07 a.m.
Updated June 8, 2014 at 1:08 a.m.

A blog post on reports Victoria has the largest one-year drop in rental prices in the country for the month of May.

According to the data collected from their listings, Victoria - which includes Edna, Cuero and Port Lavaca - experienced a 34.35 percent decrease from 2013 to 2014. The average rental prices dropped from $920 to $604.

"This is what our data tells us," said Courtney Craig, content strategist for RentPath Inc. and author of the report.

The data used to report the nation's biggest drops and hikes in apartment rental prices is based on internal data from apartment complexes that list on the website, she said.

RentPath, she said, is based in Norcross, Ga., and provides an online-only resource for apartment managers to post rental prices and amenities for renters through a paid service.

A search for Victoria shows the rating was based on 17 apartment complexes in Victoria, Edna, Port Lavaca and Cuero, of which six complexes were in Victoria and six in Port Lavaca.

The 2013-14 edition of the Victoria Yellow Pages lists 36 apartment complexes in Victoria.

To get the 34.35 percent drop, Craig said, the average of the entry-level prices was obtained for Victoria for May 1, 2013, and May 1, 2014. The percent change was determined based on the average prices per year.

Once the apartments are listed on the website, she said, it's the responsibility of the apartment company to update information regarding rates and amenities.

"The economy is always a big factor in rental prices," she said. "It's possible some of the higher-end apartments stopped listing with us or that, generally, the economy is slowing down."

As the housing market begins to pick up, Craig said, the push for lower apartment rental prices could be a result of people moving into single-family homes.

When apartment tenant Leticia Alvarado was asked whether she believed the research, her response was, "No way."

Alvarado, 33, has lived at the Pinnacle Pointe Apartments for more than five years. The rates are supposed to be based on income, she said, but she's seeing a steady increase year after year when she renews her lease.

"Even in the worst parts of town, you're going to pay," Alvarado said.

She said she knows townhomes in the rundown parts of town are renting for $1,100 a month.

Terry Hernandez, 49, said she wishes the rent was lower in the Crossroads.

She moved into the Mockingbird Lane Apartments a few months ago but said the prices of apartments are too high.

"Apartments need to have lower prices," she said. "Not everyone can afford such high rent."

With all her other expenses included, Hernandez said it's hard to have any money left for food and utilities.

When she was shopping for apartments in the area, she said prices ranged from $900 to $1,200 for two-bedroom apartments.

"The rent was too high, even for low-income housing," she said. "You don't earn enough. It would help a lot if prices were lower."

Veronica Garcia, 46, who has lived in one Victoria apartment complex for about four years, said her rent has gone up from $750 to almost $1,000.

"It's just a fabrication. It's not accurate, and it's based on 1 percent of the real data," Garcia said.

She said she thinks the oil activity is the driving force behind the rental hikes.

"The rate increase is ridiculous," she said. "It's the same apartment with no improvements."

For the price she is paying for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment, she said she would be able to live in one of the newer luxury apartments being built. At least the new apartments would have granite countertops and new carpet, Garcia said.

According to the data for Bay City, the average rent price increased 5.38 percent from $465 to $490. Corpus Christi's average increased 4.69 percent from $640 to $670.

"We believe it to be sound," Craig said. "We do expect people to challenge it."



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