Despite its ranking as the fourth-most competitive rental market in Texas last year, the hunt for an apartment in Fort Worth might get easier in 2023.

A mass exodus of out-of-state transplants and high lease renewal rates fueled the local rental market’s high demand in 2021 and 2022. About 6,000 new apartments were added in 2022 and another 6,000 are expected in 2023, which has yet to make a dent in demand for apartments.

Another 7,000 apartments are expected to be built in Fort Worth in 2024, said Doug Ressler, senior analyst and manager of business intelligence at Yardi Matrix

“You will have more millennials that will typically move out and buy homes. But the lack of new housing supply and the monetary policies by the feds is restricting a lot of people from being able to buy new homes,” Resser said. “People rent longer.”

RentCafe estimated 62.5% of renters decided to renew their current leases, increasing competition for a unit in Fort Worth in 2022. On average, 13 people were considering a unit at a time, with units remaining vacant for an average of 30 days.

More competitive than Fort Worth were Dallas, McAllen and El Paso, which ranked at the top of the list as the most competitive rental market in 2022. RentCafe’s Fort Worth market includes the cities of Fort Worth, Arlington, Euless, Bedford, Grand Prairie, North Richland Hills, Grapevine, Haltom City, Hurst and Keller.

The Texas rental market is still coping better than the rest of the country, RentCafe reported.

Fort Worth’s strong local economy – a mirror to statewide trends — has made it an attractive place over the last few years, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has translated into more people moving to the state, creating more demand for apartments, especially middle-income housing. 

But despite the rapidly increasing stock of housing, middle-class apartments remain an issue in the city. Instead, new construction has been mostly either high-end or had an affordability component, said Perry Pillow, interim CEO and director of government affairs for the Apartment Association of Tarrant County.

“You just have not seen that middle market being developed in the last 25 years,” Pillow said.

Experts are beginning to analyze the single-family rental market as an alternative, more affordable option for people looking for a home who cannot afford one but no longer want to rent. 

Ressler said single-family rentals are growing in demand, especially in the outskirts of Fort Worth and its surrounding smaller cities. This makes it an attractive option for millennials and baby boomers. 

“We’ve recently seen them in between urban and suburban areas, just because permitting and zoning are more progressive in those areas and the cost of land is great,” Ressler said. 

While Fort Worth continues to ride the hot housing market wave, the growing need for diverse, affordable housing remains a priority. In fact, it’s an economic development issue, Pillow said. 

“As you begin to create these jobs – it’s a great thing, right? We’re bringing jobs here but having housing available for folks at different levels and different options for the workforce is critical,” he said. 

Sandra Sadek is a Report for America corps member, covering growth for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at sandra.sadek@fortworthreport.org or follow her on Twitter at @ssadek19.

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Sandra Sadek is the growth reporter for the Fort Worth Report and a Report for America corps member. She writes about Fort Worth's affordable housing crisis, infrastructure and development. Originally...