Vacancies Up, Spur Creativity

Vacancies Up, Spur Creativity

Various factors at work in the economic sector have pushed up the vacancy rate in area apartments, forcing some property managers to be creative, offering incentives to entice renters. At Springfield Station, it's in the form of $100 off the monthly rent and no premium for short term rentals, according to leasing specialist Erika Trujillo.

"We're definitely getting more on notice, more than half are because people are buying houses," she said.

Over at Oakton Parks in Fairfax, it's the same thing. They offer $75 off rent each month. They are 98.5 percent occupied because of their specials, according to rental agent Dan Peck.

"Most of the people moving are buying houses," Peck said.

Realtor Dave Meyers sees the trend from the other side. Two years ago, apartment availability was down so landlords could charge high rates. Now those same renters are taking advantage of the six percent mortgage rates but the apartment industry rates are not decreasing.

"Look at the rents, they've gone sky high. You could buy a house for that same rate," Meyers said.

Traditionally, the apartment industry has a down time around the holidays and a busy time during the summers. Some of that summer traffic is short-term rentals for students and interns who are in a government related field. For many, an 80-percent vacancy rate is unacceptable in the late fall so the property managers are in the position to sacrifice a little to attract clients.

Not everyone is in that position in this area though. Rental agent Ibrahim Nasharly of the Archstone Worldgate apartments in Herndon is happy with their 98.1 percent occupied rate without specials. They count on a lot of resident and corporate referrals. He did admit to small incentive though.

"We offer $200 off our re-decoration