VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – News 3 Investigates is taking a deep dive into how housing is in Hampton Roads, including how the local rental industry has been over the past 3 years.
Throughout the pandemic, renters have had to open their pockets a bit more and be more competitive to get their homes.
In September 2020, Daniel Mowry-Croft went from being a tenant to a homeowner in Virginia Beach.
“It honestly was kind of a good, spontaneous move,” Mowry-Croft said. “We started doing well with our jobs, me and my partner, and we realized we probably could just buy a house for how much we were renting an apartment.”
He told News 3 they bought their home after renting an apartment in Virginia Beach.
“We went from paying $1,500, $1,550 in rent to like $1,300, $1,200 in a house,” Mowry-Croft said.
When looking for a home, he told News 3 competition and prices were heating up.
“To try and find something that was in our budget, had a yard because we have pets, and then also to find something that wasn’t basically bid on by basically everyone, their brother and their sister, we had to kind of look at a bunch of different homes,” he said.
Lisa Chandler is in local residential property management. She’s the President and Principal Broker of Rose & Womble Chandler Property Management LLC.
“It has been wild ride,” she said.
Chandler said, throughout the pandemic, she and others have seen a change in rental availability.
“I think, in 2021, we lost 12 percent of our inventory to just the sales market. That’s huge,” Chandler told News 3.
She said some landlords were selling their homes, and some tenants even bought the homes they were renting.
“They were in the property. It was directly available to them. They didn’t have to watch the market to see if something was going to come on the market for them to purchase. They knew the home, and the interest rates were very attractive,” she said. “Some owners moved back into their rental properties because of how COVID-19 affected them, or how the market affected them.”
Chandler is also a member of the Hampton Roads-based Real Estate Information Network (REIN). REIN is made up of most people within the Hampton Roads real estate industry, according to Chandler. It helps keep track of local housing data and provides resources for those in the industry.
News 3 obtained data from REIN on rentals related to REIN members:
Newly Listed Rentals:
% Difference: -40.80%
% Difference: -41.23%
Median Rental Price:
% Difference: 32.14%
Median Rented Price:
% Difference: 21.51%
News 3 asked Chandler about the rise in prices from 2019 to 2022.
“If your property is on the market for rent, and you have 20 applications on it, you might think gosh, am I asking too little,” she said.
“It’s the first time I’ve seen it, where people were offering more money to the landlord to be able to rent their houses,” Chandler added. “You had so many tenants, or prospective tenants, competing over very few houses available. They were frantic, and some of them were desperate to find a place.”
But Chandler said, lately, the rental industry has been easing up a bit as interest rates continue to evolve and the inventory grows.
“People feel that they have maybe missed the mark in going on the market and they’re going to hold off, so they’re putting their houses up for rent,” she said. “Right now, it doesn’t sound like much, we have 26 listings on the market, whereas, in May, June and July, we only had seven to nine listings.”
She also recommends people invest in REIN’s portal when looking for a home to rent or buy versus other third-party apps.
“It’s updated daily,” she said. “When you’re looking there, and something goes on the market, it’s uploaded very quickly. We’ve had people call about properties that are still showing available in some of those other apps, but we already rented them.”
Some other tips from Chandler: if you’re a prospective tenant, make sure your credit history is good. She also recommends you stay on top of both your employment and rental verification to make sure both of those are in good standing.
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