Abilene/Taylor County Rental Data: 2009 to 2018
In the past, Barnett & Hill reported rental data on a monthly basis. Monthly reports yielded little variation in the data summarized; for this reason, our reports will now go to an annual summary of rental data.
Steady rental prices in Abilene are a function of our steady economy. Taylor County's economy is largely institutional - we depend on:
- hospitals (with an infusion of Medicaid / Medicare dollars)
- three private universities (ACU, HSU, McMurry), one public graduate university (TTUHSC), one 2-year, public junior college (Cisco) and one technical school TSTC which bring guaranteed student loans and other grants.
- Dyess AFB that brings over $1 million per day to the Abilene economy.
We are behind other communities on manufacturing (even with the successes of the Development Corporation of Abilene), too close to DFW to capture logistics center like isolated Amarillo, and about 50 miles too far east of the oil-driven economies of Midland/Odessa. Our last boom, if you will, happened when we see a bump due to tax-credit-sponsored wind farm development. Now that the turbines are on the ground, those construction jobs have given way to routine maintenance. The flat nature of Abilene's economic activity is proxied by rental activity in Abilene.
Average days vacant
Days vacant are an important metric when evaluating the value of rental property. It's not sufficient to know the rent for a single-family home; you also need the number of days vacant to calculated anticipated income for the property. Looking at all Taylor County rentals since January 2009, a rent house will typically sit empty 33 days.
A qualification: these number don't represent ALL rentals in Abilene; only those leased by real estate agents. In an attempt to create context, I'll refer to a prior report Barnett & Hill developed to analyze the impact of low interest rates on growth of Abilene rentals. The report revealed that roughly 1/3 of all Abilene homes aren't homesteaded and likely rentals. In 2016, that was 12,149 non-homesteaded homes out of 36,414 single-family homes. In that same year, 953 homes or 8% of those 12,149 non-homesteaded homes were leased by Abilene real estate brokers. That said, you could multiply the plotted points on the graph below by 12.5 to get a sense of the overall market (other things held constant, specifically what a real estate broker brings to leasing).
The lead summary statistic for any rental is total rent or rent on a per square foot basis. Rent/sqft may be our best indicator of the steady nature of Abilene's steady economic activity.
As we parse Taylor County by ZIP code, school district, and elementary school, it is important to remember this approach masks the negative role of age on rent/sf. 79603 has an inventory of homes than is 20 years older than 79602 and this explains, in part, why they rent for less. Similarly, knowing that WISD homes are, on average, 33 years newer than homes in AISD tells us why AISD rents are cheaper.
Real rent per sqft
The rent statistics reported in the previous section are nominal figures or unadjusted for inflation. Inflation has grown by 1.7% each year since 2009. Landlords hope rents grow by 1.7% or more each year to cover inflation and expenses that may be growing at the same pace - or more.
When inflation is factored and prices are adjusted to real terms, rent per square foot looks flat in many of the scenarios graphed. This means landlords are staying abreast of inflation in terms of rent. Inflationary gains in labor, materials, and utilities to maintain these properties are not captured in these numbers and these numbers are important because they determine profit margin for the landlord.
After adjusting for inflation, we can see that homes in 79606 have gained 2¢ per square foot over the last 10 years. For an average-sized 79606 rental measuring 1,662 sf, this translates to an extra $33.24 per month. Leased prices in 79602 have increased by 8¢ and this is driven by the new housing stock in this ZIP code.
After adjusting for inflation, we can see that homes in Wylie ISD have gained 2¢ per square foot over the last 10 years. An average Wylie ISD rental measures 1527 sf - this translates to an additional $30.54 per month. Abilene ISD rentals have gained 8¢ over the last 10 years meaning an average-sized Abilene ISD rental has gained $108.08 per month. At this point, the reader can do their own math regarding smaller, older, cheaper properties in the Abilene ISD with slightly better revenue that rent faster versus larger, newer, more expensive properties in Wylie ISD that rent slower.