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Renting in Baton Rouge could become cheaper soon

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BATON ROUGE - Sky-high rent could be falling for many people sometime this year, industry insiders suspect after looking into the number of apartments coming on the market.

More than one-thousand new units are on the market, and Craig Davenport of Cook Moore and Associates said in presentation Thursday, more are on the way. An additional 2,929 units are under construction - once complete, adding 4,460 new apartment homes to the market. Nearly 4,000 are planned - although Davenport wouldn't be surprised if some of those fall off.

"For the rest of 2016, we think that rents will likely continue to decease as the new supply of apartments under construction start to lease up," he told WBRZ Thursday. "Occupancy rates will continue to decrease as the new supply hits the market."

On Burbank, south of LSU, there are two huge complexes under construction right now. The complexes flank either side of the street at the intersection with Lee. The market could become over-saturated, according to analysts.

Davenport's boss echoed the concern in a previous WBRZ News 2 and WBRZ.com report on apartment unit construction.

"We are going to add a five-year supply in a two-year-span," Wesley Moore said. "That amount of construction will have an adverse effect on all occupancies."

Moore spoke with WBRZ in Thursday. Then, he cautioned newer complexes will be more attractive for tenants creating competition among the older units in town.

"With that many units coming on line at one time, I'm just worried that there is enough growth right now, population growth in Baton Rouge to absorb it," complex owner Lance Belcher said in the same March story.

Last year, national analysts ranked Baton Rouge as one of the top places in the country where it's more affordable to own a home as opposed to renting. Here, the savings for buyers came in at 53%. New Orleans followed Baton Rouge on the list that was topped by Sarasota and Fort Myers, Florida. Baton Rouge and New Orleans were sandwiched between those two cities and Miami-Fort Lauderdale.


Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz


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