New apartment complexes are seemingly rising along every major road in Chatham County, from Victory Drive to Abercorn Street and Benton Boulevard to Chatham Parkway.
All those developers can expect strong leasing activity, a study suggests.
Apartment market research firm Real Data recently released its annual report on the Savannah-Hilton Head rental market. The area’s apartment vacancy rate stands at 5.2 percent, the lowest in a decade, despite a doubling in the number of units over that same period.
“With the current development pipeline, supply is expected to match current demand levels over the next two years,” Real Data’s researchers wrote in the report.
Real Data lists 1,308 units under construction or proposed. The actual number is closer to 1,600 units when the Legends of Chatham is figured into the supply. The project, planned for Chatham Parkway, has been approved but has yet to begin.
Real Data anticipates the vacancy rate remaining in the 5 percent range even as these units open. Recent trends support the projection: Savannah’s apartment supply has grown each of the last four years while the vacancy rate has dropped from 12 percent to 5.2 percent.
Local rental insiders are even more bullish on the apartment and rental housing market. H. George Meyers, president of the Savannah Landlords and Real Estate Investors Association, said the “rental market is as good as we’ve seen in years.
“With the amount of students we have coming in and the military members fluxing back in and the growth of manufacturers like Gulfstream, it doesn’t matter if we’re talking Pooler, downtown or the southside, the rental market is rolling right now,” said Meyers, owner of Mia Madison Properties.
Student housing is the biggest driver, Meyers said.
The One West Victory complex, under construction at the corner of Victory Drive and Bull Street, is marketing specifically to Savannah College of Art and Design students. Another midtown project, the Avenues on 61st, is also targeting SCAD.
Those complexes’ ability to attract SCAD students is likely to have a trickle down effect on other rental properties, particularly those downtown. Young professionals are likely to fill the void, Meyers said.
“We’re talking small apartments in most instances, and they’re being gobbled up,” he said. “As long as it’s in good condition, it will go.”
Rental rates are trending up and have been each of the last four years. The average rate is $858, up from $778 in 2010.
Approximately 1,600 apartment units are under construction or planned in Chatham County and are scheduled to open by the end of 2015.
Two Addison Place|Pooler|325
Villas at Park Avenue|Pooler|283
One West Victory|Midtown|114
Capital Club at Godley Station|Pooler|256
Avenues on 61st|Midtown|32
Parkside at the Highlands|Pooler|317
Legends of Chatham|Chatham Parkway|255
* Several floors of Drayton Tower are completed and already leased
SAVANNAH-HILTON HEAD RENTAL DATA HISTORICAL SUMMARY
Year|Inventory|Vacancy Rate|Average Rate|New Units completed
Source: Real Data Apartment Market Research (Data for apartment communities only)