“Most investors are coming to the conclusion they’d rather keep prices average, and more affordable,” Mullinax said.
Kokomo’s demographics make it hard to justify pushing the boundaries of rent prices.
Median household income in Howard County ranked 74th among Indiana’s 92 counties in 2011, and the poverty rate is higher than state and national averages.
Census figures show that nationally, just under 38 percent of all renters are paying less than $750 a month in rent. In Kokomo, that number is almost double.
And even with rents much lower than the national average, many Kokomoans still can’t afford their rents.
More than half of Kokomo renters were paying more than 35 percent of their income in rent in 2011, a figure above both the state and national averages.
That might be why, despite the shortage of available rentals, landlords in Kokomo still have a hard time raising rents, even when rental vacancy rates are approaching historic lows.
“I think we’ll look back and say 2012 was a peak year for the rental market in Kokomo,” Tikijian said. “Vacancy rates are very low, it was before the single-family home market had increased very much, and there wasn’t much new apartment construction from 2005 to 2011.”
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