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The Truth About Falling Rents in Austin and Miami (video)

The real estate market in the Sunbelt region has been witnessing significant changes recently. Rents in key cities like Austin, Nashville, Jacksonville, Miami, and Phoenix are experiencing a decline, despite the sustained demand.

The Truth About Falling Rents in Austin and Miami

This blog post delves into the factors influencing these trends, with insights from Howard Hughes CEO David O’Reilly, highlighting the role of supply, the flight to quality, and the current state of home building.

Rent Declines Amid High Demand

According to David O’Reilly, the decline in rents across the Sunbelt is primarily driven by supply dynamics. Two years ago, there was a massive influx of people moving to Florida, leading to a surge in multi-family housing developments.

As a result, a significant number of housing units are now hitting the market simultaneously, providing renters with great deals temporarily. O’Reilly predicts that once these units are absorbed, rents will likely rise again due to the persistent demand.

The Herd Mentality in Real Estate Development

O’Reilly explains that real estate developers often operate with a herd mentality. When the market was booming, developers rushed to initiate new projects, particularly in the Sunbelt.

However, this rush led to an oversupply of units being delivered at the same time. Consequently, rents have temporarily decreased. Developers have since scaled back, but O’Reilly expects that the reduced supply will eventually lead to rent increases as demand catches up.

The Appeal of the Sunbelt

The Sunbelt’s appeal lies in its affordability, access to nature, walkability, short commutes, better weather, quality education, and business-friendly environments.

These factors have driven a significant flight to quality, particularly to communities like The Woodlands outside of Houston and Summerlin outside of Las Vegas. These areas have benefited immensely from people seeking a better quality of life, especially post-pandemic.

The Imbalance of Supply and Demand

The supply-demand imbalance in the housing market is a critical issue. O’Reilly emphasizes that developers often struggle to provide a consistent supply of housing, leading to significant price fluctuations.

Unlike other developers, Howard Hughes Corporation manages massive communities, allowing for more controlled and timed releases of housing units, which helps stabilize the market.

Homebuilding in the Current Market

Despite the high cost of mortgages, there is a remarkable demand for home building. First-time homebuyers and retirees are driving this demand. First-time buyers, averaging 35 years old, and wealthy retirees, averaging 65 years old, are key market segments.

Many of these buyers are opting for new constructions, as the resale market is limited by homeowners locked into low-rate mortgages. Large national homebuilders can offer rate buy-downs, making new homes more attractive to buyers.

Commercial Real Estate Performance

Howard Hughes Corporation’s commercial real estate sector is performing well, with no significant oversupply issues.

The company’s office portfolio has shown double-digit growth year-over-year, while the multifamily portfolio has increased by 9% year-over-year. By limiting supply and aligning it with market demand, the company reaps rewards throughout various economic cycles.


The Sunbelt real estate market is undergoing notable changes driven by supply dynamics and sustained demand. While rents are currently falling due to an oversupply of housing units, the long-term outlook suggests that rents will rise again as demand catches up.

Howard Hughes Corporation’s strategic approach to development, focusing on controlled and timed releases, sets a benchmark for stability in this fluctuating market.


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