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TransUnion Finds Renters Becoming Less Risky as Rental Prices Rise

CHICAGO, IL -- (Marketwired) -- 01/27/14 -- While rental prices increased in the last year, the credit risk of residents in those properties has also improved. The latest TransUnion Rental Screening Solutions industry report found that average rental prices have increased nearly 4% from $1,034 in Q3 2012 to $1,072 in Q3 2013. The credit risk of applicants to those properties as measured by TransUnion's Resident Scoring Model has steadily improved, with an average improvement of 1% in the last year.

For the purposes of this analysis and to ensure the validity of the information, national data on rental applications was collected from property managers for the same properties utilizing TransUnion's rental screening solutions in both September 2012 and September 2013.

"The rental market continues to be strong as demand for rental units remains high while consumer credit risk slowly improves," said Michael Doherty, senior vice president of TransUnion's rental screening solutions group. "The combination of improving rental risk scores and continued demand for rental properties is particularly good news for property managers."

Rental price changes were noted among the four primary levels of rental properties, including: Level A (newer, institutional properties), Level B (older, institutional), Level C (older, less desirable area) and Level D (older, less desirable area, renovations/updating needed). All four property levels experienced increases in their rental prices.

                        National Rental Price Changes

   Property Level        Q3 2012            Q3 2013          Pct. Change
         A                $1,198             $1,244              3.8%
         B                $1,008             $1,047              3.8%
         C                 $843               $860               2.1%
         D                 $665               $693               4.2%

The credit risk of residents also improved across the board with all levels seeing rises in the TransUnion Resident Scoring Model: Level A -- up 0.9%; Level B -- up 0.3%; Level C -- up 1.3% and Level D -- up 1.7%.

"As property managers determine the criteria for what types of residents they want for their properties, it is valuable to have a basic understanding about the risk level of the rental population," said Doherty. "When the credit risk of the population improves, property managers may be more inclined to tighten their criteria to ensure they are getting the best possible resident. This is integral because a resident who 'skips' out on a lease can cost a property manager thousands of dollars in lost revenues."

Property managers have the ability to conduct due diligence during the resident screening process by using services such as TransUnion CreditRetriever® for large property management companies and TransUnion SmartMove(SM) for independent landlords.

TransUnion's analysis also observed trends in key markets such as Chicago, Los Angeles and New York between Q3 2012 and Q3 2013.

  • Chicago - Average rental costs increased nearly 5% from $1,345 to $1,411. Credit risk remained the same.
  • Los Angeles - Average rental costs rose 3.2% from $1,565 to $1,615 while credit risk improved 1.1%.
  • New York - Average rental costs increased 5.5% from $2,389 to $2,520. Credit risk improved slightly by 0.4%.

"We noticed that the improvements in credit risk and the rise in rental payments was not a regional trend, rather most markets experienced similar improvements," added Doherty.

About TransUnion
As a global leader in information and risk management, TransUnion creates advantages for millions of people around the world by gathering, analyzing and delivering information. For businesses, TransUnion helps improve efficiency, manage risk, reduce costs and increase revenue by delivering high quality data, and integrating advanced analytics and enhanced decision-making capabilities. For consumers, TransUnion provides the tools, resources and education to help manage their credit health and achieve their financial goals. Through these and other efforts, TransUnion is working to build stronger economies worldwide. Founded in 1968 and headquartered in Chicago, TransUnion reaches businesses and consumers in 33 countries around the world. www.transunion.com/business

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Dave Blumberg
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