January of this year was a very active month in the market of apartments for rent in Riga, Latvia. In most cases, good quality and modern apartments located in the city centre and the embassy district were demanded. One of the reasons of this activity is the personnel change in embassies that is characteristic for the beginning of the year, the change of top managers of international companies, and new companies entering the Latvian market.
According to the statistics of Arco Real Estate regarding the rental transactions completed, the most demanded and rented apartment types in the beginning of January were the following three types:
- 3-room apartments with 2 bedrooms, about 100m². Price range from €500 to €700;
- 3-room or 4-room high quality modern apartments with 2 bedrooms, with area from 100 to 140m², price range from €700 to €1200;
- 5-room or 6-room unfurnished apartments, about 200-250m², price range from €700 to €1000.
In the second half of January there wasa growth of demand for middle-class apartments with a very sound layout and as many bedrooms (3-5) within a budget of €700 to €1000, including utilities. This trending turn is explained by the fact that Stradiņš University has begun the second semester and started a new admission of students from abroad. An average of 3-5 students would like to rent an apartment together and on average each student's budget for rent is around €300, including utilities.
There is still a very big shortage of high-class modern apartments with designer-crafted interiors, parking lot in the yard, etc. Poor quality, non-renovated apartments located both in the central part of the city and in housing estates gradually begin to disappear from the market. More and more tenants want to rent an apartment as a legal entity to write off the rent as company expenditure.
The price growth compared with the level of January 2010 is about 10-15% on average. In February and March, the prices could remain at the current level, while at the beginning of spring, the prices could increase somewhat due to reduction of utility costs.
In general, the situation in the rental market has been stable; the market is active, especially regarding high-quality, high-class apartments with gas heating.