Rising rents

Apartment rental rates climbed 5 percent in the Charleston-North Charleston area during the 12 months ending in September, according to a recent report from the commercial real estate investment firm Marcus & Millichap.

The average rental rate for housing overall rose to $1,038 in September, the report said.

Strong demand lowered vacancy to 3.5 percent in September, the second-lowest level in more than six years.

Driving the increase in rental rates is the surge of people pouring into the region, which has the highest job growth rate in the Carolinas, the report said.

The Charleston area's population swelled by nearly 11,700 during the previous four quarters, resulting in the formation of 5,400 households, according Marcus & Millichap.

About 11,800 new jobs in the area contributed to the growth in residents and increased demand for housing. To meet the need, builders have 4,000 rentals underway with completions due by 2018.

The average rent for units built since 2010 is $300 per month more.

The report said investors are bullish on the long-term outlook of assets in the Charleston region due in part to the strong economy.

Buyers desire properties in the downtown and North Charleston areas, with more investors willing to consider suburban complexes in areas such as Mount Pleasant or Summerville, according to the report.