Market-Rate Apartment Occupancy at All-Time High

Posted on November 24, 2021

Family Room Opens to Modern KitchenU.S. occupancy for market-rate apartments is at an all-time high of 97.3%, according to RealPage, Inc. data for September. That figure is 2.3 percentage points ahead of the already healthy norm of 95% seen since the beginning of 2010, its Economist Greg Willett writes.

Ultra-low vacancy traces to unprecedented demand from both new renters moving in and existing renters choosing to renew leases. Remarkably, new lease demand in the 12-month period ending in September shattered the pre-2021 peak by an incredible 50.5%.

At the same time, apartment resident retention surprisingly surged to 58.0% – surpassing the all-time high set during the peak of the lockdowns in April 2020.

Among the country’s 50 largest metros, Las Vegas ranks as the biggest overachiever. Today’s 97.6% occupancy surpasses the 93.7% average for the past decade or so by 3.9 percentage points.

Current occupancy also is running at least 3 percentage points over the typical rate in Memphis, Greensboro/Winston-Salem, Phoenix, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Tampa, Virginia Beach and West Palm Beach.

With recent demand proving so strong, occupancy is 2 to 2.9 percentage points above normal in many locations where notable construction activity has tended to yield more product availability historically.

Metros in this category include San Antonio, Houston, Raleigh/Durham, Dallas, Charlotte, Austin, Salt Lake City and Nashville.

The lone spot among the top 50 metros that lacks an occupancy premium now is San Francisco. Even there, however, the performance is solid. Occupancy of 95.7% exactly matches the norm for the past decade or so.

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