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Bigger Rent Growth in Smaller Markets

Bigger Rent Growth in Smaller Markets

In the past two years, rent growth in the nation’s secondary markets has outpaced price increases in the top 50 largest apartment markets, reversing a long-time trend. The nation’s largest 50 apartment markets tend to record rent growth ahead of the smaller secondary metros in upcycles. But in this cycle, currently in its 10th year, large markets held the lead for essentially the first eight. Between the cycle peak in 3rd quarter 2015 until the recent low in 3rd quarter 2017, average rent growth among the top 50 markets slipped 290 basis points (bps). During that same time frame, price increases in the secondary markets rose 40 bps, pulling ahead of the larger metros. As of 1st quarter 2019, the smaller markets are still on top with an average annual price increase of 3.9%. Meanwhile, the largest 50 markets average rent growth in line with the national average at 3.3%. Part of the reason that rent growth has slowed in large markets is unprecedented new supply volumes concentrated there. Developers have not targeted smaller markets to the same degree.

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