From Nation's Best to Nation's Worst Rent Performance in Less Than Two Years

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The Cape Coral-Fort Myers apartment market recorded the nation’s weakest annual rent change performance in May. Effective asking rents in the market declined 9.1% in the year-ending May, according to RealPage Market Analytics. In comparison, the U.S. overall saw mild annual rent growth of 0.2% in that time frame. Cape Coral-Fort Myers is a mid-sized apartment market with roughly 55,000 existing units. This market has logged year-over-year rent cuts as deep as 6% to 10% over the past seven months, the nation’s steepest declines during that period. That’s a stark contrast compared to the double-digit increases the market sustained from mid-2021 through early 2023. During that period, annual rent growth peaked at 34.7% in April 2022 and the market led the nation with annual rent growth of roughly 20% to 30% in July, August and September of that same year. Apartment operators in Cape Coral-Fort Myers have been cutting rents to try to preserve occupancy. Since early 2022, occupancy has fallen 620 basis points to register at 92% in May 2024, below the national average of 94.2%.