Charleston Leads Nation in 10-Year Inventory Growth
Over the past 10 years, Charleston’s existing apartment base grew by more than 60%, or an average of about 6% each year. That was by far the fastest expansion pace among the 150 core markets tracked by RealPage Market Analytics. More recently, Charleston’s inventory grew 4.4% in the year-ending 1st quarter 2023, ranking #12 among the nation’s core 150 markets. This coastal South Carolina market now has roughly 71,000 existing units. Mounting supply volumes have had little effect on the market until recently. Over the past year, Charleston has seen rent growth and occupancy ease from record highs achieved in 2021. Occupancy in Charleston has fallen 320 basis points since September 2021 to just 93.7% in May 2023. That recent reading was below the U.S. norm (94.7%) and slightly under the market’s average of 94.1% in the five years leading up to the pandemic (2015-2019). Meanwhile, effective asking rents in Charleston climbed 6% in the year-ending May 2023, a pace that was more than twice the national average (2.3%). Although that recent rent increase was well below the peak of 21.5% from November 2021, it was well above the market’s pre-pandemic five-year norm of 3.5%. Annual rent growth in Charleston has now exceeded the national average for three years. New supply will continue to test Charleston’s apartment market fundamentals. In the year-ending 1st quarter 2024, the market is expected to grow another 4.6% with the addition of nearly 3,300 units.