Major Apartment Markets Recovered Price Positioning Very Quickly
After losing momentum during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic-induced downturn, the nation’s major apartment markets have returned to big rent growth volumes. Over the course of the past two years, the nation’s smaller apartment markets proved very resilient, logging tighter occupancy and stronger rent growth volumes than what was seen in major cities. On the other hand, bigger markets took a hit in both apartment occupancy and rent positioning, only to recover very fast. The nation’s largest 50 apartment markets went from annual effective asking rent growth around 3% in early 2020 to price cuts around 3% at the end of 2020 and the first few months of 2021, according to data from RealPage Market Analytics. The rebound was swift, however. As of July 2021, operators in the major markets were raising rents by 7.2% year-over-year, which was a recent record. As of April 2022, annual rent growth in the largest 50 markets was more than double that record at 16.6%. Smaller apartment markets (the next 100 largest after the top 50) also started out with rent growth around 3% in early 2020. While momentum was lost in these markets as well, operators never resorted to rent cuts. The bounce back was a bit slower in smaller markets, but it was still significant. After rent growth matched up with major markets at around 10% to 12% in August 2021, operators in smaller markets held back in comparison. As of April 2022, annual rent growth was at 13.2% in smaller markets, which is well below the major market trend, but still a very solid performance.