Occupancy in Most Markets Improved in Past Year

  in   Insights

Among the nation’s 50 largest apartment markets, almost all made occupancy strides in the past year. Nationwide, occupancy has strengthened 40 basis points (bps) in the last year to stand at 96.3% in 3rd quarter 2019. Only two major markets fall below the essentially full occupancy mark of 95%, and both of those markets – San Antonio and Houston – have seen occupancy increase in the past year. In fact, 41 of the 50 largest markets improved over year-ago occupancy rates. Occupancy climbed by at least 100 bps in the past year in four markets – Greensboro/Winston-Salem, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Virginia Beach. All four of those markets saw rent growth climb well below national averages during the current economic cycle, allowing for some room in occupancy recently. Accounting for the biggest share of annual performance, 21 markets saw occupancy strengthen between 50 and 90 bps in the past 12 months. In another 16 markets, occupancy increases were softer, up to the national norm of 40 bps. Occupancy remained unchanged year-over-year in only one market: San Jose. This is also the market that has logged the most rent growth during the current cycle. Only eight U.S. apartment markets recorded occupancy softening in the past year, though no market saw occupancy fall by more than 50 bps. Among those eight markets, three were in Florida: Orlando, Jacksonville and Tampa.