The difference in average monthly rents in major markets and small markets has widened over the past 10 years and continues to grow. At the start of the current economic cycle in early 2010, the 50 largest markets were reaping average monthly rental rates of $1,224, while prices in the secondary markets averaged at $809, a $415 difference. Ten years later, that gap has widened to $661. What’s driving average rents further apart? While major markets have led for total rent growth on a same-store basis over the cycle, the difference is relatively slight. The bigger difference has come in new supply. Roughly 85% of the 2 million new apartments this cycle have come to major markets, and the majority of those new units opened at luxury price points. That has driven average rents overall higher in those major markets and will likely continue to do so. Of the nearly 555,000 apartments currently underway in the country, about 87% are rising in major markets.
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