Top RealPage Analytics Blogs of 2023

As expenses rise, demand normalizes, supply skyrockets and elements of the housing market remain uncertain (interest rates, permitting, affordability concerns), 2023 was yet another year unlike any other in the multifamily industry.

Through it all, our team of economists, analysts and real estate writers made data the cornerstone of all our RealPage Analytics blogs. In 2023, here were the most-read stories on the RealPage Analytics blog.

We started the year off with a bang, which may have been the sound of a shoe dropping, come to think of it. With the final 2022 data releasing in the early days of January 2023, we learned that net apartment absorption ended in negative territory for calendar 2022, mostly driven by evaporated new-lease demand.

Our quarterly data updates were a mainstay on our list of top read blogs of 2022. First, in 1st quarter when demand tepidly returned, then again in 2nd quarter when absorption really rebounded and again in 3rd quarter when demand looked downright normal. On that note, expect a year-end 4th quarter 2023 update in early January.

We’ve dissected the current apartment supply wave in a number of ways. In October, RealPage Chief Economist Jay Parsons considered apartment supply through the lens of how each market's current supply peak compared to its previous peaks over the last 20+ years, giving a useful benchmark for past absorption capacity.

In October, RealPage Senior Director of Research & Analysis Carl Whitaker explained how and why our 2024 forecast was changing in light of some data updates and explained RealPage’s expectations for the coming year on a national scale.

While it is technically true that the 1 million multifamily units under construction nationwide as of April marked a 50-year high, Parsons explains why that’s a misleading accolade. For starters, there are more than twice as many multifamily units nationwide than there were in the 1970s, not to mention there are nearly twice as many adults between the ages of 25 to 54 compared to back then.

Those in the industry have been unsurprised to learn that record high apartment supply has softened rents in the Class A space. But perhaps far more surprising has been the softening in Class B units where rents have fallen more than twice as much as Class A units in the high-supply submarkets.

In early January, Whitaker argued that student housing was poised to have a strong year (spoiler: he was right) based on rent change and pre-leasing – and even considering some less-than-stellar enrollment stats.

On the heels of some unprecedented demand highs and lows in 2021 and 2022, Whitaker contemplated the types of apartment markets that were well positioned going into 2023, including college towns, markets with outsized job growth and affordable, low beta markets. (Here’s Whitaker’s scorecard at the end of 2023 discussing what he got right and what he missed.)

After 2nd quarter data released, it seemed apartment demand was all anyone could talk about (guilty). Although the nation at large absorbed about 83,000 units – failing to fully meet the concurrent 107,000 units that came online in 2nnd quarter, not every market experienced that supply and demand imbalance. Real Estate Writer Kim O’Brien examined the 14 apartment markets (among the nation’s 50 largest) where 2nd quarter 2023 absorption outpaced 2nd quarter 2023 supply.

Multifamily starts data released by the U.S. Census Bureau in October caused quite a bit of head scratching by the multifamily industry – including from our own Chief Economist. Parsons examined the supposed 12% dip in multifamily starts reported in October and argued why that decline was likely understated.

Beginning in November 2022, year-over-year U.S. wage growth topped effective apartment rent growth – a trend that has continued since. Parsons explained this wage growth misconception as well as methodology behind his math in a September blog post.

Bonus: Forecasting 2024’s Top Apartment Markets

This recent blog by RealPage Deputy Chief Economist and Director of Forecasting Arben Skivjani technically falls just outside of our top blogs of 2023. But considering it’s only a couple weeks old and gaining popularity fast, we’ll call it a bonus.