Rent Growth in This Small Midwest Market Outpaces National Average
Rent growth in Wichita, Kansas has outpaced the U.S. norm for the past six consecutive months. This small Midwest market, with a population of around 650,000 and less than 36,300 existing units, recorded a 6% increase in effective asking rents during the year-ending March 2023. According to data from RealPage Market Analytics, that rent growth pace was notably ahead of the U.S. average (3.9%) and far above the market’s pre-pandemic average annual growth pace from 2015 to 2019 (1.3%). However, Wichita didn’t experience the massive rent change swings that most other markets across the country witnessed during the pandemic. In fact, Wichita avoided year-over-year rent cuts and only briefly ventured into double-digit rent growth last year. Despite rent increases of late, Wichita is still a bargain for renters. Effective asking rents in the market averaged $850 in March 2023, making Wichita the most affordable apartment market among RealPage’s core 150 metros. Furthermore, Wichita’s monthly rent was less than half the national average ($1,792). Perhaps driving rent growth in Wichita is the fact that the market has seen very little new supply. Just 32 units came online here in the past year, having a negligible impact on inventory. And over the past five years, Wichita’s inventory increased less than 5%, compared to the national average growth pace of just over 9%. And yet occupancy in Wichita measured 94.1% in March, below the national average of 94.7%. Still, Wichita’s recent occupancy rate was in line with the market’s average rate during the five years leading up to the pandemic.