Apartment property revenues in the U.S. grew approximately 5.2% in 2015, with rents for new-resident leases up 4.8% and occupancy up 40 basis points. That performance proved similar to the 4.9% revenue growth performance posted in 2014, when rents for new residents increased 4.6% and occupancy improved 30 basis points.
While performance momentum, on average, basically held steady over the past year, select metros logged notably strong acceleration in the revenue growth pace. Let’s look at the markets where performances in 2015 meaningfully topped 2014 growth and gauge whether in 2016 those metros can sustain their recent impressive showings.
Portland displayed more acceleration in momentum than any other local apartment market during 2015. Revenue growth (again, that’s defined as the change in effective rents for new residents plus the change in occupancy) improved 520 basis points to 12.3% in 2015 from an already-terrific figure of 7.1% in 2014. Expecting another year of growth at 2015’s sky-high level looks like a stretch for Portland, especially when new product deliveries are slated to climb by about a third. However, with forecast revenue growth close to the 9% mark, the metro’s 2016 performance still should top the national norm by a huge margin.
Las Vegas ranked in the #2 spot for improved momentum over the past year, with 2015 revenue growth of 9% topping 2014’s 4.6% increase by 440 basis points. As with Portland, the recent stats in Las Vegas look hard to repeat, but the market still should outperform the nation as a whole in 2016. Revenue growth around 5% is anticipated during the coming year.
In one of the more notable upside surprises seen across the metro-level apartment sector performances in 2015, Charlotte’s apartment revenue growth pace accelerated 400 basis points, going to 6.6% from the 2.6% rate achieved in 2014. What made that momentum way better-than-anticipated was that it occurred at the same time that the metro’s inventory grew 3.6%, one of the more aggressive new product delivery volumes seen nationally. While 2015’s product deliveries were substantial, 2016’s volume will be even bigger, as expansion is scheduled to hit 4.1%. MPF Research, then, expects Charlotte’s apartment market to shift from outperformer to underperformer status in 2016, with revenue growth held between 2% and 3%.
In Austin, revenue growth of 6.0% in 2015 topped 2014’s growth rate of 2.4% by 360 basis points. Up 350 basis points, Tampa’s 2015 revenue growth pace reached 8.4%, compared to the 2014 rate of 4.9%. Revenue growth in 2016 is anticipated just over 3% in both locales, falling short of the increases posted in the past year but still healthy and pretty similar to the growth in apartment revenues forecast across the nation as a whole.
Additional metros where apartment revenue growth in 2015 accelerated by at least 200 basis points over 2014’s performance included Seattle-Tacoma, Nashville, Fort Lauderdale, Raleigh-Durham and Sacramento. Within that group, a couple of metros stand out for different reasons.
First, Nashville is like Charlotte in that it notably surpassed 2015 expectations and now looks positioned for a sizable pullback in its revenue growth pace due to a huge jump in completions on the way. Inventory is scheduled to expand 6.4% in the coming year, doubling 2015’s delivery volume. Forecast revenue growth under 3% moves Nashville to the U.S. underperformer list for the coming year.
Second, Raleigh-Durham is the sole market on the list of 2015 momentum leaders where the 2016 performance is expected to basically match the results achieved in the past year. After a slowdown in deliveries helped the Triangle’s occupancy and rent growth results get back on track in 2015, continued fairly moderate new supply in 2016 is one of the influences pointing to another year of revenue growth in the range of 4% to 5% over the near term.