Multifamily Occupancy Levels Stabilize at 94%

Apartment occupancy has perhaps reached an inflection point – a sign of stability – according to data from RealPage Market Analytics

For the first time since February 2022, the national average for apartment occupancy ticked up month-over-month to stand at 94.2% in April 2024.

This is 10 basis points (bps) above March’s reading. The rise is reflected in all four apartment regions – Northeast, Midwest, South, and West.

“April’s positive occupancy increase highlights strengthening apartment demand is carrying forward from the highest-ever first quarter tally – which saw more than 100,000 units absorbed on net,” RealPage Senior Director of Research and Analysis Carl Whitaker said in prepared remarks.

Whitaker said this also suggests demand trends are returning to more normal seasonal patterns whereby the late spring/early summer months see the strongest demand. New supply is pressuring effective rents, which ticked up 0.2% month-over-month, keeping the year-over-year figure subdued to just 0.1% growth, according to RealPage.

The firm said annual rent should likely hover around zero growth for the rest of the year.

Whitaker said the numbers reflect an imbalance of supply and demand across the US. “That is, demand has been stronger than usual but it’s being met with the highest new supply total since 1986,” he commented. “As such, both rents and occupancy showed increases due to seasonality – but their rate of increase remains below historically normal levels for this time of year.”

San Antonio – the nation’s weakest occupancy performer among the top 50 markets – posted a 30-bps improvement in occupancy from March to April to stand at 91.3% in April.

Memphis and Fort Worth, which also ranked among the bottom markets nationwide for apartment occupancy, posted 20-bps increases from March to April to stand at 91.9% and 92.1%, respectively.

The Midwest was home to eight of the 14 major markets to see 2% rent growth for the year as of April.

Milwaukee’s rose 3.5% and Washington, DC, Virginia Beach, Newark, and Boston also fared well. Austin was the nation’s rent growth laggard among major markets, posting rent cuts of 7.4% in the year-ending April.

“Austin was joined by many other high-supply markets where operators continue to struggle, realizing pricing power with such fierce competition to fill units,” according to the report.

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