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National Multifamily Market Report – October 2021

National Multifamily Market Report October 2021
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Cooldown Delayed, Annual Rent Growth Continues Unparalleled Performance


The U.S. multifamily market continues to break records, in both long- and short-term performance. Occupancy reaches an all-time high.

Report Highlights

  • National asking rents rise 13.7% year-over-year, accelerate again on a month-over-month basis, up 1.5%.
  • Occupancy rises to 96.1% in September; 475,000 units absorbed through September, surpassing the all-time annual high.
  • Lifestyle rents maintain lead over Renter-by-Necessity segment.
  • Rents for single-family rentals rise 14.7% year-over-year, occupancy softens to 0.8%.

Rent Growth’s Upward Trend Prolonged by Another Month, Up 13.7% YoY, Demand Pushes Absorption to New Highs

Previous forecasts pointed to a softening in rent growth at the start of the cold season, but 2021 is not a normal year: strong demand, robust job growth, insufficient supply and dense migration to low-cost housing markets have pushed the average rent up 13.7% year-over-year, a new record high recorded by Yardi Matrix. The national rate reached $1,572 in October following a $23 increase from September. Occupancy has also marked a record-high of 96.1% in September, following a 1.4% uptick.

Phoenix (26.3%), Tampa (25.8) and Las Vegas (23.0%) remained in the lead for rent growth, but almost a quarter of Matrix’s top 30 markets posted rent increases of at least 20%. Moreover, 23 of these 30 markets had rents above 10%, including typically slow-growth metros such as Baltimore (13.0%), Philadelphia (10.7%) and Indianapolis (10.4%). Minneapolis (4.8%) was the only one below the 5% mark. Remarkable performance was recorded in smaller metros, too: 14 metros outside the top 30 had double-digit rent growth, with the Southwest Florida Coast (29.1%), Jacksonville (21.7%) and Tucson (20.1%) leading.

The Closing of Occupancy’s Historical Gap—96.1%

The Lifestyle segment continued to lead in rent growth on a month-over-month basis, up 1.6%, while Renter-by-Necessity units rose 1.2%. The overall 1.5% rent growth is 50 basis points over the September rate, atypical for this time of the year. In addition, the historical occupancy gap between the quality segments has closed, both clocking in at 96.1% as of September. Multifamily absorption totaled 475,000 units during the first three quarters of 2021, already surpassing an annual all-time high.

In short-term rent changes, no metros registered negative growth overall. In addition, eight metros posted gains of 2.0% or more: Phoenix and Orlando (2.5%), Miami, Orange County and Las Vegas (2.4%), Tampa (2.3%), Atlanta (2.1%) and Charlotte (2.0%). Gateway markets—struggling until not long ago—also fared well: New York (1.6%), Los Angeles (1.4%), Boston (1.3%) and Washington, D.C. (1.1%). People are returning to gateway markets, as shown by the 108,000 units absorbed in 2021 through September, which puts them ahead secondary and tertiary markets.

If typical seasonal patterns still apply, rent growth should begin to decelerate. In the September – March period, rent growth usually softens, but current market dynamics are hard to predict. This unpredictability is reflected by comparing this month’s rent increase ($23) with the previous six Octobers—when rents increased by $2 on average.

Single-Family Rental Sector Maintains Advantage Over Multifamily; Texas Leads in Occupancy Gains

Asking rents in the single-family rental sector rose 14.7% year-over-year basis through October. Demand for this housing products is spotty across the map: Miami (41.9%), Tampa (41.0%) and Phoenix (24.8%) took the leading spots, while the bottom rankings were as low as 6.2% in Pittsburgh, 6.4% in Kansas City and 6.9% in San Antonio. Detroit (19.5%), Los Angeles (18.7%), Cleveland (18.1%) and Baltimore (17.2%) also posted strong performance.

The occupancy rate rose 0.8% year-over-year through September, 40 basis points below the rate recorded in the previous month. Texas metros Houston (9.1%), San Antonio (7.0%) and Austin (3.3%) led the nation. Flat or negative occupancy growth was recorded in nine metros.

Read the full Matrix Multifamily National Report-October 2021


About the author


Anca Gagiuc

Anca Gagiuc brings more than a decade of experience within the real estate industry. She is a senior associate editor with Commercial Property Executive and Multi-Housing News who also writes monthly multifamily reports at Yardi Matrix.


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