Rent Slowdowns Continue into 4th Month

The seasonal slowdown in rents continued last month with the nationwide median rent falling 0.9 percent to $1,340, Apartment List says

The seasonal slowdown in rents continued last month with the nationwide median rent falling 0.9 percent to $1,340, Apartment List says in their December report.

The report says this is the fourth month of rent declines.

Seasonality, the low apartment demand during the winter holiday season, will likely continue to push rents down for another month or two. This year, the slow season started a month earlier than usual, with a slight 0.1 percent rent drop in August. Monthly declines have gotten progressively steeper in the months since, with rents falling by 0.6 percent in September, 0.8 percent in October, and now 0.9 percent in November.

“Year-over-year rent growth has bottomed out but remains in negative territory at -1.1 percent, meaning that on average, apartments across the country are slightly cheaper today than they were one year ago. This stands in sharp contrast to the prevailing conditions of 2021 and 2022, when rent prices were surging and year-over-year growth peaked at 18 percent nationally. But despite this cooldown, the national median rent is still nearly $250 per month higher than it was just three years ago,” the report says.

New construction produces an abundance of vacant units

With the construction pipeline of new apartments still near record levels, “we expect that there will continue to be an abundance of vacant units on the market in the year ahead,” the report says.

Regionally, rents fell in October in 89 of the nation’s 100 largest cities, and prices are down year-over-year in 68 of these 100 cities.

The sharpest rent declines over the past year are concentrated in California markets like Oakland, San Francisco, and Long Beach, where apartment demand remains sluggish.

Apartment vacancies are back above pre-pandemic levels

“Our national vacancy index has been easing steadily for two full years. Today the index stands at 6.4 percent, representing a return to pre-pandemic levels. This easing has plateaued in recent months, but we don’t expect it to tighten again anytime soon,” the report says.

Despite a recent slowdown in new building permits being issued, the number of multifamily units under construction remains near record levels. The report also says that vacancy trends can be highly localized.


November’s 0.9 percent rent decline puts us squarely in the rental market’s slow season, and keeps year-over-year rent growth in the negative at -1.1 percent. Monthly rent declines are expected to persist through the remainder of the year, consistent with the market’s typical seasonality.

“Looking further ahead, a robust construction pipeline should drive strong supply growth in the year ahead. On the other hand, the extent to which demand rebounds or remains sluggish will likely depend on broader macroeconomic conditions,” the report says.

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