Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Reis: Apartment Vacancy Rate increased in Q3 to 4.5%

by Bill McBride on 9/26/2017 10:37:00 AM

Reis reported that the apartment vacancy rate was at 4.5% in Q3 2017, up from 4.4% in Q2, and up from 4.1% in Q3 2016.  This is the highest vacancy rate since Q4 2012 (although the increase has been small).  The vacancy rate peaked at 8.0% at the end of 2009.

From Reis:

The apartment market continued to withstand the pressure from added supply in the third quarter as the national vacancy rate increased only 10 basis points to 4.5% in the quarter. With so much construction underway, vacancy rates were thought to grow higher. More importantly, asking rents increased 1.0% in the third quarter, while effective rents grew 0.9%.
...
Total inventory is still expected to increase significantly in 2017 and 2018; however, construction in the third quarter, 47,271 units, was again lower than expected. That said, this number should be revised once things get settled in Florida and Houston – two areas that have seen significant construction this year.

At 4.5%, the national vacancy rate increased 10 basis points from 4.4% in the second quarter. One year ago, the vacancy rate was 4.1%. Occupancy growth, or net absorption, was 31,352 units, lower than new supply. This pushed the vacancy rate up in the quarter.
emphasis added
Apartment Vacancy Rate Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the apartment vacancy rate starting in 1980. (Annual rate before 1999, quarterly starting in 1999). Note: Reis is just for large cities.

The vacancy rate had been mostly moving sideways for the last few years.  However it appears the vacancy rate has bottomed and is starting to increase.  With more supply coming on line later this year and next - and less favorable demographics - the vacancy rate will probably continue to increase slowly.

Apartment vacancy data courtesy of Reis.