Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Reis: Apartment Vacancy Rate increased in Q1 to 4.7%

by Bill McBride on 3/28/2018 12:25:00 PM

Reis reported that the apartment vacancy rate was at 4.7% in Q1 2018, up from 4.6% in Q4, and up from 4.3% in Q1 2017.  This is the highest vacancy rate since Q3 2012. The vacancy rate peaked at 8.0% at the end of 2009, and bottomed at 4.1% in 2016.

From Reis:

Continuing on its upward path, the apartment vacancy rate increased to 4.7% from 4.6% at year-end 2017 and 4.3% in the first quarter of 2017. The vacancy rate has increased 60 basis points from a low of 4.1% in Q3 2016.

The national average asking rent increased 0.9% in the first quarter while effective rents, which net out landlord concessions, increased 0.8%. At $1,382 (market) and $1,318 (effective) per unit, the average rents have increased 4.4% and 3.9%, respectively, from the first quarter of 2017.

Net absorption was 27,875 units, well below the average quarterly absorption of 2017 of 44,707 units. Construction was also low at 39,917 units, trailing the 2017 quarterly average of 58,824 units. We caution that the first quarter tends to see the lowest activity, but this was particularly low given the construction pipeline.
Although many metros are expected to see considerably higher levels of completions in 2018 – including Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, Denver and Atlanta – the expected increase in vacancy is not expected to exceed 2.5% in any market as job growth is expected to remain healthy in most metros fueling the demand for apartments.
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, the vacancy rate has bottomed and is starting to increase.  With more supply coming on line - and less favorable demographics - the vacancy rate will probably continue to increase in 2018.

Apartment vacancy data courtesy of Reis.