Asking rents rose by 10.3% year over year in August, marking the first double-digit YOY increase in the history of the Yardi Matrix Multifamily National Report dataset.
At the same time, overall rents have risen by $25 in August and $140 this year to date, up to a national average rent of $1,539. Overall occupancy has also risen by 0.9% from one year ago, up to 95.6%.
Every metro tracked by Yardi Matrix showed positive year-over-year rent growth in August, except for Queens, New York, at -0.5% and Midland-Odessa, Texas, at -5.5%. Rent growth recovery is widespread, no longer concentrated in Southwest and Southeast tech hubs, owing to residents returning to urban cores, job growth, and an increased savings rate.
All of the top 30 metros now show positive YOY rent growth for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. Phoenix led the top 30 markets for YOY rent growth at a staggering 22%, followed by Tampa, Florida, at 20.2% and Las Vegas at 19.2%. According to Yardi, all three markets benefit from strong job growth and excess savings that enable renters to afford more expensive apartments. New York and San Francisco remain at the bottom at 2.8% and 1.4%, respectively, below pre-pandemic rent levels.
While YOY rent growth may seem incredibly strong in some gateway markets, Yardi notes these numbers are slightly misleading, as they compare today’s rents with last August, when rent growth in many gateway metros had hit bottom. In an alternate comparison of rent growth pre- and post-pandemic, five out of the seven gateway markets have surpassed rent growth levels observed in March 2020. Miami is in the double digits at 16.2%, followed by Boston at 7%, Chicago at 6.4%, Los Angeles at 4.9%, and Washington, D.C., at 3.9%.
New York and San Francisco remain negative at -3.8% and -3.2%, respectively. Yardi attributes this ongoing growth decline in part to continued remote work, particularly at large companies that have delayed returns to the office due to the surge in the delta variant.
On a month-over-month basis, rents rose by 1.7% in August. All of the top 30 metros saw positive month-over-month rent growth, while 26 out of 30 showed 1% rent growth or higher. Las Vegas led the way with 3.3% rent growth month to month, followed by California’s Inland Empire and Seattle at 3.1%.
Many of the metros in the top 10 for August are secondary markets in the Southeast and Southwest. Kansas City, Missouri, fell to the bottom of the top 30 at 0.2%, followed by San Francisco at 0.5% and the Twin Cities at 0.7%.
Rents for single-family build-to-rent communities rose 13.9% YOY in August, far outpacing growth in the traditional multifamily sector. All of the top 30 metros showed positive rent growth year over year, while 20 out of the top 30 showed double-digit rent growth. Tampa led the way with 38.4% YOY growth, followed by Miami at 26.7%.
Occupancy at single-family build-to-rent communities has risen 1.1% YOY, led by San Antonio—up 6.7% YOY—and Indianapolis and Houston, both up 5.6%.