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Nationally, the average renter had to compete with nine other people to secure a vacant apartment amid limited options, as 94% of rentals were occupied this year, according to RentCafe’s 2023 Year-End Report.

RentCafe analyzed the nation’s 139 largest markets where data was available, looking at five metric’s that impact a location’s competitivity, including the number of days apartments were vacant, the percentage of rentals that were occupied, the number of prospective renters competing for an apartment; the percentage of renters who renewed their leases; and the share of apartment completions this year. Based on these metrics, the national Rental Competitivity Index (RCI) score was 59.5 out of 130 in 2023.

According to RentCafe, typically apartments stayed on the market for 38 days. In addition, 60.2% of renters nationwide renewed their leases this year instead of moving to a new rental or making the jump to homeownership. At the same time, the nation’s apartment supply increased by 1.89% in 2023.

Miami was the year’s hottest market with an RCI score of 122. While new supply increased by 3.7% since January, it hasn’t been enough to keep up with demand, according to RentCafe. The market saw 71.2% of renters renewing their lease, and each vacant rental saw 22 applicants vying for it—more than double the national average. Apartments also were taken off the market quickly—often snapped up within a month.

Despite starting the year at the top, North Jersey came in as the second most competitive market for 2023 with an RCI score of 116. According to RentCafe, the market—the only one in the Northeast to score higher than 100 points—saw fierce competition this year, with an occupancy rate of 96.3%, 70.5% of renters renewing their leases, and a 1.98% boost in new supply. Fourteen prospective renters competed for a vacant apartment, which got filled as fast as 34 days.

The Midwest ranked as the most competitive region for renting in 2023, with a lower cost of living and ample space. The region touted 10 of the top 30 most competitive markets, with four earning RCI scores over 100.

Milwaukee came in as the nation’s third hottest rental market, with an RCI score of 113. Less than 5% of its apartments were available at any given time, and over two-thirds of renters, 69.6%, opted to stay put this year. Even with local supply growing 2.91%, the demand remained high with most apartments staying on the market for 33 days and 14 renters competing for each available unit. Grand Rapids, Michigan, garnered fourth place in RentCafe’s rankings, while Omaha, Nebraska, came in at No. 6.

Other key findings from the year-end report include:

  • Following a calm 2022, Manhattan, Silicon Valley, and Los Angeles reemerged as competitive rental markets. For example, Manhattan saw a 1% rise in occupancy rates from 95% to 96% and only a 0.16% increase in new apartments; Silicon Valley available apartments rented as quickly as 33 days—among the fastest in the nation; and Eastern Los Angeles County is a newcomer in the top 30 with the second largest number of prospective renters after Miami—18.
  • Suburban Philadelphia was the second hottest rental market in the Northeast and the eighth most competitive in the nation. With an RCI score of 99, more than three-quarters of renters extended their leases and the overall occupancy rate was 94.7%;
  • Orange County is the hottest rental market in California. At No. 15, it boasted an occupancy rate of 95.9%, with 13 prospective renters competing for each vacant unit and 60.5% of renters renewing their leases; and
  • Fayetteville, Arkansas, was the most competitive small rental market in 2023. Bolstered by the University of Arkansas and the growing Northwest Arkansas region, it touted an occupancy rate of 97.2%. More than three-quarters of the current renters renewed their leases, and most apartments were occupied in 18 days—the fastest in the nation.