Even with a slowdown in the fall, this year’s rental market has been competitive. Nationally, the average renter had to compete with 13 other people to secure a vacant apartment, which didn’t stay listed much longer than a month, according to RentCafe’s 2022 Year-End Report.
RentCafe analyzed the nation’s 135 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 who competed 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 59.9 out of 130 in 2022.
According to RentCafe, almost two-thirds of renters nationwide renewed their leases this year instead of moving to a new rental or making the jump to homeownership. Finding a new rental wasn’t easy with 95.3% of apartments occupied; only 1.5% of the available apartments nationwide were built this year.
Miami ranked as the year’s hottest market with an RCI score of 118. This is attributed to an occupancy rate of 97.5% and 75% of renters renewing their leases. Despite the supply of apartments growing year over year by 2.8% in the market, a record 32 renters competed for a vacant apartment in the metro, with rental units being filled in 25 days.
Grand Rapids, Michigan, followed with an RCI of 112.6. According to RentCafe, this western Michigan city attracted young professionals and families from more expensive cities, like Detroit, Chicago, and Phoenix. With a surge in popularity and barely any new units opening in the first part of the year, occupancy was pushed to almost 97%. No fewer than 18 prospective renters competed for a vacant apartment, which got filled in 28 days. Approximately 70% of renters also renewed their leases in the market this year.
Orlando, Florida, was the third most competitive rental market in the nation with an RCI score of 109.3. While the apartment supply increased by 2.2%, renters still had few options; 96.8% of apartments for rent were occupied, with 72.5% choosing to stay put. With 21 prospective renters competing for a vacant apartment, units were filled within 28 days.
Other key findings from the year-end report included:
- Florida was this year’s rental hot spot: In addition to Miami and Orlando, Southwest Florida, Broward County, and Tampa ranked in the 20 most competitive markets;
- Seven Northeastern markets made the top 20, led by Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which has seen very few apartments added this year. Central Jersey was twice as competitive as Manhattan this year, with the highest lease renewal rate in the nation at 85% and an average occupancy rate close to 97%. North Jersey had a similar situation; and
- On the West Coast, California’s Orange County and San Diego, the state’s only markets to make the top 20, both continued to attract renters from Los Angeles and San Francisco.