Amid economic uncertainty and a surge of new apartment supply, this year’s peak rental season was less competitive compared with 2022, according to RentCafe’s latest Rental Market Competitiveness Report.
The report found that fewer renters competed for a vacant apartment—10 renters per unit this year compared with 15 last year. Occupancy also was slightly lower at 94% versus last year’s 95%, and apartments stayed on the market longer—37 days versus 32 days last year.
RentCafe analyzed 139 markets for the peak rental season, looking at five metrics that impact a location’s competitivity, including occupancy rate; vacant days; prospective renters per vacant unit; renewal lease rate; and the share of new apartments. The national Rental Competitivity Index score was 60, which means the apartment market is moderately competitive.
Miami topped the list as the most competitive apartment market for the second consecutive summer. With an occupancy rate of 97.1%, the market saw a record 25 renters competing for a vacant unit. In addition, 73% of renters renewed their leases during the peak rental season despite an increase of 1.04% in newly built apartments.
The Midwest took three of the top five spots, with Milwaukee jumping from No. 7 to the second hottest market. The market, with just 4% of apartments available, had 16 renters vying for each unit. Apartments also were occupied within 30 days. Suburban Chicago and Grand Rapids, Michigan, were ranked as the fourth and fifth most competitive markets, respectively, on the list.
Coming in at No. 3 was North New Jersey, the hottest renting locale in the Northeast. The occupancy rate was at 96.3% during peak rental season, with 71.4% of renters renewing their leases. On average, RentCafe found that available units were occupied within 34 days, with 15 prospective renters competing for each vacant apartment.
Also notable in the Northeast is New York’s post-pandemic recovery. Manhattan, No. 13, has joined the top 20 hottest markets for the first time in almost two years. With an occupancy rate of 94.7% and zero new apartments opened recently, 66% of renters renewed their leases during peak season. Nine renters vied for each vacant unit, which became occupied within 38 days, on average.
Brooklyn came in at No. 11. Two-thirds of renters decided to stay put this summer, leading to an occupancy rate of 96.1%. The average vacant apartment was filled within 38 days, with nine people competing for it.
On the West Coast, San Diego has surpassed Orange County as the Golden State’s hottest rental market. It had 96% occupancy, 51.3% of renters who renewed, 17 prospective renters per unit, and an average of 33 days for vacant apartments to be filled.