The tables have turned, with Miami taking back the title of the nation’s hottest rental market from North Jersey, according to RentCafe’s most recent Rental Competitivity Report.
RentCafe analyzed the nation’s 137 largest markets at the start of the year’s prime 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.
On the national level, 94% of apartments are occupied this rental season, which is slightly less than 95.1% a year ago. Vacant apartments also are taking longer to fill at 43 days on average, with only nine prospective renters competing to secure a vacant apartment. One year ago, apartments filled one week faster with more applicants competing for the same rental.
In addition, according to RentCafe, the start of the rental season is seeing a high lease renewal rate of 60% and only a 0.63% uptick in new apartments, which can make finding a new rental challenging.
Out of the 137 markets analyzed, RentCafe shares that approximately 37% are showing signs of softening in at least four of the five relevant metrics in terms of competitivity.
Miami ranks first, with a Rental Competitivity Index (RCI) score of 120, twice the national average of 60. This is attributed to a high occupancy rate of 97%. As many as 24 prospective renters are competing for a vacant apartment in the metro, with rental units being filled within 33 days.
North Jersey, which encompasses Jersey City and Newark, slips to the second spot. With an RCI score of 117, the market suffers from low apartment supply. It has a high occupancy rate of 96.4%. The number of rental apartments has increased by a modest 0.3% in recent months. With few options available, 70.9% of renters decided to renew their leases.
Other key findings from the RentCafe report:
- Florida has several hot spots on the list. Southwest Florida, which includes Naples, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bradenton, and Port Charlotte, ranks third. Less than 4% of rentals are available, and recently completed apartments only make up 0.9% of the area’s housing supply. As a result, over two-thirds of renters have renewed their leases, leading to 13 prospective renters competing for each vacant unit. Broward County follows at No. 4. New supply only has inched up marginally in recent months, and occupancy is at 95.5%, making it a challenging market for prospective renters.
- The Midwest is attracting renters looking for affordable and spacious housing. Omaha, Nebraska, ranks sixth on the list, while suburban Chicago comes in 10th. Omaha’s rental apartment availability is extremely limited at 4%, and recent new completions only saw a 0.5% increase. An average of 14 apartment seekers are applying for each vacant unit. In suburban Chicago, the occupancy rate is 95.3%, which has led to a high renewal rate of 65.9% and 14 applicants per available unit.
- For the nation’s most competitive small-sized markets, the Northeast boasts seven locales in the top 20. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, tops the list, with an RCI of 123. With zero apartments opened recently and limited options to choose from, RentCafe reports more than three-quarters, 76.9%, of renters renewing their leases. This pushed the occupancy rate to 96.2%. Fayetteville, Arkansas, ranks second for the most competitive small rental markets. This market has seen a 0.96% uptick in new apartments, but rentals are scarce so many choose to renew their leases. With less than 3% of rental units available, it only takes 18 days for the average vacant apartment to fill, the fastest among the 137 analyzed markets.