The national average for apartment occupancy has inched up month over month to 94.2% in April, the first increase since February 2022, according to RealPage Market Analytics.

While the increase is only 10 basis points (bps) above March, the trend was seen across all four major regions.

“April’s positive occupancy increase highlights strengthening apartment demand is carrying forward from the highest-ever first quarter tally, which saw more than 100,000 units absorbed on net,” said RealPage senior director of research and analysis Carl Whitaker. “It also suggests demand trends are returning to more normal seasonal patterns, whereby the late spring/early summer months see the strongest demand.”

The average apartment rent growth, however, was restrained due to the influx of new supply. According to RealPage, effective asking rents for professionally managed apartments only saw a 0.2% month-over-month bump in April and an even slimmer year-over-year growth figure of 0.1%.

The year-over-year growth figure has remained close to zero since August, with RealPage predicting much of the same for the remainder of 2024.

“Improved demand and stabilizing occupancy—yet tepid at best rent growth—highlights the current imbalance of supply and demand across the nation,” noted Whitaker. “That is, demand has been stronger than usual, but it’s being met with the highest new supply total since 1986. As such, both rents and occupancy showed increases due to seasonality—but their rate of increase remains below historically normal levels for this time of year.”

Additional highlights from the April report include:

  • Several of the nation’s weakest markets for occupancy saw improvements last month. This includes San Antonio, which saw a 30-bp increase between March and April to stand at 91.3%. Memphis, Tennessee, and Fort Worth, Texas, also saw 20-bp increases month over month to stand at 91.9% and 92.1%, respectively;
  • Fourteen major markets recorded year-over-year rent growth of 2% or more in April, with eight in the Midwest. Milwaukee led the way with 3.5% rent growth. Other top-performing markets included Boston; Newark, New Jersey; Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Washington, D.C.;
  • Austin, Texas, remained at the bottom for rent growth, seeing year-over-year rent cuts of 7.4%;
  • All four major regions posted month-over-month rent growth; and
  • The Midwest was the regional year-over-year rent growth winner with 2.7% growth, followed by the Northeast with a 2.4% hike.