Demographic and economic trends including a strengthening job picture, relatively flat homeownership rates, and the changing composition of today’s households, all continue to support strong rental market fundamentals. The average national rent for U.S. multi-family markets covered by RealFacts continued to rise in the third quarter of 2013, averaging $1,092 per month. The third quarter level represents an increase of 1.6% from second quarter levels and a 4.9% rise from a year ago. For the seventh consecutive quarter, average monthly rents remained above $1,000. Rents are expected to continue increasing for the nation as a whole, although at a more moderate pace compared to the past few years.
Despite increasing rental rates, occupancy levels continue to inch upward, with shifting demographics pointing towards steady demand for rentals in today’s market. The average national occupancy rate increased slightly to 94.0% in the third quarter, up from 93.9% in the second quarter and 93.8% in the first quarter. Nevertheless, occupancy rates continue to remain well below levels seen in the late 1990s, although occupancy is expected to continue to creep upwards in the short term.