Apartment demand in recent months has slowed, with rents in some parts of the country declining, according to new information compiled by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.
But in looking at trends since 2022, a senior research associate at the Harvard center noted that many lower-income renters across the country “still struggle to pay the rent.”
The latest statistics play off the center’s comprehensive America’s Rental Housing 2022 study, which noted that rental demand was booming, while also remarking that the “need for a permanent, fully funded housing safety net is more urgent than ever.”
According to statistics compiled by researcher Whitney Airgood-Obrycki, asking rents last year climbed by around 11.3%, with growth of more than 6% seen in the most modestly priced markets. That 6% average for the entire year, however, had declined to 4.3% at the end of 2022.
A perhaps surprising increase in apartment vacancy rates, notes Airgood-Obrycki, was “in part a function of robust multifamily construction coming online.” Altogether, just over 370,000 multifamily units were completed as of December, with another very large 936,000 units under construction.
“The number of units under construction should provide a significant number of completions in coming years,” said Airgood-Obrycki, “but cooling markets conditions will likely lead to a slowdown in starts.”
Also contributing to what is expected to be a growing national apartment stock: the passage last fall of nearly $2 billion in local affordable housing bonds nationally. Local elections also saw approval of many ballot measures calling for an increase in fees and taxes “to generate revenues for affordable housing programs.”
By Garry Boulard
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