2021 was a highly competitive year for renters in many areas as they faced a perfect storm: high demand, low Phoenix apartment availability and applicants with top-notch credit scores. In the most extreme situations, occupancy rates bounced to 98%, while more than 35 renters competed nationally for a vacant apartment, which got occupied in just two weeks, according to RentCafe’s Year End Report.

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Without enough supply for this year’s soaring interest from renters, Phoenix apartments were hard to come by.

Here are the highlights from the report for Phoenix:

• Phoenix is the 39th most competitive U.S. rental market. Renters struggled to find an apartment here as they met an awful mix of high occupancy rates of 96.3%, and 20 applicants competing for an apartment that stays available for 25 days.

• Phoenix’s 96.3% occupancy rate is above the national average of 95%. Low rental supply can lead to such numbers, where prospecting renters won’t be able to find an available unit too soon.

• Apartments in Phoenix stay vacant for 25 days. With such a high occupancy rate, any new vacancy gets filled in less than a month.

• 20 prospective renters per apartment. When there aren’t enough apartments to go around, you get situations like in Phoenix where there are 20 applicants per unit – the national average is 14.

• Renter Credit Score for a Phoenix apartment is under the average. Phoenix renters made due with credit scores of 631, just under the national average of 640.

National report

In 2021, the most competitive rental markets were small metros, within close proximity of nature that allow for an affordable lifestyle. So, with their high demand, low apartment availability and renters with high credit scores, the top three most coveted locations to rent in this year were Eugene, OR; San Diego, CA; and Knoxville, TN.