The anticipated slowdown in multifamily performance arrived last month, as rents drop and the sector clocked its lowest year-over-year growth since mid-2021, according to the latest Yardi Matrix National Multifamily Report. U.S. asking rents fell $9 during the month to $1,719, while year-over-year growth dropped to seven percent, the lowest level in 17 months. The decreases are attributed to economic headwinds and deteriorating demand. The $9 rollback was the largest one-month decline in rents in over a decade.
The deterioration in rents was not unexpected. Rent increases have far exceeded normal growth patterns for nearly two years. Average asking rents increased by 22 percent nationally between January 2021 and October 2022, a rate that would be unsustainable under optimal conditions.Learn more in the latest Matrix National Multifamily Report.“With the economy softening, demand for units slowing and rising interest rates creating head- winds for housing, multifamily asking rent growth finally took a turn downward in November,” states the report. “The decades-high inflation rate has left household balance sheets in a weaker position than a year ago, while economic growth is slowing as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates.” Absorption of apartments has been positive in 2022, but well below 2021 levels that were boosted by strong job growth and household savings coming out of the pandemic. Average U.S. rents are up 6.4 percent year-to-date, and the national occupancy rate, while slipping in recent months, is a healthy 95.6 percent. And while rent growth has turned negative in many metros this fall, every one of Matrix’s top 30 metros maintains positive year-over-year growth. The single-family rental market is also declining. The average U.S. asking rent dropped $5 in November to $2,091, while the year-over-year increase fell by 80 basis points to 5.9 percent.