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US Apartment Rent Growth Continues To Decelerate, Particularly In S.F. And Denver

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Apartments, multifamily

National monthly rents dropped for the third consecutive month in November, declining $2 to an average $1,214, according to Yardi Matrix’s monthly survey of 123 markets. The hardest hit: markets that traditionally have been very hot.

“It’s kind of a continuation of a trend we’ve seen over the last several months. There is a general declaration of rent growth, so you’re seeing a sequential decline in average rents, which is not atypical for this time of the year,” Yardi Matrix VP Jeff Adler tells Bisnow. “Rent growth year-over-year is decelerating, even in markets that are hot. Denver and San Francisco, which have been on fire, seeing 12% to 13% rent growth, continue to see more rapid deceleration and have definitely cooled.”

Compared to last year, rents grew 4.3%. Still, that’s a 240 basis points drop from last October’s 6.7% high. Short-term rent decreases last month were led by Denver, San Francisco, Baltimore and Boston.

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Also worth noting, Jeff says, is the high-end product that continues to come online. Those markets where new supply accounts for 15% to 20% of their total supply, including Downtown Portland and Denver, are struggling.

Despite the deceleration, Yardi reports apartment fundamentals are strong and growth remains 200 bps above the long-term average. The firm expects robust absorption to continue, no matter the challenges that may arise should President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress make big changes to policies. Economists say Trump’s promise to boost economic growth and keep US jobs in the country may force the Fed to increase interest rates at a quicker pace in an effort to keep inflation down.

“As long as interest rates don’t go up too quickly, valuations won’t get hurt,” Jeff says. “Really the question is how much will interest rates move relative to income growth?”