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Miami Tops List Of Most Competitive Rental Markets Despite Burst Of New Inventory

Developers will deliver 20,906 new apartments in Miami by the end of the year, the fourth-largest development pipeline in the country, according to RentCafe. But that wave of supply has done nothing to stop Miami from once again being the most competitive market in the country for apartment renters.

It's the second consecutive year that Miami-Dade County had the nation's most competitive rental market.

For every new unit delivered in Miami-Dade County in 2023, there was an average of 22 prospective renters looking to move in, the highest ratio of any major market in the country for the second consecutive year in RentCafe’s year-end analysis of the 139 largest markets in the U.S. 

Apartment occupancy is at 96.9% despite a 3.7% increase in inventory as a wave of new projects delivered, the lowest vacancy rate of any of the 30 most competitive large markets across the U.S., according to RentCafe. The average Miami apartment spends 31 days vacant, and 71.2% of renters opted to renew this year rather than hunt for housing in a tight market.  

The region’s strong apartment market is fueled by the continued flow of new arrivals looking for job opportunities, especially in the growing tech sector, and a shifting condo market that has seen wealthy domestic buyers purchase units for themselves rather than as rental properties, according to the report. 

Florida’s business-friendly environment and lack of income tax has also helped Miami and other markets across the state maintain momentum that was supercharged by in-migration during the pandemic.

Broward County also climbed the ranks to become the seventh-most competitive large market, rising from 14th place in 2022. The two South Florida counties were the only Florida markets to place in the top 10, but Orlando, Southwest Florida and Tampa all rank among the top 30. Palm Beach County ranks 22nd among smaller rental markets with a 94.7% occupancy rate and 12 applicants for each unit. 

The RentCafe analysis reflects a broader softening of the U.S. apartment sector, with 86% of markets becoming more relaxed in 2023. Across the U.S., occupancy fell 1.3 percentage points from 2022 and sits at 94%, with nine renters competing for each available unit, down from a national average of 14 applicants a year earlier. 

Much of the dip in occupancy can be attributed to an influx of new inventory, with more than 460,000 new units coming online this year and more than 1 million units delivering over the last three years. 

Rent growth has sputtered, turning negative in August for the first time since early in the pandemic, according to Apartment List. The nominal slowdown of the multifamily market has led more landlords to offer concessions, with 43 of the 50 largest U.S. markets now seeing more concessions than a year ago, according to Zillow. 

The RentCafe report also signals that remote work opportunities have helped shift many renters into the middle of the country, with Midwest cities claiming 10 of the 30 top spots and emerging as the most competitive region in 2023. 

Apartments in Milwaukee, ranked third, spend an average of 33 days vacant and see 14 prospective renters, putting it ahead of Grand Rapids, Michigan, suburban Chicago and Omaha, Nebraska. 

Markets in the Northeast make up the remaining spots in the top 10, with Northern New Jersey ranked second and suburban Philadelphia in eighth, just ahead of Brooklyn and Central New Jersey.