Apartment Vacancy Rates Over Time
Apartment List has developed a vacancy index to track changes in the availability of apartments over time. Vacancies are an important leading indicator of price, since changes in supply will encourage inverse changes in rents.
The COVID-19 pandemic shined a spotlight on this relationship when vacancy rates (and rents) fluctuated rapidly in a matter of months. Throughout the summer of 2020 vacancy rates ballooned in many of the nation's largest and most-expensive cities, while tightening in smaller ones. Urban markets got cheaper while suburban markets got more expensive. Last summer, vacancies have dropped everywhere, leading to widespread rent growth in urban and suburban markets alike. However, starting in fall of 2021, vacancy rates have been steadily increasing by an average of 0.1 percent per month. Although in 2022 the vacancy situation still remains historically tight, this steady increase might be a signal for some ease in the market and will likely continue to contribute to a slowdown in rent growth.
The interactive tool below displays the Apartment List Vacancy Index nationally and for some of the nation's major metropolitan areas. In metros like Boston, San Francisco, and Seattle, take note of how vacancies in the core and suburban cities diverged as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic hit.