Market U.S. rent growth was a solid 3.0 percent in 2019, according to the Yardi Matrix Multifamily Report. Year-over-year growth remained between 3.0 percent and 3.3 percent the entire year.
Despite deliveries of roughly 300,000 units in 2019, the occupancy rate for stabilized properties was 94.9 percent as of November, down only 10 basis points over the last year. The employment market, which averaged 180,000 new jobs per month, and the unemployment rate of 3.5 percent helped produce steady absorption.
On the metro level, rent gains have been fairly distributed. Of the top 30 metros in our ranking, 21 saw rents increase by 2.6 percent or more, led by Phoenix (7.7 percent increase), Las Vegas (5.4 percent) and Sacramento (5.1 percent). Growth also accelerated during the year in East Coast metros, such as Philadelphia (3.9 percent) and Boston (3.6 percent).
While the year was solid, there was a drop-off in December. During the month, the average U.S. rent fell $1 to $1,474, which was a 10-basis-point decline from November. That said, U.S. multifamily rents finished a remarkably consistent 2019 up 3.0 percent.
Rents were essentially flat for the fourth quarter, which is a normal seasonal trend. The last time rents grew significantly during the end of the year was 2014 and 2015.
Rent growth continues to be strong in all regions, led by secondary markets in the West and Southeast. Phoenix, Las Vegas, Sacramento and Nashville were among the top-performing metros all year. However, growth decelerated significantly during the year in some metros, notably San Jose, Orlando and Denver.