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In recent months, the US apartment rental market has been facing a weak vacancy rate, with many cities and states seeing a strong increase in demand for rental housing. However, as the vacancy rate continues to rise, rents are expected to fall due to a drop in competition between tenants.
As of March 2019, the national vacancy rate was just 5%, a steady increase from the 4.2% rate of the same period one year ago. This trend appears to be being driven by a number of factors. Firstly, new apartment construction has been slowing since the beginning of 2018. Coupled with this, a demographic shift has been observed as more people move out of cities and into suburbs, further decreasing the demand for rental housing. Finally, there has been an increase in the number of renters choosing to rent for extended periods of time, typically signing longer leases than before.
This rising vacancy rate is set to benefit tenants looking for rental accommodations. With less competition for rental housing, tenants are more likely to get a better deal on their rental than before. Additionally, with fewer people looking for rental housing, landlords are likely to offer more generous discounts and incentives to attract new tenants.
Furthermore, these trends have already started to have an effect on rent prices. In many cities across the US, rents are rising more slowly than in the past few years, and in some cases, are even starting to fall. For example, in New York City, rents in some areas have declined by 2-3% since the end of 2018.
Although the rental market is currently facing a weak vacancy rate, it is expected that this trend will soon start to reverse as more new apartments are built and as more people begin to move out of cities and into suburbs. For now, however, the increased vacancy rate is poised to benefit tenants looking for rental accommodations, as rents are expected to remain low or even start to decline in some areas.