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Multifamily Market Analysis – Rent and Vacancy Rates

Submitted by S. Laraby
No predictive analysis is complete without a return to the data.  How did we do?

If you have been following our blogs which offer commentary and analysis of the spectrum of commercial real estate matters, you may know that we regularly comment on the current and future state of the multifamily market, particularly rent and vacancy rates.  Our multifamily analysis began in with a blog commenting on the stability of multifamily investments, particularly during uncertain economic  times,  “Economy Wobbles but Multifamily Remains On Course“.  The stage was set for what was predicted to be several years of rising rent rates and declining vacancy.  THE CABOT GROUP  commented regularly on the  state of the multifamily market.

2012 Multifamily Outlook

THE CABOT GROUP achieved effective rent gains of 10% in tertiary marketsthe last time such conditions existed was nearly a decade ago, and many operators and managers were slow to recognize/react to improving conditions.  At THE CABOT GROUP, we constantly analyze the marketplace.  This allowed us to spot this opportunity for rent growth early on and adjust our marketing and renewal strategies accordingly.

Rising Rent Rates and Declining Vacancies Make Multifamily an Attractive Investment

The growth of the sector was fueled by increasing demand with concurrent diminishing supply, therefore  increasing rent rates and decreasing availability.  This pattern is expected to continue for the remainder of 2012 as strong demand for apartment homes is expected to continue throughout the country. 


Behind the Increasing Demand for Multifamily Households

Limited vacancy of multifamily units, declining home ownership, favorable demographic trends and attractive government sponsored programs all fuel the trend toward this type of housing, for both tenants and owners.  High demand coupled with an improving job market has created a rise in apartment rent across the nation.

Multifamily Industry Outlook Positive Through 2015

Freddie Mac recently forecast demand of 1.7 million new multifamily renter households through 2015 due to decreasing home ownership.

What actually Occurred?

During the highlighted period, rent levels increased steadily while vacancies decreased to historic low levels, an ideal scenario for multifamily investors. Though vacancy rates continued to decline, we expect them to level-off while rent rates are expected to continue their climb, partially due to the recent uptick in interest rates causing an increase in demand for rental properties.


The latest report from Fannie Mae indicates that fundamentals in the Multifamily market have remained positive.  Significant rent growth was supported through a continued (though diminishing) decline in vacancies, fueled by demand.

“Rent growth was healthy, as were net absorption rates, reflecting ongoing demand for multifamily rental units. The ongoing concern remains the amount of new construction supply

looming in a number of submarkets across the country. Much of that new supply is expected to come online later this year and early next year. Therefore, the outlook for multifamily remains steady at a national level”

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