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Rent and Operating Trends – Week of February 5th 2023

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Rent and Operating Trends – Week of February 5th 2023

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The U.S. employment market continues its impressive growth, as the January jobs report blew away expectations. More than 500,000 new jobs were created in January, and not only is the sheer volume significant, but the diversity of new jobs across employment sectors is equally important. Leisure and hospitality led all sectors with 128,000 new jobs added, but professional and business services, government and healthcare also posted strong months, as each sector grew by at least 50,000 new positions. The unemployment rate fell to 3.4%, its lowest level since 1969. Wages also grew, although the pace of wage gains continues to soften, which many economists view as a positive indicator as overall inflation recedes from last June’s peak. Wages are up 4.4% on a year over year basis. By all accounts the employment market remains extremely tight despite headline grabbing layoffs from major tech and financial institutions.

Corporate earnings have been mixed recently as many large companies recently released their Q4 earnings. While the employment market remains strong there continues to be skepticism about overall economic growth, especially around the globe. Equity markets remain volatile, while bond yields have increased over the past week as investors continue to show concern for the macro-economic outlook.

Positive indicators continue to arise across the multifamily sector as the prime leasing season approaches. Occupancy nationwide increased last week for the first time in months, and traffic, new leases signed, and net effective rent all grew as well. All signs are pointing to a strong and normal leasing season in 2023 as leading indicators have performed well thus far this year.

Key Takeaways – Data as of 02/05/2023

 Traffic and Leases:

  • Traffic increased nationwide to its highest point since last September, and once again increased in all top 30 markets.
  • Chicago, Miami and Raleigh led all markets in weekly traffic growth. Not only did these three markets see impressive growth last week, but they all maintain traffic levels above the national average. Chicago and Miami averaged nearly 10 tours per property last week.
  • New leases signed also increased nationwide, but not quite as quickly as traffic. The average property is signing 2.4 new leases per week.
  • Chicago led all markets in new leasing growth, while Houston had the highest average leasing last week.

Occupancy:

  • Occupancy nationwide increased 1 basis point last week and although the growth was meager, it marked a significant reversal in trend.
  • San Jose, Baltimore and Chicago led all markets, as occupancy increased by at least 10 basis points in each. Chicago appears poised for another strong year and a return to pre-Covid performance after a good recovery last year.
  • ATR increased modestly at the national level last week and the average property has 18 units available to rent. Chicago’s growth will not be inhibited by supply issues as the market leads all Radix markets with an average of 32 available units per property.

Net Effective Rent:

  • NER increased 10 basis points last week as 24 of the top 30 markets saw rents increase or remain flat.
  • The southwest outperformed the rest of the country as Albuquerque, San Diego, Denver and Tucson led all markets in weekly NER growth.

Radix Research

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