If you are a first-time renter or looking to upgrade to a bigger, newer apartment, now may be your best chance.
Demand for rental apartments fell short of new supply by about 100,000 units nationwide, according to RealPage, a real estate analytics firm. Apartment occupancy is still high, but it is softening a bit, dropping to 94.5 percent in the first quarter of this year, compared to 95.1 percent at the end of 2016. Occupancy has been falling for the past six months.
"There are lots of available units at just-completed projects," according to Jay Denton, vice president of RealPage's Axiometrics business group. "Also, top-tier existing projects are losing performance momentum for the first time in this market cycle. Some renters from established luxury projects are opting for the newest deliveries in order to take advantage of rent discounts often offered during the initial lease-up process."
In New York City, where luxury apartments have been going up at a fast clip since the recession, landlords are increasing both amenities and concessions. The share of rentals with landlord concessions set a new record at the start of this year. Over 30 percent of New York landlords offered concessions, with the heaviest use within 2-bedroom apartments, according to Jonathan Miller, of Miller Samuel, who provides monthly reports for real estate broker Douglas Elliman.