Stocks rise after February jobs report

Renters across the country can breathe easier this year as an influx of apartment supply pressures rent growth.

Asking rents for professionally managed apartments inched up just 0.2% in February from the previous year, according to data from RealPage. That’s notably lower than the historical average of 0.6% dating back to 2010.

“Muted rent growth is expected to continue throughout 2024 as supply continues to put downward pressure on rents,” RealPage said in a report.

Austin was the biggest laggard for rent growth, with a decline of 6.7% annually in February. Meanwhile, Virginia Beach led rent increases, with an uptick of 3.3%.

While strategists have been expecting a slowdown in rents, one inflation gauge, the Consumer Price Index, has shown rents to be sticky. Analysts say this is because there is a lag in the data. February CPI will be released on Tuesday.

Overall, apartment occupancy remained steady at 94.1% in February, according to RealPage, marking the third consecutive month at this rate.

RealPage noted that record-high construction activity in the apartment sector poses a challenge to occupancy levels this year, with nearly 962,000 units under construction nationally at the end of 2023 and 672,000 units expected to be completed this year.

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