Apartment Market Slumps as Supply Surges

Apartment landlords across the U.S. struggled through a tough first quarter as a slowdown in the rental market grew worse.

Rents in the first quarter declined or were flat in 28 of the 79 metropolitan areas covered by Reis Inc., including New York, Portland, Denver, Boston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. That was up from 14 markets with lower or flat rents in the fourth quarter.

Average rents nationwide, meanwhile, increased 3.1% in the first quarter compared with a year earlier, down from the more than 5% growth they posted a year ago, according to Reis.

Apartment occupancy declined to 94.5% from 95.1% at the end of the third quarter as supply increased, according to separate data from apartment tracker Axiometrics Inc. released Thursday. Across the U.S., apartment developers delivered 100,000 more new units than were leased in the quarter.

“We didn’t get a lot of demand and at the same time we

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