To cut to the chase: While Arlington apartment rents may be down month-over-month in new data, they remain up 6.9 percent since the onset of the pandemic, even accounting for a downturn that took place at its start.
Arlington’s median apartment-rental cost of $2,183 – $2,060 for one-bedroom units and $2,464 for two bedrooms – was down 2.2 percent from a month before in data reported Nov. 30 by Apartment List, which tracks the 100 largest urban areas nationally.
That dip has cut into the year-to-date price growth, which is up 4.5 percent for the first 11 months of 2022 on top of a 16.5-percent growth rate during the same period in 2021.
Arlington’s October-to-November dropoff could largely represent a return to seasonality in the apartment-rental world, which like home sales tends to be strongest in spring and summer before tapering off in autumn and winter.
But the decline was the ninth most steep among the 100 urban communities in the ranking, and compares to a 1-percent decline nationally (to $1,163 for a one-bedroom and $1,333 for a two-bedroom unit).
The recent slowdown has been geographically widespread, with rents decreasing in 93 of the nation’s 100 largest urban areas.
“A modest decline in rents at this time of year is consistent with the normal seasonal trend that we typically see in our rent index, as rental activity tends to slow down in the fall and winter months,” Apartment List analysts noted. “That said, this year’s dip has so far been sharper than what we typically see. Prices have now fallen by a total of 2.2 percent since August, which is the sharpest three-month decline in the history of our index.”
Among large urban areas nationwide, Seattle saw the sharpest decline in November, with prices down by 2.6 percent month-over-month.
“And over a longer horizon, we are continuing to see an ongoing cooldown in many of the recently booming Sun Belt markets,” Apartment List analysts said. “Las Vegas, Phoenix, Jacksonville and Riverside have all seen rent growth of 30 percent or more since March 2020, but none of these metros has seen rents increase by more than 1 percent over the past 12 months.”
Arlington landlords continue to make out well, however; the county’s rent is the 10th most expensive among the 100 on the survey, and is comparable to Anaheim, Calif.
Nationally, the highest median rental cost (counting one-bedroom and two-bedroom units) for the month was found in Irvine, Calif., at $3,155, while the lowest was reported in Cleveland, at $802.
Arlington’s median rental rate of $2,464 for a two-bedroom unit is about 13 percent higher than the median across the Washington region. Among comparable communities, median rents for two-bedroom units were $2,108 in Alexandria, $2,284 in Bethesda, $2,571 in Falls Church and $1,999 in Tysons.
The cooldown in national rent growth is being mirrored by continued easing on the supply side of the market.
“Our vacancy index now stands at 5.7 percent after more than a year of gradual increases from a low of 4.1 percent last fall,” Apartment List analysts said. “Today’s vacancy rate still remains below the pre-pandemic norm, but could get back to that benchmark as early as next spring, if the current rate of easing continues.”
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For the recently released Arlington report, see the Website at https://www.apartmentlist.com/rent-report/va/arlington.