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Business Observer Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022 5 months ago

Southwest Florida apartment rental market is one of the hottest in the state — and the nation

Apartments are going fast, especially in smaller markets.

A new national real estate report shows that for the most part, small metro areas are the hottest rental apartment markets.

Eugene, Oregon, San Diego and Knoxville, Tennessee are the top three on the report, from apartment search website RentCafe. The study analyzed 105 markets nationwide, with metrics that included number of days rentals were vacant; percentage of apartments occupied; number of renters competing for vacant apartments; and rental applicants’ average credit scores. The gist: high demand, low apartment availability and renters with high credit scores equal a superhot market.

That smaller metro area trend holds in Florida, too. Pensacola was No. 11 on the report and No. 1 on the Sunshine State, with an overall competitive score of 27.6. Southwest Florida was No. 12, posting an overall competitive score of 31. The Tampa market, with a 46.6 overall score, ranked No. 40.

“As the pandemic lingers on, its effect on where and how people choose to live intensifies,” the report states. “Prospective renters continued to look for larger apartments close to nature this rental season. As such, locations that were able to accommodate the need for ample living spaces and easy access to outdoor attractions — but that also had a limited supply of rentals — turned red hot this year.”

On a national level, apartments that became vacant were filled within 28 days on average this rental season. During the same time period, 95.4% of total rentals were occupied, with an average of 14 prospective renters competing for a vacant apartment, the report found. Meanwhile, the average credit score of rental applicants in the U.S. was 640 for 2021, slightly up from 2022, when it was 638.

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