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Renters are renewing their leases more than ever before

Despite rents continuing to rise throughout much of 2018, renters are choosing to remain in the same apartment more than they ever have before, even if their rent goes up. In fact, a new report from RealPage shows that apartment resident retention (renters electing to renew their lease after its initial term expires) hit an all-time high last year, with nearly 53% of renters choosing to renew their leases. According to RealPage’s report, apartment resident retention jumped to 52.5% last year, meaning that in the country’s 50 largest markets, when renters’ initial leases came up from renewal, 52.5% of them chose to renew. According to RealPage’s report, the renters who chose to renew their leases did so at rents that were 4.5% higher on average than their initial rent. The figures probably come as a bit of surprise to some in the market, especially considering apartment construction was at a nearly 30-year high last year, but RealPage notes that there a number of factors at work here. “For example, loss of renters to purchase ran below the historical norm, especially when interest rates inched ahead of year-ago levels, making purchase less affordable,” RealPage noted in its report. Apartments in Milwaukee and Newark-Jersey City had the most repeat renters, each registering conversion of expiring leases into renewal leases for 61.9% of the households. Resident retention was also above 60% in Providence, Rhode Island and Miami. The rest of the top ten markets where renters renewed their leases most often consisted of St. Louis, Philadelphia, Cleveland, New York, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Pittsburgh. According to the report, other areas where resident retention ran well below the national level were San Diego, Charlotte and Phoenix.