Multifamily Absorption Surprisingly Strong in 2020, Says Yardi Matrix


Number of units absorbed in 2020 decreased only 12 percent from 2019

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., March 8, 2021 – Despite a disruptive pandemic, investor demand for multifamily real estate was strong in 2020, according to a newly released Yardi® Matrix Bulletin.

Around 252,000 apartment units were absorbed last year. That’s about 1.7% of total market stock and down 12% from the 286,300 apartments purchased in 2019.

“Considering the economic and social calamity that befell the U.S., in many respects due to COVID-19, the fact that demand held up as well as it did is a relief for the apartment industry,” say Matrix analysts.

Net absorption was strongest in 25 of the 30 largest metros, which accounted for 158,300 units absorbed. Dallas, Atlanta and Denver saw the highest absorption rates.

Negative absorption was centralized in key gateway markets hit hard by COVID, which also struggled with renter demand and average rents. The worst performers were the Bay Area and New York City, which combined for -22,100 units absorbed in 2020. Overall, high-cost gateway metros had net absorption of -0.3% (-7,600 units). Demand was better in secondary (154,100 units, or 2.3% of total stock) and tertiary (96,200 units, or 2.0% of stock) markets.

On a regional level, renters continued to flock to the Southeast (96,700 units absorbed, or 2.4% of total stock), the Southwest (56,800 units, 2.1% of stock) and the West (57,100 units, 1.9% of stock).

Find more multifamily market details in the Yardi Matrix absorption bulletin and learn what analysts will watch for in 2021.

Yardi Matrix offers the industry’s most comprehensive market intelligence tool for investment professionals, equity investors, lenders and property managers who underwrite and manage investments in commercial real estate. Yardi Matrix covers multifamily, student housing, industrial, office and self storage property types. Email [email protected], call (480) 663-1149 or visit to learn more.

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