CoStar Insights

CoStar Market Analytics Releases New Rent and Vacancy Series

by John Affleck | Nov 30, 2016
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The release of the 16Q3 multifamily data debuts CoStar’s new same-store rent and comprehensive vacancy series.  These new series incorporate more than 400 million individual datapoints and present the most accurate and timely view of the market, aggregating more than 400,000 individual properties to arrive at submarket, metro, and national macro trends.

The release of these new series marks the next phase in the evolution of CoStar’s coverage of the multifamily sector, which began in the 1990s with the firm’s coverage of multifamily sales comparables.  In 2012, CoStar dramatically expanded its multifamily research effort with a dedicated research team that grew what was already the largest property dataset in the industry to more than 500,000 apartment communities.  This team has personally called property managers to collect more than 5.5 million rent and vacancy observations on more than 120,000 communities.  By 2015, CoStar had created the largest and most complete dataset of multifamily vacancy and rent information in the industry.

CoStar’s acquisition of in 2014 and ApartmentFinder in 2015 added, in a stroke, more than 300 million new rent datapoints, increasing the scale of CoStar’s multifamily rent dataset by a factor of 50.  Where CoStar’s research team labored to personally call communities to collect data every quarter, the ILS platform collects, via automated feeds, daily rents for more than 15,000 properties.  Augmenting this platform, CoStar employs web scraping algorithms that automatically collect data daily from community websites.  Altogether, CoStar adds as many as a million new rent datapoints each day.

CoStar has not forsaken old-fashioned human intelligence, however.  In 2015, CoStar formed its community caller team of “secret shoppers” who call into communities as potential renters to uncover effective rents.  This team makes more than 30,000 calls per day, and has added more than 2.1 million rent and concession observations to CoStar’s dataset.  Exhibit 1 presents the evolution of CoStar’s data collection for one-bedroom rents in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta.

Exhibit 1:  Rent Data Collection for Buckhead

Rent Methodology Change 1
Rent Methodology Change 2

CoStar’s team of quantitative analysts has spent the past year analyzing this remarkable dataset with a single goal in mind:  extract and present the most accurate and timely view of multifamily rents and vacancy trends, from the individual building to the entire nation, controlling for the constantly changing composition of the dataset.  The release of the 16Q3 data marks the culmination of our work.  Exhibit 2 presents the new national average same-store rent:

Exhibit 2:  New National Rent Series

Rent Methodology Change 3

Our work tapping the potential of this unmatched dataset has only begun. As always, we thank you for your support.  We are committed to providing the best insight into all aspects of the multifamily sector.

This post may include "forward-looking statements" including, without limitation, statements regarding CoStar's expectations or beliefs, which are based on our current beliefs and various assumptions concerning future events and circumstances that are subject to change.  Actual results and events may ultimately be materially different.  All forward-looking statements are based on information available on the date published, and we assume no obligation to update these statements.  You should not construe this post as investment, tax, accounting or legal advice.