We’re No. 1 … on list of toughest areas to find an apartment

RentCafe rankings place North Jersey market at top of list based on variety of metrics, including renewals and availability

QuallsBenson Interior of a luxury apartment at 235 Grand in Jersey City.

Longtime readers know the deal here at ROI-NJ: We’ll print surveys and polls — and let you decide their relevancy and the accuracy of their data.

That being said, even though we’re not familiar with RentCafe, its determination that North Jersey now is the most competitive rental market in the country seems to make sense to us.

The site’s methodology makes sense. It’s based on a number of metrics, including:

  • The number of days apartments were vacant;
  • The percentage of apartments that were occupied by renters;
  • The number of prospective renters competing for an apartment;
  • The percentage of renters who renewed their leases;
  • The share of new apartments completed.

And then, there’s this: They knew enough to break North Jersey out as a separate entity from the greater New York City area.

According to RentCafe data, North Jersey topped the list because three-quarters of renters renewed their leases and there was an occupancy rate of nearly 97%.

The group somehow estimated that 12 people competed for each available apartment (which sounds about right for those looking), with the average days on the market being 38 (which sounds a little high).

As a result, the market is 31% more competitive than it was last year.

Put all this together, and North Jersey’s Rental Competitivity Index (a creation of RentCafe) stood at 115 — or, almost twice the national average of 60.

How hot is North Jersey? It’s even hotter than the Sun Belt, pardon the pun.

The warm, business-friendly Sun Belt states have long been highly coveted renting spots, particularly during the pandemic. However, the start of 2023 saw a pivot to markets located in the Northeast. As a result, eight of the country’s Top 20 hottest renting spots are in the Northeast.

So, take it for what you feel it’s worth. But, fair warning, before you start bragging about this, know that RentCafe said Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, tied for third on the list.

A look at the top five markets:

  • North Jersey: 115;
  • Miami-Dade: 112;
  • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.: 111;
  • Grand Rapids, Michigan: 111;
  • Omaha, Nebraska: 108.