Consumer demand for apartments hit a record high in the third quarter of this year, with new data from RealPage showing that the nation's occupied apartment count jumped by a staggering 255,094 units from July to September. The figures mark the biggest quarterly absorption since the 1990s.

Annual demand data as of Q3 registered at 597,354 units, well beyond a prior cyclical peak of 380,000 units recorded in the third quarter of 2018. Annual demand over the decade spanning 2010 to 2020 averaged around 250,000 units.

Demand was particularly strong in Class A projects, and overall demand was bolstered by the rising costs of homeownership and highly competitive housing markets, both of which pushed would-be buyers back into rentals. Demand was also bolstered by household formation increases.

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