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The Apartment Expense Report


This report, published every March, shows actual operating and capital expenses for apartments in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Kitsap, and Thurston counties, using actual year-end statements for more than 800 properties containing more than 90,000 units.


The Apartment Expense Report costs $645.00 (plus sales tax where applicable) for the annual printed report plus online access so you can create custom reports using your own criteria. What you get if you order today: Your subscription includes the current (March 2017) report, published on February 25, 2017. You have immediate online access to this report. Your online access expires on January 31, 2018.

What can it do for you?

Here are just a few of the problems this report can solve. Are your utility costs too high? How do your expenses compare with similar properties in your market area? How can you create a reliable budget for a market area or property type you are unfamiliar with? What are others paying their managers? How can you support your expenses in a tax appeal?

Printed report

We publish the 160+ page printed report each March. it includes 80+ pages of data tables that report line-item expenses and trends for the various age groups of properties, sub-markets, and property sizes.

In addition to the data tables, there are 30+ pages of discussion, and tables covering trends in line-item income, deposits, utilities, taxes, forecasts, and more.

43 pages of tables that list each line-item for each of the 700+ properties in the report. These tables let you select the most appropriate comparables for your situation (without identifying the properties).

Age groups. 1900-1945 construction; 1946-1964; 1965-1974; 1975-1984; 1985-1993; and 1994 and newer.

Sub-markets. King, Pierce, Snohomish, other western Washington counties. Within King County: Seattle area, Eastside, and south King County. (Not all age groups break down information into all submarkets.)

Property size. All properties, 20-99 units, and 100 unit and larger.

Expense Analyzer

Expense Analyzer is an interactive online tool that comes with a subscription to The Apartment Expense Report. It helps investors make better investment decisions, build better budgets, and put more money in your pocket.

The Expense Analyzer will show you exactly how well your property is performing compared to similar properties in your market area. It will let you see how revenue and expenses have changed for any submarket or property type you are interested in.

Armed with this kind of detailed information, you can maximize the bottom line performance of your current properties as well as spot the market areas and property types to zero in on for your next acquisition.

You are in the real world now

When it comes to talk about apartment revenue and expenses, well, it’s mostly talk. Expense Analyzer is different. It uses actual income and expenses we have collected each year since 1993 for our Apartment Expense Report. We analyze statements for more than 900 properties with 90,000+ units in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Kitsap, and Thurston counties.

Pinpoint accuracy

Your custom report begins with four charts, shown here, that plot revenue and expenses for each of the properties that are the best matches for your property.

One size does not fit all

It’s not enough to say that expenses typically run "X" a unit, even after you zero in on properties that are similar in size and age to your property, and in the same market area. The top two charts show the relationship between revenue or expenses and unit sizes. That helps you find out where you "fit" based on the size of your units.

How do you rate?

The bottom two charts "rank" revenue and expenses for the comparables you selected, from the lowest to the highest. That lets you see where your property’s performance fits.

It helps a lot to know if you are at or near the top in the revenue group. That would be good. It would be a shocker to find yourself at or near the top in the expense group though. But at least you’d know you’ve got some work to do.

Wait… there’s more

These four charts are just the beginning. A basic Expense Analyzer report for any property you want to analyze will have four pages of detailed information.

And if you want to "drill down" to more information on line item trends, your detailed report will be closer to 30 pages. Here’s what you get:

  • The average cost for each line item of revenue and expenses for the comparables you selected.
  • Line item revenue and expenses for each comparable, so you can fine-tune your analysis.
  • The annual income or expense for each line-item since 2000, to help you refine your budget.
  • You can print these reports as PDF’s or download all of the data in Excel.

Customized reports

Before showing you all of these features, let’s look at how you can customize your Expense Analyzer reports to fit your situation. A screen shot of your search options is shown at the top of this page.

What makes Expense Analyzer such a powerful tool is its ability to zero in on properties like yours. Here are the options it gives you:

  • A - Select any one county, submarket, or neighborhood
  • B - Or create your own market area by combining two or more neighborhoods
  • C - Or create your own neighborhood or submarket by combining census tracts
  • D - Select the year you want to analyze (any year since 2000). This lets you "benchmark" your expenses against comparables a few years ago and then compare how well you’ve done in the most recent year.
  • E - Select the size range of properties you want to compare to.
  • F - Select the year built range of properties
  • G - Select lowrise, midrise, or highrise properties.

Actual performance

The second thing you see in an Expense Analyzer report, right after the charts discussed on page 1, is a table of line item revenue and expenses for the comparables you selected, shown here. It includes:

  • A - 12 revenue line-items;
  • B - 14 expense line-items;
  • C - Operating, capital, and total expenses;
  • D, E - The number of properties and units that match your search;
  • F, G, H - Annual revenue and expenses as $/unit, $/net rentable square foot, and as a percent of income.

Measure everything

The graphs give you the big-picture view of where you fit. But that’s just the beginning of the report. The next step is to see how each of your line-item revenue and expenses compares to the comparables.

To help you do that, the report includes line-item revenue amounts for: Scheduled rent, vacancies, concessions, collection losses, effective rent, laundry income, parking income, water/sewer/garbage bill-back income, late fees, forfeited deposits, miscellaneous income, and total income.

And it shows line-item expenses for: Real estate taxes, insurance, utilities, heat, professional management, resident management, office administration, decorating & turnover, repairs & maintenance, pool & recreation, elevator, landscaping, advertising & marketing, and capital expenses.

The individual comparables

The next table in the report, shown here, is a list of line-item revenue and expenses for each of the comparables you selected.

  • A - The online and PDF versions of the report will list up to 20 comparables. If your search found more than 20, don’t worry. The Excel report downloads all of them.
  • B - The Property Info section lets you see how good of a "fit" each comparable is for your property. Although we keep the property identities confidential, you can see what total size and age range each comparable is in. And you can see the average square feet of each comparable’s.
  • C & D - The rental Income and Expenses sections show each line-item in dollars a unit a year and, for some line items, as a percent of revenue.

The table of individual comparables tell you a lot about how good of a "fit" each one is for your property. You can always go back to the search form and refine your criteria to improve the fit. Or you can download the comparables in Excel, eliminate the ones that do not fit your property well enough, and recalculate the results.

Line-item trends

So far, the report has given you a snapshot in time for the year you selected to analyze. That lets you "audit" your own performance and find where you may be weak, and take corrective action.

What about next year?

The Expense Analyzer gives you one more tool you can use to create, refine, or test your budgets. It is a series of 28 one-page reports showing the trend for any line-item revenue or expense you want to analyze. Each line-item trend report shows:

  • A - The compound annual increase or decrease in the line-item since 2000;
  • B & C - graphs showing the annual change;
  • D - a table showing the number of properties and units matching your search criteria, the average property size and age (to show how good of a fit these comparables are to your property), and the annual income or expense (reported as $/unit, $/net rentable square foot, and % of income).

Customize your criteria

Expense Analyzer screen shot

A: Select a county, submarket, or neighborhood; B: Combine multiple neighborhoods; C: Create a market area using combinations of census tracts; D: Select the year you want to analyze, from 2000 through the past year; E: Zero in on a specific property size range; F: select a property age range; G: Select low-rise, mid-rise, or high-rise proeprties.

Graph income & expense results

Expense Analyzer image

A: This is a summary of the custom criteria you selected; B: This shows the relationship between income and unit size for each property selected; C: The relationship between expenses and unit size; D: find out if your income is above or below average; E: find out if your expenses are above or below average.

Detailed line-item income & expenses

Expense Analyzer screen shot

A: Line-item income; B: Line-item expenses; C: totals; D: Number of properties with each line-item of income and expenses based on your criteria; E: The number of units in those properties; F: Income or expense per unit per year; G: Income or expense per net rentable square foot; H: Income or expense as a percent of revenue.

Individual expense comparables

Expense Analyzer screen shot

Although we do not identify the individual properties, this section of the report lets you see the result for each property that met your criteria. That lets you narrow down your analysis even more. A: The individual property list; B: Age and size range for each property; C: Line-item income per unit for each property; D: Line-item expenses for each property.

Historical trends

Expense Analyzer screen shot

This part of the report lets you see the historical trend since 2000 for any line-item.