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April 2018 Rent Report

April 1, 2018

Methodology Note:

Apartment List is committed to making our rent estimates the best and most accurate available. To do this, we start with fully representative median rent statistics for recent movers taken from the Census Bureau American Community Survey. We then extrapolate this data forward to the current month using a growth rate calculated from our listing data. Growth rates are calculated using a same-unit analysis similar to Case-Shiller’s approach, comparing only units that are available across both time periods in order to provide an accurate picture of rent growth in cities across the country.

Our approach corrects for the sample bias inherent in private sources, producing results that are representative of the entire market. Our methodology also allows us to construct a picture of rent growth over an extended period of time, with estimates that are updated each month.

Read more about our methodology here. For further methodology questions or custom data requests, contact us at rentonomics@apartmentlist.com.

Welcome to the April 2018 National Apartment List Rent Report! Our national rent index is up 0.2 percent month-over-month, marking the second straight month of increasing rents, following modest declines throughout the second half of 2017.

Read on for an analysis of the trends we're seeing this month:

National index up 0.2 percent month-over-month

Our national rent index increased by 0.2 percent over the past month, the second monthly uptick after the downward trend we saw from last September through January. Year-over-year growth currently stands at 2.0 percent, falling below the levels from the two prior years.

Our national index fell by 0.5 percent over the course of the renting-off season, but more than half of that loss has now been regained, with rents having risen by 0.3 percent over the past two months. The timing of this dip and subsequent uptick are consistent with seasonality in apartment rentals, and we expect rents to continue increasing through the spring and summer months. That said, the seasonal decline began earlier than usual last year, and the gains of the past two months have been somewhat muted, indicating a bit of softness in the market.

In fact, year-over-year growth currently stands at 2.0 percent at the national level, which is below both the 2.4 percent rate we saw this time last year and the 3.6 percent rate from March 2016. Rent growth is pacing just behind the overall rate of inflation, which stands at 2.2 percent as of the latest data release, and is also a bit slower than growth in average hourly earnings which have increased by 2.6 percent over the past twelve months. The labor market has been struggling with stagnant wages for some time, so it's a welcome change to see incomes increasing at a faster clip than rents.

Rents up month-over-month in 81 of 100 largest cities

The uptick in rents at the national level is being mirrored in many of the nation's biggest markets -- the map below show's month-over-month rent growth for the nation's 100 largest cities (markers are sized by population):

Note that rents increased month-over-month in 81 of the nation's 100 largest cities. For comparison, rents increased in only 57 of these cities last month, and rents declined in 60 of these cities in January. Rents are also up year-over-year in nearly all of the nations largest markets -- 89 of the 100 largest cities have seen rents increase over the past twelve months. The chart below shows how rents have changed over the past year for the five cities that experienced the fastest growth:

Orlando experienced the nation's fastest rent growth over the past year, with an increase of 7.6 percent. Reno, NV came in second with 7.0 percent year-over-year growth, followed by Sacramento, which saw rents grow by 6.8 percent.

At the state level, Nevada experienced the fastest year-over-year growth at 4.3 percent, followed by Utah and Idaho which both saw rent growth of more than 3.5 percent.

Few cities experiencing Y/Y rent declines

Only 11 of the 100 largest cities have seen rents fall over the past year, though an additional 20 saw modest gains of less than 1 percent. The chart below shows trends for the five cities where rents declined most:

Oklahoma City has experienced the largest dip in rents over the past year with -2.0 percent growth, followed by Baton Rouge, LA, which saw rents fall by 1.7 percent over the past year. Note that despite having negative rent growth over the past year, Louisville and Baton Rouge have both actually seen rents spike upward over the past two months.

At the state level, West Virginia saw the biggest drop in rents over the past year with a decrease of 1.5 percent. Alaska, Wyoming and North Dakota are the only other states to see rents fall by more than 0.5 percent year-over-year.

Please see additional data below for the nation's 100 largest cities, or check out the full data for your city or county at our rental data page. And as always, feel free to contact us with any questions!

City NameMedian 1 BR rentMedian 2 BR rentM/M rent changeY/Y rent changePopulation
New York, NY$2,070$2,4600.1%0.3%8,588,000
Los Angeles, CA$1,350$1,7400.3%3.1%3,792,621
Chicago, IL$1,070$1,2600.3%0.2%2,695,598
Houston, TX$830$1,0200.0%2.8%2,099,451
Philadelphia, PA$960$1,1600.1%1.1%1,526,006
Phoenix, AZ$830$1,0300.4%2.9%1,445,632
San Antonio, TX$830$1,0400.1%1.2%1,327,407
San Diego, CA$1,550$2,0100.5%2.8%1,307,402
Dallas, TX$880$1,1000.2%1.8%1,197,816
San Jose, CA$2,050$2,5700.9%3.1%945,942

Check out our rent reports for the following cities:

If you would like to get future updates from Apartment List Rentonomics, please subscribe to our email list.


Apartment List Rent Report data is drawn monthly from the millions of listings on our site. 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom rents are calculated as the median for units available in the specified size and time period. Price changes are calculated using a “same unit” methodology similar to the Case-Shiller “repeat sales” home prices methodology, taking the average price change for units available across both time periods. For top city rankings, we calculated median 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom rents in 100 top cities and then ranked them by 2-bedroom rents.

About Apartment List Rent Reports:

Apartment List’s Rent Reports cover rental pricing data in major cities, their suburbs, and their neighborhoods. We provide valuable leading indicators of rental price trends, highlight data on top cities, and identify the key facts renters should know. As always, our goal is to provide price transparency to America’s 105 million renters to help them make the best possible decisions in choosing a place to call home. Apartment List publishes Rent Reports during the first calendar week of each month.

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Chris is a senior housing economist at Apartment List, where he conducts research on economic trends in the housing market. Chris previously worked as a research assistant at the Federal Reserve and an economic consultant, and he has BA and MA degrees in economics from Boston University. Read More
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