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May 2018 Rent Report

April 26, 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 May 2018 National Apartment List Rent Report! Our national rent index is up 0.2 percent month-over-month, marking the third straight month of increasing rents. Year-over-year growth now stands at 1.5 percent, lagging the rates from the two prior years.

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

National index up 0.2 percent M/M

Our national rent index increased by 0.2 percent over the past month, the third monthly uptick after the downward trend we saw from last September through January. Year-over-year growth currently stands at 1.5 percent, falling below the levels from the two prior years.

Our national index has increased by 0.5 percent over the past three months, meaning that the declines of the renting-off season have now been fully reversed. The national median rent is now back to the same level as August of last year. 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 three months have been somewhat muted, signaling softness in the market.

In fact, year-over-year growth currently stands at 1.5 percent at the national level, which is well below both the 2.8 percent rate we saw this time last year and the 3.5 percent rate from April 2016. Rent growth is pacing almost a full percentage point behind the overall rate of inflation, which stands at 2.4 percent as of the latest data release, and is even further behing the growth in average hourly earnings which have increased by 2.7 percent over the past twelve months. With the homeownership rate continuing to trend upward and more new supply slated to come online throughout the year in many markets, it's likely that rent growth will continue to be sluggish.

Rents up M/M in 78 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):

Rents increased month-over-month in 78 of the nation's 100 largest cities. Note that this is down slightly from the 81 cities that saw rents rise last month. Rents are also up year-over-year in nearly all of the nations largest markets -- 85 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 continues to experience the nation's fastest rent growth, although its 6.8 percent year-over-year growth has slowed from the 7.6 percent rate from last month. Salt Lake City came in second with 5.6 percent year-over-year growth, followed by Arlington, TX, which saw rents grow by 4.8 percent.

At the state level, Nevada experienced the fastest year-over-year growth at 3.8 percent, followed by Utah at 3.6 percent.

Few cities experiencing Y/Y rent declines

Only 15 of the 100 largest cities have seen rents fall over the past year, though an additional 22 saw modest gains of less than 1.0 percent. The chart below shows trends for the five cities where rents declined most:

Baton Rouge, LA has experienced the largest dip in rents over the past year with -2.4 percent growth, followed by Pittsburgh, which saw rents fall by 1.8 percent over the past year.

At the state level, West Virginia saw the biggest drop in rents over the past year with a decrease of 1.1 percent. Hawaii and Alaska are the only other states to see rents fall by more than 1.0 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 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 change
New York, NY$2,070$2,4700.3%0.4%
Los Angeles, CA$1,360$1,7400.1%2.1%
Chicago, IL$1,070$1,2600.2%-0.6%
Houston, TX$840$1,0200.2%3.1%
Philadelphia, PA$960$1,1600.2%1.1%
Phoenix, AZ$830$1,0300.3%2.3%
San Antonio, TX$830$1,0500.3%0.7%
San Diego, CA$1,550$2,010-0.1%1.9%
Dallas, TX$890$1,1000.2%1.3%
San Jose, CA$2,060$2,5800.5%2.4%

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 ‚Äúsame unit‚ÄĚ methodology similar to the Case-Shiller ‚Äúrepeat sales‚ÄĚ 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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