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Apartment List National Rent Report


Welcome to the May 2024 Apartment List National Rent Report. Rent prices ticked up for the third straight month, but rent growth remains modest, signaling ongoing sluggishness in the market. The national median rent increased by 0.5% in April and now stands at $1,396,1 but the pace of growth slowed slightly compared to last month. This is typically the time of year when rent growth is accelerating heading into the busy moving season, so the fact that growth stalled this month could be a sign that the market is headed for another slow summer.

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Since the second half of 2022, seasonal declines have been steeper than usual and seasonal increases have been more mild. As a result, apartments are on average slightly cheaper today than they were one year ago. Year-over-year rent growth nationally currently stands at -0.8 percent and has now been in negative territory since last summer. But despite this cooldown, the national median rent is still more than $200 per month higher than it was just a few years ago.

On the supply side of the market, our national vacancy index continues trending up and stands today at 6.7 percent. After a historic tightening in 2021, multifamily occupancy has been slowly but consistently easing for over two years. And with this year expected to bring the most new apartment completions in decades, we expect that there will continue to be an abundance of vacant units on the market in the year ahead.

Zooming in a bit, 83 of the nation’s 100 largest cities saw rents go up in April. But on a year-over-year basis, rent growth is positive for only 43 of these cities. Many of the steepest year-over-year declines remain concentrated in Sun Belt cities that are rapidly expanding their multifamily inventory, such as Austin (-7.4 percent year-over-year), Raleigh (-4.4 percent), and Orlando (-3.9 percent).

Rents are up 0.5% month-over-month, down 0.8% year-over-year

Rent growth follows a seasonal pattern – rent increases generally take place during the spring and summer, whereas the fall and winter usually see a modest price dip. We are currently transitioning into the busy season, with the national median rent increasing for the third straight month, following six consecutive monthly declines from August 2023 to January 2024. However, the pace of that positive rent growth slowed slightly this month, with rents up 0.5 percent month-over-month in April, after increasing by 0.6 percent in March.

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Month-over-month rent growth is typically picking up steam at this time of year, so it’s notable that growth stalled out this month. We actually saw a similar trajectory last year – February and March of 2023 brought a pronounced swing into positive rent growth, but that was followed by growth flattening out and then tapering off. While last month’s data seemed to reflect the start of a bounceback, this month’s estimate is signaling that the sluggishness which has characterized the rental market since late 2022 may be persisting.

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On a year-over-year basis, rent growth nationally remains in negative territory at -0.8 percent. Year-over-year rent growth dipped below zero last June for the first time since early 2021, and has now been negative for 11 consecutive months. After prices skyrocketed in 2021 and 2022, the pendulum has since swung back a bit as price growth has been kept in check by sluggish demand colliding with a robust supply of new inventory hitting the market. That said, the recent dip does not equate to a reversal of the earlier price hikes - although the national median rent is now 3.1 percent below its August 2022 peak, it is still 22 percent higher than it was at the start of 2021.

Rent CPI remains elevated even as rents for new leases dip

The primary measure of inflation in the United States is the Bureau of Labor Statistics's Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is heavily influenced by changes in housing prices.2 The Apartment List National Rent Index has proven to be a strong leading indicator of the CPI housing and rent components (collectively referred to as “shelter”), since our index captures price changes in new leases, which are only later reflected in price changes across all leases (i.e., what the CPI measures).

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Because of these methodological differences, when our index peaked with record-setting rent growth in late 2021, the CPI’s measure of housing cost inflation was still in the early stages of its upswing. And while rent growth as measured by our index was cooling over the course of 2022, the CPI measure continued to rise. But as we had long been predicting, the shelter component of CPI finally turned the corner last spring and has been steadily cooling off ever since – while most components of inflation are difficult to predict, the Apartment List Rent Index can help tell us where shelter CPI is headed. But despite the progress, shelter CPI remains elevated and is continuing to exert upward pressure on topline CPI. As shelter inflation continues to trend down, it will help ease overall inflation as well, but it will take time for shelter CPI to fully metabolize the shock to market rents.

Apartment vacancies continue to rise

The rapid price fluctuations that have defined the rental market over the past three years are largely attributable to changes in the balance between the number of vacant apartments available (supply) and the number of renters looking to move into them (demand). Early in the pandemic, the Apartment List Vacancy Index rose to 6.8 percent as many Americans consolidated households and moved in with family amid large job losses and economic uncertainty. Then, a suddenly tight rental market drove rapid rent growth in 2021 and 2022 as more households competed for a dwindling supply of vacant units. Our vacancy index tightened from 6.8 percent to 3.9 percent in just over a year.

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But after bottoming out in October 2021, vacancies have been opening up steadily for over two years. As of March, our vacancy index sits at 6.7 percent, the highest reading since August 2020. And there’s good reason to expect that it could rise even further during the remainder of the year. Despite a recent slowdown in new permits being issued and new construction projects breaking ground, the number of multifamily units under construction remains near record levels. 2023 saw the most new apartments complete construction in more than 30 years, and an even greater number of new units are expected to come on the market this year. This means that renters should have more available options than they have in some time, especially in the Sun Belt markets where construction activity has been strongest.

Vacancy trends are highly localized, and they have been a key indicator of rapidly evolving conditions in local markets across the U.S. throughout the pandemic. To explore the topic in greater detail, monthly vacancy data are now available for download for hundreds of cities, metros, and states, and can be easily linked to our existing rent estimates using Federal Information Processing System (FIPS) codes.

Rents up month-over-month in 83 of 100 largest cities, up year-over-year in 43

The chart below visualizes monthly rent changes in each of the nation’s 100 largest cities from January 2019 to present. The color in each cell represents the extent to which prices went up (red) or down (blue) in a given city in a given month. We see a typical seasonal pattern in 2019, followed by 2020, where horizontal bands of dark blue represent steep rent drops in some of the nation’s largest and most expensive cities. Meanwhile, the dark red bands in 2021 and 2022 represent the rent heatwave that drove up prices nationwide. But the right side of the chart shows the rent cooldown in late 2022 and the modest rent growth that has persisted through present. As nationwide rent growth was positive in March, so too was local rent growth in the majority of large cities across the county. 83 of the nation’s largest 100 cities saw prices rise month-over-month.

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Despite most large cities seeing prices rise on a monthly basis, a majority have still seen rents dip over the past twelve months as a whole. In mid-2022, all 100 of these cities were posting positive year-over-year rent increases. But as the market cooled and many regions experienced back-to-back slow winter seasons, an increasing number of cities saw annual rent change flip negative. Today, the median rent is cheaper than it was one year ago in 57 of the 100 largest cities. Most of the major markets in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and along the West Coast are currently logging negative year-over-year growth. In contrast, most large cities in the Midwest and Northeast are still experiencing positive annual rent growth.

New supply driving falling rents in Sun Belt markets while Midwest and Northeast maintain positive growth

The prevalence of year-over-year rent declines in Sun Belt markets can be clearly seen in the metro-level map below. The Austin metro has seen the nation’s sharpest decline among large metros, with prices there down 7.4 percent in the last 12 months. The Austin metro is also significant for permitting new homes at the fastest pace of any large metro in the country, signaling the important role new supply plays in managing long-term affordability. This trend is evident in many of the markets that have seen the most notable price dips over the past year. Eight of the ten metros that are currently logging the sharpest year-over-year rent declines also ranked among the top ten for the most new housing permits issued in 2023 (Austin, Raleigh, Orlando, Jacksonville, Charlotte, Nashville, Phoenix, and Dallas).

At the other end of the spectrum, the fastest rent growth has been occurring in metros across the Midwestern and Northeastern United States. In the Midwest, the Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Chicago metros all rank in the top 10 for fastest year-over-year growth, while the Northeast is represented by Hartford, Providence, and Washington DC. Note however, that even the markets topping the list are mostly experiencing fairly modest rent growth. Providence is the only large metro that has seen rents rise by more than 5 percent over the past year.


With March’s 0.5 percent increase, rent growth is stalling out at the time of year when the rental market is normally gearing up for its busy season. Year-over-year rent growth is also indicative of a sluggish market, remaining negative at -0.8 percent. Rent increases are currently being moderated by a robust construction pipeline expected to deliver a decades-high number of new apartment units in 2024. Improving consumer sentiment about broader macroeconomic conditions may be driving a modest rebound in rental demand, but that bounceback has so far been outweighed by the impact of incoming supply.

For more detailed data, see the table below, which contains the most recent estimates for the nation’s 100 largest cities. And for complete data, see our rental data download page, where you can download the full history of our monthly estimates going back to 2017 at various geographic levels (national, state, metro, county, and city). And as always, feel free to contact us with any questions.

CityPopulationMedian 1BR Rent ($)Median 2BR Rent ($)MoM Rent Growth (%)YoY Rent Growth (%)
New York City, NY8622467219723171.42.2
Los Angeles, CA3881041186823830.3-3.4
Chicago, IL2721914156016991.61.9
Houston, TX2296253114913620.1-0.8
Phoenix, AZ1609456116813930.2-3.9
Philadelphia, PA1593208128914911.20
San Antonio, TX1445662103312720.2-4.2
San Diego, CA1383987196824660.6-2.8
Dallas, TX1300642123714640.1-2.5
San Jose, CA1001176242928821.20.5

A Note on Our Methodology

Apartment List has long been committed to making our data products as accurate and transparent as possible. Our rent estimates and vacancy index are calculated as follows:

Rent Estimates: We estimate rent growth using a same-unit approach that controls for compositional changes in the rental stock. We also control for price fluctuations that arise over the course of a vacancy by identifying the last available list price before a unit gets rented as a proxy for its transacted price. Finally, we combat luxury bias in our rent data by benchmarking our reported rent levels to fully-representative median rent statistics from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Vacancy Index: Our real-time availability data allows us to calculate a daily vacancy rate for each of our partner properties, which we then average over the course of each month to calculate a monthly rate. Our overall index is an average of these property-level vacancy rates, weighted by the number of units in each property. We restrict our sample to properties that have been on Apartment List for at least six months and that have attained a stabilized vacancy rate of 15% or less.

For those interested in getting deeper in the weeds, please see our rent estimate methodology and vacancy index methodology. And if you have any questions or custom data requests, you can reach us at

For more context on local data, check out our market-specific rent reports for the following cities:

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

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.

  1. In January 2024, the levels of our rent estimates were re-based with data from the 2022 American Community Survey (ACS), resulting in an adjustment to the rent levels reported in our historic time-series. The rent levels that we report are benchmarked to the latest Census estimates and then projected forward to present day using real-time price changes observed on our platform. This benchmarking is updated every year when new ACS data is released by the Census Bureau, as a routine part of our methodology. This update impacts only the levels of our estimates, while our reported growth rates remain unchanged. For more details, please see our complete methodolog explainer:
  2. Housing comprises roughly one-third of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ CPI inflation measure, and the BLS methodology is based on estimates of market rents for both rentals and owner-occupied housing, a concept referred to as owners’ equivalent rent.

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Apartment List Research Team
The Apartment List Research Team is a small but mighty group of economists and analysts dedicated to understanding the rental market as it evolves rapidly. On our blog we publish original research reports and offer robust data products for public use. Read More
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