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September 2018 Rent Report

August 30, 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 September 2018 National Apartment List Rent Report! Our national rent index remained flat month-over-month, marking the first month since January that rents did not increase nationally. Year-over-year growth now stands at 1.0 percent, significantly lagging the rates from the two prior years.

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

National index remains flat M/M

With peak rental season entering its tail end, our national rent index remained flat over the past month. Year-over-year growth currently stands at 1.0 percent, falling below the levels from the two prior years.

After increasing by a total of 1.5 percent from February through July, our national rent index leveled off in August. The summer months are generally when rental activity is at its busiest, and while rents increased at a fairly fast clip in May and June, things have since cooled off considerably. Rent growth tends to follow a seasonal trend, but the slowdown this year is occurring earlier than usual. For comparison, month-over-month rent growth for August was 0.2 percent in each of the two prior years. This month's data serves as further evidence of softness in the market, as rent growth over the past year remains sluggish compared to the previous two years.

Year-over-year growth currently stands at 1.0 percent at the national level, which is well below the 3.1 percent rate we saw this time last year as well as the 2.6 percent rate from August 2016. Rent growth is also pacing well behind the overall rate of inflation, which stands at 2.9 percent as of the latest data release, and is similarly lagging 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 possible that rent growth will continue to be sluggish, a welcome bit of relief as millions of our nation's renters continue to struggle with housing affordability.

Rents up M/M in 54 of 100 largest cities

The cooling rent growth 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 54 of the nation's 100 largest cities. Note that this number has been trending downward -- 62 cities saw rents rise in July, while 85 cities had positive month-over-month growth in June. That said, rents are still up year-over-year in most of the nations largest markets -- 72 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 with an increase of 5.3 percent over the last year, although this pace has been slowing over the past couple months. Riverside, CA comes in second with 4.1 percent year-over-year growth, followed by Anaheim, which saw rents grow by 3.6 percent.

At the state level, Nevada experienced the fastest year-over-year growth at 3.0 percent, followed by Arizona at 2.2 percent.

Few cities experiencing Y/Y rent declines

28 of the 100 largest cities in the nation have seen rents fall over the past year, a number which has been increasing over the past couple months. Furthermore, an additional 25 cities saw modest gains of less than 1.0 percent. The chart below shows trends for the five cities where rents declined most:

Seattle, WA has experienced the largest dip in rents over the past year with -2.4 percent growth, followed by Portland, OR, which saw rents fall by 2.1 percent over the past year. Both of these cities have seen significant numbers of new rental units hit the market recently, and this added supply seems to be exerting downward pressure on prices.

At the state level, Hawaii saw the biggest year-over-year decline with -1.4 percent growth. Rhode Island and Alaska are the only other states that saw rents fall by more than 1.0 percent.

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$2,106$2,509-0.1%0.6%
Los Angeles, CA$1,366$1,7550.2%1.1%
Chicago, IL$1,080$1,2700.0%-1.6%
Houston, TX$839$1,026-0.2%3.6%
Philadelphia, PA$969$1,170-0.1%0.4%
Phoenix, AZ$842$1,0500.3%2.5%
San Antonio, TX$843$1,0600.2%0.4%
San Diego, CA$1,568$2,0350.3%0.7%
Dallas, TX$894$1,1110.0%0.3%
San Jose, CA$2,109$2,6440.3%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 “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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