Apartment Rent Report Market Snapshots Rental Market

2018 Year End Rent Report – Rents Hold Strong at Year End, Las Vegas Among the Top Most Aggressive Markets

2018 Year-End-Report

Key takeaways:

  • The national average apartment rent ends the year with a strong 3.1% y-o-y increase, having reached $1,419, $42 above what renters were paying this time last year, according to Yardi Matrix.
  • As of the end of the year and throughout 2018, rents have seen the most fluctuation in small cities, with double-digit percentage increases in Odessa, TX, Midland, TX, and Reno, NV.
  • Queens, NY has been the only large market with stagnating rents, and only two small cities, Baton Rouge, LA and College Station, TX have seen significant decreases.

Favorable economic factors in 2018 and rising interest rates — which can cause delays in home-buying — pushed the U.S. average monthly rent to $1,419 by year-end, 3.1% or $42 more than at the end of 2017. The cost of renting an apartment started seeing annual increases above 2.5% in February, reached the highest month-over-month growth rate in May (0.8%) and peaked in September at $1,422 according to the latest data provided by Yardi Matrix.

National apartment average rent in 2018

Doug Ressler, Director of Business Intelligence at Yardi Matrix anticipates further growth in the demand for apartments in the new year. “Healthy job creation, a robust economy, and positive demographic trends are promoting the formation of new households and stimulating demand for rentals. Vacancies are likely to remain low and declining in most markets, particularly among Class B and C multifamily buildings.”

Las Vegas, Phoenix and LA plow on, Florida’s renter hubs hot on their heels

Aggressive increases in the price of Las Vegas apartments throughout the year have kept Sin City on the podium in terms of rent growth for most of the year, and by year-end, it has outpaced the largest renter hubs with rents almost 8% higher than last year. Phoenix apartments have also seen some of the fastest rent growths during 2018, and much like Las Vegas, the average rent in Phoenix passed the $1,000 mark by year-end thanks to a 7.7% Y-o-Y increase. Apartments for rent in Los Angeles now cost 6.6% more compared to the end of last year, earning it third place among the 20 largest renter hubs in the U.S. This translates into a $153 growth over 12 months, which is second only to Manhattan, where rents have increased by $157 (albeit that accounts for a more modest proportional change of 3.9% due to the $4,200 monthly average). The list continues with three Florida mega-hubs in close competition, Jacksonville (6.3%), Orlando (6.1%) and Tampa (5.4%).

One Year Rent Changes in 20 Renter Mega-Hubs

CityAverage Rent YE 2018Average Rent YE 2017Percentage ChangeNet Change
Manhattan (New York City), NY$4,200$4,0433.9%$157
Los Angeles, CA$2,461$2,3086.6%$153
Washington, D.C.$2,138$2,1011.8%$37
Seattle, WA$2,045$1,9882.9%$57
Chicago, IL$1,889$1,8014.9%$88
Denver, CO$1,597$1,5244.8%$73
Atlanta, GA$1,426$1,3545.3%$72
Orlando, FL$1,389$1,3096.1%$80
Austin, TX$1,361$1,3044.4%$57
Tampa, FL$1,291$1,2255.4%$66
Charlotte, NC$1,177$1,1423.1%$35
Dallas, TX$1,182$1,1512.7%$31
Houston, TX$1,093$1,0751.7%$18
Fort Worth, TX$1,083$1,0433.8%$40
Jacksonville, FL$1,059$9966.3%$63
Las Vegas, NV$1,044$9687.9%$76
San Antonio, TX$1,016$9823.5%$34
Phoenix, AZ$1,011$9397.7%$72
Columbus, OH$910$8783.6%$32
Indianapolis, IN$848$8193.5%$29

Cheap apartments and studios were the most searched rental terms of the year

There are many ways to measure demand, but since renters use the Web more than any other resource to look for their next apartment, search engines hold a very relevant record of what people really want. Google search phrases including ‘cheap apartments’ and ‘studios’ had by far the largest volume in 2018, adding up to almost half of all apartment-related online searches. Cheap apartments account for more than a quarter of rental-related queries, followed by studios (23.88%), showing that the interest in rentals was driven by a cost-conscious mindset this past year.

Check out the interactive word cloud below to see what else renters searched for in 2018. Tap or hover your mouse over the keywords to see the share of searches for each term:

One-, two- and three-bedroom apartments follow in that order, with 10.48%, 9.46% and 7.5% of all rental-related searches, respectively. Luxury apartments also saw significant interest among renters this year, accounting for 7% of searches.

As much of people’s online activity has migrated to GPS-enabled mobile devices, one third of the keywords people searched for in 2018 included the words ‘near me.’ This allows for a quicker identification of available homes for rent within a certain radius, saving apartment-seekers valuable time and also giving landlords a better and more targeted exposure.

NATIONAL: Small cities led in 2018 with highest rent increases

Most cities across the country saw their rents climb in 2018, and, mostly due to sheer size, small cities were the most vulnerable to increases. The top five highest year-over-year rent hikes in 2018 took place in small cities, and three of them saw double-digit jumps: in Odessa, TX rents went up 21.8%, Midland, TX saw a 21.4% average Y-o-Y increase, and rents in Reno, NV grew 10.2% over the past year. Peoria, AZ and Manchester, NH follow neck-and-neck with 9.7%.

Year-End-Report-2018-National-Map

LARGE CITIES: Las Vegas reinforced its top position, Phoenix joined the party in 2018

People in search of cheaper living options have had a big influence this year on what the top of the largest cities looks like in terms of rent growth. Cities like Las Vegas, NV and Phoenix, AZ have proven to be viable alternatives to big cities with suffocating housing costs for many. The increased demand is showing its effects, having kept Las Vegas firmly at the top of the list, and shooting Phoenix all the way to second place for rent growth among large markets. However, Los Angeles, CA is not far behind, rounding the podium with a 6.6% rent growth in 2018 in spite of boasting an average rent almost 2.5x higher than Phoenix or Las Vegas. Over to the East, Jacksonville, FL and Nashville, TN complete the top with 6.3% and 5.8%, respectively.

Year-End-Report-2018-Large-Cities-Map

The slowest growth rates have been registered in Queens, NY (with more of a stagnation rather than a significant change), Baltimore, MD, Boston, MA, Houston, TX and Brooklyn, NY, in all cases under 2% year-over-year.

See the complete list of cities at the end of this report.

MID-SIZE CITIES: Mesa rents are the fastest growing despite California’s strong presence

Mesa, AZ was the hottest mid-size market or among the top contenders in every snapshot throughout the year. Sure enough, the year-end result also shows the Phoenix suburb running rings around all cities of similar size, and it is also in the top 10 nationwide with an 8.3% Y-o-Y increase. The top 5 fastest growing rents at this end of year is otherwise dominated by California markets Fresno, Riverside and Long Beach with growth rates of 5.7%, 5.6%, and 5.5%, respectively. Pittsburgh, PA breaks the lineup at 4th place with a 5.6% rent increase over the 2017 year-end figure.

Year-End-Report-2018-Mid-size-Cities-Map

At the other end of the mid-size market chart, rents in Tulsa, OK and Lexington, KY close out the year unchanged, while Corpus Christi, TX, Wichita, KS and Virginia Beach, VA renters now pay between 1.4% and 1.7% more on average compared to last year.

SMALL CITIES: Where the largest changes took place in 2018 – for the better or worse

The most spectacular rent changes usually take place in small markets, and 2018 has been no exception. Odessa and Midland have both registered more than twice as fast increases as any other U.S. city, big or small. While Reno, NV, Peoria, AZ, and Manchester, NH are far behind that level, all three have come near the 10% mark this past year.

Year-End-Report-2018-Small-Cities-Map

Rents have slowed down to a noteworthy degree only in Baton Rouge, LA (-2.4%) and College Station, TX (-1.1%). Although Waco, TX, Brownsville, TX and Pearland, TX did register decreases, these have remained under 1%.

Apartments in Manhattan still ask the highest prices, the average monthly price having just reached the $4,200 mark, followed by San Francisco with $3,609 and Boston with $3,292. The cheapest rents are in Wichita KS, averaging $640Tulsa, OK ($682) and Brownsville, TX ($685 per month).

CityStateAverage rent
ManhattanNY$4,200
San FranciscoCA$3,609
BostonMA$3,292
San MateoCA$3,212
CambridgeMA$3,079
SunnyvaleCA$2,900
Jersey CityNJ$2,887
Santa ClaraCA$2,850
BrooklynNY$2,787
San JoseCA$2,723
CityStateAverage rent
WichitaKS$640
TulsaOK$682
BrownsvilleTX$685
ToledoOH$709
KilleenTX$713
AmarilloTX$735
IndependenceMO$736
DaytonOH$740
Fort WayneIN$750
Oklahoma CityOK$752

New apartments and rent trends in the largest metros

It’s also worth taking a look at each of the largest metropolitan areas to get a detailed picture of the local dynamics. See the slideshow below for a snapshot of new deliveries, the highest average rents and the biggest rent changes in some of the nation’s largest metros this past year.

Check the average price of rent in your city by using this interactive table:

CityStateAverageRentChangeMoMChangeYoY
Baton RougeLA$1,028-0.5%-2.4%
College StationTX$1,185-0.2%-1.1%
WacoTX$9510.1%-0.6%
BrownsvilleTX$685-0.1%-0.6%
PearlandTX$1,2750.1%-0.2%
NormanOK$872-0.5%-0.2%
QueensNY$2,1960.0%-0.2%
HartfordCT$1,1860.1%-0.1%
Des MoinesIA$884-0.2%0.2%
IrvineCA$2,393-0.1%0.4%
StamfordCT$2,3820.3%0.4%
RichardsonTX$1,3180.3%0.5%
AkronOH$8250.4%0.6%
South BendIN$8990.1%0.7%
TulsaOK$682-0.3%0.7%
LexingtonKY$8880.2%0.8%
EdisonNJ$1,576-0.4%0.8%
Broken ArrowOK$8090.2%1.0%
BaltimoreMD$1,249-0.2%1.1%
NapervilleIL$1,4460.6%1.1%
NewarkNJ$1,1660.3%1.1%
McKinneyTX$1,2330.0%1.1%
Little RockAR$776-0.3%1.2%
BostonMA$3,292-0.2%1.2%
BuffaloNY$1,048-0.1%1.3%
WaterburyCT$9350.2%1.3%
Corpus ChristiTX$9750.0%1.4%
WichitaKS$640-0.2%1.4%
PlanoTX$1,2790.2%1.4%
AmarilloTX$735-0.1%1.5%
BoulderCO$1,880-0.9%1.6%
Jersey CityNJ$2,887-0.6%1.6%
TallahasseeFL$1,1950.3%1.6%
New HavenCT$1,6610.2%1.7%
HoustonTX$1,0930.2%1.7%
BrooklynNY$2,7870.0%1.7%
McAllenTX$7750.3%1.7%
Virginia BeachVA$1,177-0.1%1.7%
WashingtonDC$2,138-0.2%1.8%
FriscoTX$1,3430.1%1.8%
Overland ParkKS$1,0630.2%1.8%
IrvingTX$1,130-0.2%1.9%
DaytonOH$740-0.1%1.9%
MilwaukeeWI$1,1440.4%2.0%
CoronaCA$1,6610.5%2.0%
JacksonMS$773-0.1%2.0%
HamptonVA$1,0140.2%2.0%
CincinnatiOH$962-0.3%2.0%
Santa MariaCA$1,5521.1%2.0%
IndependenceMO$7360.1%2.1%
WarrenMI$783-0.8%2.1%
Kansas CityMO$9720.1%2.1%
NorfolkVA$1,062-0.1%2.1%
MiramarFL$1,826-0.2%2.1%
CambridgeMA$3,0790.0%2.2%
Las CrucesNM$8050.1%2.2%
MobileAL$8000.0%2.2%
AugustaGA$794-0.4%2.2%
ChesapeakeVA$1,197-0.2%2.2%
St. PetersburgFL$1,272-0.2%2.3%
MadisonWI$1,219-0.1%2.3%
VallejoCA$1,740-0.1%2.4%
PasadenaTX$868-0.6%2.4%
ColumbusGA$8530.2%2.4%
KilleenTX$7130.0%2.4%
DetroitMI$1,029-1.2%2.5%
St. LouisMO$904-0.1%2.5%
Ann ArborMI$1,502-0.1%2.5%
SyracuseNY$1,085-0.5%2.6%
Colorado SpringsCO$1,113-0.2%2.6%
Oklahoma CityOK$7520.0%2.6%
HollywoodFL$1,434-0.4%2.6%
DallasTX$1,1820.1%2.7%
ColumbiaSC$1,0290.3%2.7%
Fort WayneIN$750-0.8%2.7%
Round RockTX$1,144-0.3%2.8%
SeattleWA$2,045-0.2%2.9%
RentonWA$1,643-0.6%2.9%
AuroraCO$1,321-0.8%2.9%
New OrleansLA$1,1270.6%2.9%
RochesterNY$1,014-0.1%2.9%
YonkersNY$1,9730.4%3.0%
MurrietaCA$1,6220.4%3.0%
LincolnNE$942-0.2%3.1%
CharlotteNC$1,177-0.4%3.1%
AlexandriaVA$1,702-0.4%3.1%
PortlandOR$1,497-0.2%3.1%
LouisvilleKY$924-0.1%3.1%
Pembroke PinesFL$1,714-0.3%3.1%
KentWA$1,444-0.5%3.1%
HillsboroOR$1,5030.1%3.2%
AlbuquerqueNM$8690.1%3.2%
RosevilleCA$1,636-0.8%3.2%
OrangeCA$2,0200.0%3.2%
Sterling HeightsMI$917-0.3%3.3%
MinneapolisMN$1,536-0.1%3.3%
OmahaNE$9030.1%3.3%
MesquiteTX$9600.0%3.3%
ArlingtonVA$2,149-0.6%3.4%
Fort CollinsCO$1,502-0.5%3.4%
Costa MesaCA$2,0660.0%3.4%
AuroraIL$1,3050.2%3.4%
ConcordCA$1,9580.4%3.4%
PhiladelphiaPA$1,565-0.6%3.4%
BurbankCA$2,2750.8%3.5%
DentonTX$1,196-0.3%3.5%
San AntonioTX$1,0160.2%3.5%
MurfreesboroTN$1,101-0.1%3.5%
Fort LauderdaleFL$1,9210.1%3.5%
IndianapolisIN$848-0.1%3.5%
OlatheKS$9350.1%3.5%
LubbockTX$9240.0%3.6%
FullertonCA$1,8730.1%3.6%
ArlingtonTX$1,005-0.6%3.6%
LakewoodCO$1,482-0.6%3.6%
ColumbusOH$9100.0%3.6%
Pompano BeachFL$1,3800.0%3.7%
MaconGA$814-0.1%3.7%
VancouverWA$1,289-0.2%3.7%
LansingMI$838-0.1%3.7%
LewisvilleTX$1,140-0.5%3.7%
El PasoTX$772-0.4%3.8%
Santa RosaCA$1,955-0.9%3.8%
BirminghamAL$962-0.6%3.8%
OaklandCA$2,7070.0%3.8%
Santa AnaCA$1,9140.2%3.8%
GreensboroNC$871-0.1%3.8%
ClevelandOH$1,0560.1%3.8%
Fort WorthTX$1,083-0.3%3.8%
CarlsbadCA$2,271-0.1%3.8%
Thousand OaksCA$2,1080.3%3.8%
ElizabethNJ$1,2310.1%3.9%
ManhattanNY$4,2000.0%3.9%
VistaCA$1,7640.3%3.9%
AnaheimCA$1,7810.1%3.9%
ModestoCA$1,193-0.1%3.9%
CarrolltonTX$1,192-0.2%3.9%
Newport NewsVA$9410.0%4.0%
BellevueWA$2,157-0.6%4.1%
DurhamNC$1,1270.0%4.1%
EverettWA$1,402-0.5%4.1%
CaryNC$1,1710.3%4.1%
North CharlestonSC$1,007-0.7%4.1%
MetairieLA$9260.8%4.2%
FontanaCA$1,273-0.2%4.2%
RaleighNC$1,1590.0%4.2%
HialeahFL$1,3530.1%4.2%
FremontCA$2,4240.2%4.3%
AustinTX$1,361-0.2%4.4%
Sandy SpringsGA$1,4510.0%4.4%
BakersfieldCA$9730.0%4.4%
MiamiFL$1,6840.4%4.5%
GreshamOR$1,262-0.3%4.5%
San JoseCA$2,723-0.4%4.5%
West CovinaCA$1,806-0.1%4.5%
EscondidoCA$1,587-0.1%4.5%
PasadenaCA$2,543-0.2%4.6%
CharlestonSC$1,301-1.1%4.6%
Kansas CityKS$7900.0%4.6%
EugeneOR$1,3060.3%4.6%
ThorntonCO$1,413-0.5%4.7%
BrandonFL$1,184-0.3%4.7%
RichmondVA$1,0650.0%4.7%
Grand PrairieTX$1,082-0.4%4.7%
Winston-SalemNC$8320.0%4.8%
DenverCO$1,597-0.7%4.8%
TempeAZ$1,302-0.2%4.8%
GlendaleCA$2,5130.4%4.8%
ChicagoIL$1,889-0.3%4.9%
West Palm BeachFL$1,4370.6%5.0%
MemphisTN$780-0.3%5.0%
GarlandTX$1,030-0.1%5.0%
Coral SpringsFL$1,702-0.8%5.0%
San FranciscoCA$3,6090.0%5.0%
Simi ValleyCA$1,9890.4%5.0%
LakelandFL$1,0220.1%5.0%
VenturaCA$1,9710.5%5.1%
SalemOR$1,018-0.1%5.2%
WilmingtonNC$1,0980.1%5.2%
Garden GroveCA$1,7350.2%5.2%
SavannahGA$1,060-0.2%5.3%
TucsonAZ$8400.4%5.3%
El CajonCA$1,514-0.3%5.3%
PomonaCA$1,5101.0%5.3%
San DiegoCA$2,182-0.2%5.3%
AtlantaGA$1,4260.3%5.3%
West Valley CityUT$1,125-0.1%5.3%
StocktonCA$1,1420.3%5.4%
SacramentoCA$1,358-0.5%5.4%
TampaFL$1,291-0.2%5.4%
Chula VistaCA$1,739-0.3%5.4%
DavieFL$1,749-0.1%5.4%
Rancho CucamongaCA$1,8450.1%5.4%
ClovisCA$1,0840.1%5.4%
Long BeachCA$1,9850.0%5.5%
San MateoCA$3,212-0.5%5.5%
PittsburghPA$1,212-0.2%5.6%
OntarioCA$1,6800.2%5.6%
West JordanUT$1,1440.5%5.6%
OceansideCA$1,790-0.1%5.7%
RiversideCA$1,5230.2%5.7%
Santa ClaraCA$2,850-0.6%5.7%
TemeculaCA$1,6590.0%5.7%
FresnoCA$1,0470.1%5.8%
Moreno ValleyCA$1,4630.6%5.8%
NashvilleTN$1,3460.1%5.8%
ParadiseNV$8660.2%5.9%
FairfieldCA$1,7790.3%5.9%
ClearwaterFL$1,182-0.2%5.9%
SunnyvaleCA$2,900-0.4%5.9%
ToledoOH$7090.1%6.0%
HaywardCA$2,1580.0%6.0%
TacomaWA$1,263-0.2%6.0%
VictorvilleCA$1,1000.2%6.1%
OrlandoFL$1,389-0.4%6.1%
Grand RapidsMI$1,0321.0%6.2%
ArvadaCO$1,408-0.6%6.2%
ChattanoogaTN$9680.2%6.3%
TorranceCA$1,9130.3%6.3%
WestminsterCO$1,467-0.6%6.3%
JacksonvilleFL$1,059-0.2%6.3%
GreeleyCO$1,142-0.3%6.4%
SpokaneWA$9670.5%6.5%
North Las VegasNV$1,0320.4%6.5%
OxnardCA$1,9380.8%6.5%
GilbertAZ$1,2270.1%6.6%
Los AngelesCA$2,4610.3%6.6%
Santa ClaritaCA$1,9421.0%6.6%
SalinasCA$1,657-0.5%6.7%
Huntington BeachCA$2,1460.1%7.0%
KnoxvilleTN$1,0210.2%7.2%
RialtoCA$1,2810.2%7.4%
Salt Lake CityUT$1,1960.2%7.5%
Daly CityCA$2,5320.1%7.5%
ScottsdaleAZ$1,433-0.1%7.5%
GainesvilleFL$1,2480.4%7.6%
PhoenixAZ$1,011-0.2%7.7%
Las VegasNV$1,0440.4%7.9%
High PointNC$8080.5%7.9%
GlendaleAZ$937-0.3%8.1%
ChandlerAZ$1,2580.3%8.3%
MesaAZ$974-0.3%8.3%
BoiseID$1,1100.5%8.4%
HendersonNV$1,2490.3%8.5%
San BernardinoCA$1,2310.2%8.6%
LancasterCA$1,2840.3%9.1%
ManchesterNH$1,3700.6%9.7%
PeoriaAZ$1,137-0.2%9.7%
RenoNV$1,248-0.7%10.2%
MidlandTX$1,5610.4%21.4%
OdessaTX$1,363-0.1%21.8%
HonoluluHI$1,771-1.1%NULL

Methodology:

RENTCafe is a nationwide apartment search website that enables renters to easily find apartments and houses for rent throughout the United States.

To compile this report, RENTCafe’s research team analyzed rent data across the 252 largest cities in the US. The report is exclusively based on apartment data related to buildings containing 50 or more units. Our report includes cities with populations over 100,000 and a rental stock of at least 2,900 apartments in 50+ unit buildings.

In this report, large cities are cities with a population of 600,000 people or more, mid-sized cities are cities with a population between 300,000 and 600,000, and small cities are cities with a population of less than 300,000.

Rent data was provided by Yardi Matrix, a business development and asset management tool for brokers, sponsors, banks and equity sources underwriting investments in the multifamily, office, industrial and self-storage sectors. Rental rate coverage is for Market Rate properties only. Fully Affordable properties are not included in the Yardi Matrix rental surveys and are not reported in rental rate averages.

Starting with the January 2017 rent survey, Yardi Matrix is using a methodology that incorporates more properties into the sample which caused slight changes in overall rents and year-over-year changes compared to the previous reports. We expect this methodology adjustment to produce more accurate averages at the national and metro levels.

*National averages include over 130 markets across the U.S., as reported by Yardi Matrix.

Search terms were collected from Google searches, analyzed and ranked based on average monthly volume, and grouped by core terms according to user intent.

Fair use and redistribution

We encourage you and freely grant you permission to reuse, host, or repost the images in this article. When doing so, we only ask that you kindly attribute the authors by linking to RENTCafe.com or this page, so that your readers can learn more about this project, the research behind it and its methodology.

About the author

Balazs Szekely

Balazs Szekely is a qualified journalist with extensive experience as a real estate writer for several Yardi publications. He has covered a wide range of housing issues and real estate news and trends as a creative writer for RENTCafé. His expertise has been quoted by major national and local media outlets. Feel free to get in touch with Balazs via email.

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