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2019 Mid-Year Rent Report — The National Average Rent Ends the First Half of the Year at $1,465

Key takeaways:

  • The U.S. average rent increased by 3.2% ($45) year over year reaching $1,465 in June 2019, up by 0.8% ($12) month over month, according to Yardi Matrix data.
  • Throughout the first half of 2019, the national average rent has increased by 2.6% ($37).
  • Wichita, KS is the country’s most affordable city to rent in, at $656 per month, while the average monthly rent in Manhattan, NYC is $4,190.

Mid-year national average rent sees a spike as peak rental season is in full effect

In true seasonality fashion, June brings rent increases consistent with the end of the second quarter. Nationally, average rent prices reached $1,465 following a 3.2% annual increase and up 0.8% since last month — the highest monthly jump since May 2018.  Compared to last June, renters pay $45 more on average according to the latest rent survey from Yardi Matrix.

Since the beginning of the year, apartment rents have increased by 2.6% – that’s an extra $37 added to the average monthly rent in six months. Rent increases during the first half of the year are typically more accelerated, whereas during the second half of the year they’re expected to slow down, a typical pattern confirmed by rent evolution in the past years.

A growing portion of the population sees the appeal of renting in today’s residential real estate climate. With renting remaining the preferred housing option, the first half of 2019 saw accelerated rates in apartment leasing activity, as well as an effective rise in occupancy, says Doug Ressler, Director of Business Intelligence at Yardi Matrix.

The U.S. average rent jumps 0.8% in June month-over-month

In the first half of 2019, rents in 88% of the cities analyzed went up, while rents in 12% of cities are more or less the same. In June, 65% have average rents below the national average, whereas 35% have average rents above $1,465.

Manhattan, unsurprisingly, is top of the list with the priciest average rent in the nation, at $4,190/month. California and Massachusetts each have 2 cities among the five most expensive: San Francisco with $3,697 and Boston with $3,509, while smaller players San Mateo ($3,349) and Cambridge ($3,210) wrap up the top. Rent in Wichita, KS is still the most affordable in the U.S. at $656 per month, followed by Tulsa, OK with $696 and Toledo, OH with $721. Texas continues to offer affordable options, wrapping up the top five lowest rents in the country with Brownsville ($726) and Amarillo ($736).

The top renter hubs with the highest increases of the first half of 2019 are Phoenix, AZ, and Chicago, IL

The most expensive renter hubs in the United States are still popular cities with strong local economies. Manhattan keeps the title of most expensive in the U.S. with rents in the $4,000s while renting in Los AngelesWashington, DC, and Seattle, WA range between the $2,000s and $2,500s. Notably, Chicago, IL ($1,990) and Denver, CO ($1,670) are the last 2 large renter hubs among the 20 analyzed with apartment rents above the $1,465 national average. Renting in Chicago is 4.8% more expensive in June compared to the beginning of the year, while in Denver it is 3.6%.

Indianapolis, IN is the most budget-friendly large renter hub in the country with $877 on average per month despite a 2.8% increase since the beginning of the year. Next up is Columbus, OH ($940), which experienced a 2.7% increase in the first half of the year.  Still among the most affordable renter hubs are San Antonio, TX ($1,039), Phoenix, AZ ($1,084), and Jacksonville, FL ($1,094). However, rents in Phoenix have been going up for quite a while, with the highest increase in rent prices in the first half of the year: 5.8%.

Large cities: Manhattan rents are lower compared to the beginning of the year, but still the priciest

Manhattan apartments are still the most expensive in the country ($4,190), down by 0.1% since the start of the year. In fact, among the large cities analyzed, this is the only decrease registered in comparison to the beginning of the year. Renting in San Francisco reached $3,697 this month while Boston has the third-highest rent among large cities ($3,509) after seeing a $208 increase compared to the beginning of the year.

With a $769 monthly average, renting in Oklahoma City remains the most budget-friendly option for those looking to rent in large cities with El Paso, TX  on its tail. El Paso registered the second-lowest rent increase in these past months: $5 since the beginning of 2019. Memphis, TN had a $16 increase in rent prices in the same time period, but that did nothing to take away its title of third-most affordable larger city to rent in at $803/month.

Among the country’s larger cities, the highest net increase within the first months of 2019 was registered in Boston, MA ($208), while renters in Manhattan pay $6 less on average compared to the beginning of the year.

Mid-sized cities: California and Florida cities among the most expensive

Feeling the San Francisco effect for some time now, the $2,800 average rent in Oakland, CA is the highest among mid-size markets. The rest of the top most expensive mid-sized city rents stayed unchanged since last month, with California dominating the list. Long Beach is the second-least affordable ($2,071), followed by Santa Ana ($1,932) and Anaheim ($1,804).

Wichita, KS, and Tulsa, OK continue their reign as the most affordable U.S. cities to rent in although the $656 average in Wichita is $13 higher than the average figure reported back at the beginning of the year. A $14 increase happened in Tulsa, where rents have reached a comfortable $696/month. Renting in Tucson, AZ is $25 higher now than it was at the beginning of 2019, similar to Albuquerque, NM ($894) and Lexington, KY ($917), the 4th- and 5th-most affordable mid-sized cities to rent in the U.S.

Among the country’s mid-sized cities, the highest net increase within the first months of 2019 was registered in Long Beach, CA ($62). By comparison, the lowest net increase was felt by renters in Santa Ana, CA, who now pay an extra $11 on average compared to the beginning of the year.

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

Toledo, OH is the small city that exhibits the lowest rent amid Texas’ strong presence

Toledo, OH ($721) and Brownsville, TX ($726) are still the most affordable small cities in the country following increases of $10 and $34, respectively, compared to the start of 2019. The average rent price in Amarillo is almost the same as then ($736), while renting in Kileen is now $753 after a $39 increase since.

On the other hand, in San Mateo, CA, a $131 increase in the first months means renting here reached a $3,349 average, making it the small city with the highest average rent among the ones analyzed. Next up is Cambridge, MA, where a net increase of $165 during the first half of 2019 pushed the average rent to $3,210. A $158 increase led to a $3,057 average in Sunnyvale, CA. Under $3,000, yet still displaying high rents, are Santa Clara, CA with $2,967/month and Jersey City with $2,932.

Among the country’s smaller cities, the highest net increase within the first months of 2019 was registered in Cambridge, MA ($165). The lowest net increase was felt by renters in Hollywood, FL, who pay $21 less in June compared to the beginning of the year.

Most potential renters look for 2-bedroom apartments nearby

Rentals near me have dominated online searches throughout the first half of the year. Google searches including variations of apartment types within a certain radius of a person’s location have by far the largest search volume of the first months of 2019. Data on apartment-related searches showed that, next to a desirable location, the renters’ mindset is driven by functionality and financial awareness as the key terms that round up the podium are studio (6%) and cheap (4%).

On RENTCafe.com, 2-bedroom apartments have been the topmost searched unit type since the beginning of the year, when they made up more than 50% of searches. Traffic data shows that, in June, around 44% of the searches on the RENTCafé website were for 2-bedrooms, followed by almost 28% hits on 1-bedrooms, and 17% on 3-bedrooms. Although popular in overall online searches, studios make up only around 12% of searches on RENTCafé.

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

Methodology:

RENTCafe.com 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 260 largest cities in the US. The data on average rents comes directly from competitively-rented (market-rate) large-scale multifamily properties (50+ units in size), via telephone survey. The data is compiled and reported by our sister company 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. Fully-affordable properties are not included in the survey and are not reported in rental rate averages. The national average rent includes over 130 markets across the U.S., as reported by Yardi Matrix.

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. For more in-depth, customized data, please contact us at media@rentcafe.com.

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About the author

Alexandra Ciuntu

Alexandra Ciuntu is a creative writer and researcher for RENTCafé. With a background in e-learning content writing and a passion for knowledge-sharing platforms, she has previously covered topics from prop-tech to renters insurance. She now enjoys researching and writing about the renting lifestyle, renter demographic shifts, and residential real estate market trends and news. You can connect with Alexandra via email.

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