Apartment Rents Stabilize as the National Average Reaches $1,476 in October 

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Key takeaways:

  • The national average rent went up by 3.2% in the past year and 0.1% month-over-month, reaching $1,476 in October, according to data from Yardi Matrix.
  • Rents in 65% of the 260 analyzed cities are below the national average, while the remaining 35% are above $1,476.
  • Apartment rates in most major renter hubs in the United States go for less than the national monthly average.

The national average rent reaches $1,476 per month in October, up by 0.1%

A sluggish fall rental season has the average national rent at $1,476 following a 3.2% ($46) annual increase. Typical for this time of the year, fewer people are moving into new apartments. The national average rent inched up just 0.1% ($1) in October, with apartment rates essentially flat for the past few months.

Among the cities analyzed, 65% have average rents below the national average, while the remaining 35% see monthly averages above $1,476. Since last month, a negligible 1% of them experienced a decrease in apartment rates, 4% have seen increases, while monthly rents generally flatlined in the remaining 95%.

Compared to last month, rents have decreased the most in Odessa, TX (-1.3%) and Bellevue, WA (-1.2%), followed by Miramar, FL (-0.9%). Witnessing a 3.7% month-over-month increase, Pompano Beach, FL has the highest monthly increase, followed by a string of New York and Texas thriving representatives: Queens (2.7%), Kileen (1.5%), Brownsville (1.4%), and Yonkers (1.3%).

Check out the interactive map below to find out more about average rent prices in small, mid-sized, and large U.S. cities

Rents are above the national average in 6 of the 20 largest U.S. renter hubs

The ongoing desirability of renter core cities like Denver, CO ($1,670), Chicago, IL (1,965), Seattle, WA ($2,138), Washington, DC ($2,233), and LA ($2,530) is reflected in the average apartment rates. At $4,245 on average per month, it’s no wonder Manhattan leads the pack of renter hubs with monthly rates above the national average. However, desirability goes both ways with more and more renters opting for the opportunities and affordability of hotspots such as Indianapolis, IN ($887), Columbus, OH ($940) or San Antonio, TX ($1,044).

Incidentally, with the exception of Indianapolis (0.3% m-o-m), these cities are also the ones that saw rents drop or flatline compared to September. Manhattan had the biggest drop by 0.5% m-o-m, followed by Chicago (0.4%), Columbus (0.2%), and Seattle (0.1%), while apartments in Denver and San Antonio remained more or less the same as last month, much like DC and LA (0.1%).

The highest m-o-m increase among U.S. renter hubs, 0.8%, was felt in Phoenix, AZ, bringing the monthly average to $1,111. Rents in Tampa, FL ($1,339) are up by 0.7% m-o-m, followed by those in Austin, TX ($1,442) with 0.6% m-o-m. An affordable $1,240 average and a subdued m-o-m increase of 0.5% is what still places Dallas, TX among the most sought-after renter cities in the country. Doug Ressler, Manager of Business Intelligence at Yardi Matrix believes that these are the cities that have benefitted from a combination of tech-driven growth and booming populations.

The nation’s largest cities show minor monthly changes in average rent

Rents dropped in 4 out of the 5 most expensive large cities in the past month, the only exception being San Francisco, CA, where a 0.3% m-o-m increase brought the average to $3,733/month. Monthly decreases ranged from -0.3% in Brooklyn, NY ($2,953) to -0.7% in Boston, MA ($3,429). San Jose, CA registered a 0.6% m-o-m drop, making it the fifth priciest large city with $2,729/month. Manhattan may be the most expensive of the bunch, but it was its sister Queens, NY that saw average apartment rates go up the most of all the large cities analyzed. Average rates reached $2,598 after a significant 2.7% rise compared to September, which puts the borough in 6th place among the priciest largest cities.

The flipside occurs in the nation’s 5 most affordable large cities. Besides Columbus, OH ($940), which registered a 0.2% drop since September, the rest registered slight upticks. Oklahoma City, OK remains the most affordable large city ($783) after a 0.4% increase, followed by El Paso, TX ($791) with 0.5% m-o-m.  Next up is Memphis, TN ($809) with a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it 0.1% m-o-m, and Indianapolis, IN ($887), where average rates are 0.3% more expensive than last month.


October Rent Report_Large Cities map

Average apartment rates keep steady in mid-sized cities

Seemingly unperturbed by seasonality, mid-sized cities continue to show the smallest fluctuations when it comes to the average monthly rent. Among the nation’s priciest ones, monthly shifts range from 0.5% and 0.1% drops in Oakland, CA ($2,916) and Miami, FL ($1704), to 0.5% increase in Long Beach ($2,113) and 0.4% in Santa Ana ($1,954) and Anaheim, CA ($1,835).

The top for most affordable mid-sized cities remains almost unchanged since September, with a switch between Albuquerque, NM ($921) and Lexington, KY ($919) on the 4th and 5th places. When discussing nationwide affordability, Wichita, KS is still the belle of the ball with a $658 average (0% m-o-m). Tulsa, OK is not that far behind in desirability with $708 after a 0.4% m-o-m rise, followed by Tucson, AZ, where the modest $888 average is 0.2% more expensive than last month.

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

October Rent Report_Mid-Size Cities map

The most expensive small cities saw rents drop since September

Although they all registered slight monthly drops, the ranking for most expensive small cities in the United States remains the same as in September. The $3,302 in San Mateo, CA is 0.5% cheaper than last month, while in Cambridge, MA the average reached $3,191 after it went down by 0.2%. Sunnyvale, CA had the most significant decrease (-0.8%) and is now $3,004/month. With rents in the $2,900s, both Jersey City, NJ and Santa Clara, CA experienced apartment rates go down by 0.4% and 0.2%, respectively.

Monthly rent evolution is slightly different in the most affordable small cities. With the exception of Amarillo, TX, where there was no change in average, the rest of the small cities experienced rises in rent. With a $1 difference in average, Toledo, OH ($733) and Brownsville, TX ($734) switched places on the podium following a 0.1.% rise and more remarkable 1.4% m-o-m increase in Brownsville’s case. After the effects of 0.3% and 1.5% monthly increases, respectively, both Independence, MO and Killeen, TX share the same reasonable monthly average, $765/month.

October Rent Report_Small Cities map

2-bedroom apartments are at the top of renter preferences

2-bedroom apartments continue to be the most popular among renters, with more than 40% of searches on RentCafe.com. According to traffic data, 1-bedroom apartments make up almost 31% of searches, which puts them in second place among renter preferences. Renters seem to be least interested in 3-bedroom units (15%) and studios (14%).

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


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 133 markets across the U.S., including any that have been recently released, as reported by Yardi Matrix. RentCafe compiles this report at the city level, unlike Yardi Matrix who prepares reports at the market level. The national rent value is derived from the core 60 markets with years of tracked data that makes a consistent basket of data.

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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Alexandra is a creative writer and researcher for RentCafe. With a background in e-learning content writing and a passion for knowledge-sharing platforms, she's covered topics from prop-tech to renters insurance to interior design tips. Very familiar with the renter lifestyle herself, Alexandra enjoys researching and writing about renter demographic shifts and residential real estate market trends as much as she loves writing about how to get along with roommates. You can connect with Alexandra via email.

Alexandra’s work includes collaborations with financial and business publications. Her articles have been featured in several national and international online publications, including the New York Times, Barrons, Inman, Forbes, Architectural Digest, Marketwatch, Bisnow, and Curbed. Her educational background includes a B.A. in Japanese and English and an M.A. in Journalism and Cultural Studies.

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