Apartment Rent Report Real Estate News

Peak Rental Season Comes to an End as the National Average Rent Reaches $1,472

Key takeaways:

  • The national average rent increased by 3.3% ($47) year over year and 0.1% ($2) month over month, reaching $1,472 in August according to data from Yardi Matrix.
  •  97% of cities (253 of 260) saw a seasonal wind-down in August compared to the previous month, 4 cities registered monthly increases of over 1%, while 3 cities saw rents dip.
  • With an average rent of $565, Wichita, KS remains the most affordable of the cities surveyed, while Manhattan ($4,272) still has the highest rents in the U.S.

The national average rent ends the peak season at $1,472

Continued interest in rental apartments and slowing construction keeps the national average rent on a strong upward trend, with a yearly increase of 3.3% ($47), having reached $1,472 in August, according to the latest survey from Yardi Matrix. With the peak rental season coming to an end, rent prices dwindled in the past month, displaying the slowest rise since February, 0.1% ($2). Rates rose slower than they did in August last year, exhibiting a shy monthly uptick commonly seen during the sluggish Autumn-Winter season.

The seasonal wind-down is visible across the nation. 253 cities displayed negligible rate changes (between -1% and 1%), 3 saw their rents dip and only 4 out of 260 registered increases since July. Furthermore, 64% of cities reported prices below the national average in August. Manhattan ($4,272), San Francisco ($3,706) and Boston apartments ($3,545) are yet again the priciest in the U.S., while Wichita and its $656 average rent is the most affordable, followed by Tulsa ($697) and Toledo ($724).

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


Tara Jeffcoat, Senior Research Analyst at Yardi Matrix notes that August trends are a sign of solid demand for multifamily housing in the second quarter, which was supported by low unemployment and a healthy number of household formations. Overall, builders and developers are reporting increased confidence in the multifamily market, and demand for new apartment units is still on the rise.

The majority of the largest renter hubs have rates below the national average

Rents in 65% of the nation’s renting mega-hubs are below the national average. However, after three months of sustained momentum, the average rent in Chicago surpasses the $2,000 threshold, reaching $2,007 per month, $105 more than this same time last year.

Neighbor to the south Indianapolis ($876) is the nation’s most affordable renter hotspot, followed by Columbus ($941) and San Antonio ($1,047). Meanwhile, apartments in Los Angeles ($2,525) and Washington, DC apartments ($2,227) are the second and third most expensive among the country’s largest renter cities after Manhattan.

Still, year over year, rates went up by less than $100 in 85% of the cities with the highest renter populations. Average prices in these hotspots climbed by as little as $10, in Houston ($1,106), and as much as $145, in Manhattan ($4,272), the only hub with an average rate above $3,000.

Average rents in the most affordable large cities are all under $1,000

The most affordable large cities all saw their rents increase or decrease by a minimal 0.1% in August. Oklahoma City ($774) is still the least expensive in the big leagues, and the eighth most affordable city in all size categories. El Paso barely outprices it with the same rent it had last month – $777. Memphis ($807) and Indianapolis ($876) come in third and fourth, while Columbus closes the affordability ranking with its $941 rate.

Unsurprisingly, Northeastern cities and those in Southern California have the highest prices in the big leagues. The average rent in Manhattan ($4,272) is still the most expensive in the nation and is followed by the usual suspects: San Francisco ($3,706), Boston ($3,545), Brooklyn ($2,940) and San Jose ($2,790), which all posted rates above $2,000.

Among mid-sized cities, Oakland’s average rent shoots up to new heights

Californian mid-sized cities have long been the most expensive. However, Oakland leaves the rest in the dust. After a 1.9% increase since August, the most significant out of all cities in the study, Oakland’s average rent reached $2,924, bringing it closer to becoming the first mid-sized city to surpass the $3,000 mark. Apartments in Long Beach ($2,075) come in second but are almost $900 cheaper, and are followed by Santa Ana ($1,946), Anaheim ($1,817), and Miami ($1,713).

The average rent in Wichita, the most inexpensive mid-sized city for renters, dipped by 0.6% in August, decreasing to $656. Rates in Tulsa ($697), the second most affordable in the ranking, didn’t change. Tucson ($881) and Albuquerque ($897) follow the two as beacons of the budget-friendly Southwest, while Lexington, KY ($953) comes in fifth.

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

More than half of the most affordable small cities are in Texas

Texas cities take three spots in the top five most affordable small cities for renters. Though Toledo ($724) still has the cheapest rents among all small cities, Brownsville apartments ($727) almost made it to the top of the list after a 0.8% dip in rates. Next up are Amarillo ($741), where the average rent increased by 0.7%, Killeen ($754), and Independence ($757).

As usual, the San Francisco Bay Area dominates the top five when it comes to most expensive rents. Apartments in San Mateo ($3,341) still have the priciest averages out of all small cities, even though they experienced a 0.5% drop. Cambridge ($3,244) comes in second, while Sunnyvale ($3,050) and Santa Clara ($2,969) take up the third and fourth places. Meanwhile, the average rent in Jersey City is still chugging along, reaching $2,956 in August.

Interest in 2-bedroom apartments regains momentum after tapering off

44% of renters searched for 2-bedroom apartments on RENTCafe.com, back to May levels after a steady decline throughout the year. Interest in 1-bedroom apartments (29%) gained some momentum during peak rental season but is faltering as rent growth slows down. Searches for 3-bedroom apartments (15%) and studios (13%) also dropped off slightly.

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

Check out the rent report for your area:

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

Irina Lupa

Irina Lupa is a creative writer for RENTCafé, where she covers market trends and topics relevant to today’s renters. Before developing a passion for real estate, she focused on fields ranging from automotive electronics to digital business development, digging into tech news from a critical perspective. Irina holds a B.S. in Journalism and Mass Communication. You can connect with Irina via email.

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