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Rents Continue Slowdown in NYC, SF But Mid-Sized Cities See Major Spike

Key takeaways:

  • Average rents hit $1,352 for the month of August, rising just $1 – or 0.1% – since July, according to Yardi Matrix.
  • A whopping 84% of the 250 biggest cities in the U.S. (209 in total) have experienced rent growth over the past year. Just 31 cities saw rents flat-line, while 10 cities had rent decreases.
  • After more than 12 months of constantly topping the rent growth charts, California is no longer home to the fastest-growing rents in the U.S.; Midland puts Texas ahead in the rent race, with Odessa claiming the No. 2 spot.
  • Manhattan’s rental market may be slowing down but the exclusive NYC borough still remains the most expensive place to rent in the country with average rents north of $4,000/mo.

With apartment construction at a 20-year high, more units are hitting the market than ever before. This boost in supply is driving rents downward — or at least muting any further growth — in many parts of the nation. As such, rents essentially flatlined for the month of August, with the average rent coming in at $1,352 – just $1 higher than July and only 2.4% over August 2016, according to Yardi Matrix. This marks the slowest annual growth rate we’ve seen in more than three years.


Rents Cool Off but Not Everywhere: Midland Joins Seattle, L.A. in Biggest Annual Rent Gains

Though it seems rent growth is certainly cooling off at the national level, the same can’t be said when analyzing individual cities — particularly in the West and South. In terms of actual rent gains, Midland, a small city in Texas, has emerged as the uncontested leader over the past 12 months, with local renters seeing a whopping $208 increase since just last August. Nearby Odessa also saw big gains; rents in the area rose 19.7% or $171 – for the same period.

Seattle — a relocation hotspot for Silicon Valley transplants and a tech hub in its own right — came in at No. 4 for dollar-by-dollar increases, with rents clocking in $137 higher than this time last year. Meanwhile, renters in Los Angeles are hot on their tail, seeing rents skyrocket $136 year-over-year.

If the numbers seem a bit shocking, though, they shouldn’t. These four cities are only a mere snapshot of the staggering rent growth much of the nation has seen. In fact, a grand total of 17 major cities experienced $100-plus rent growth over the past year.

Top Markets with the Biggest Rent Gains

#CityStateAverage RentPercent Change
Rent Gain
3Thousand OaksCA$2,1017.1%$140
5Los AngelesCA$2,2826.3%$136
17Pembroke PinesFL$1,6536.4%$100
18Santa RosaCA$1,8245.7%$99
22Chula VistaCA$1,6436.1%$94
23West CovinaCA$1,6855.9%$94

One-, Two-Bedroom Units See Steepest Rise

Though rents across all property types remained fairly stable for August, one-bedroom apartments and two-bedroom apartments saw the most year-over-year growth. One-bedrooms, which came in with an average rent of $1,161, rose 0.1% for the month and 2.9% since last year. Two-bedrooms ($1,329 per month) also ticked up 2.9% year-over-year.

Studio apartments ($1,188 per month) saw the least amount of rent growth since last year, rising just 2% since August 2016. Three-bedroom units jumped 0.1% for the month and 2.4% for the year, coming in at $1,554 per month on average.

Bedroom TypeAverage RentChange M-o-MChange Y-o-Y
1 Bed$1,1610.1%2.9%
2 Beds$1,3290.2%2.9%
3 Beds$1,5540.1%2.4%

TX, NYC Apartment Rents Lose Steam

The Lone Star State is dominating the list of biggest rent drops, claiming seven of the top 10 spots. Lubbock took No. 1 with a year-over-year 3.4% decrease and a monthly rent of just $900, well below the nation’s average. At No. 2, College Station’s $1,179 rent is 3.1% lower than a year ago, and No. 3’s Round Rock saw a 2.3% drop in rents, coming in at $1,099 for the month.

Pearland, Waco, and Corpus Christi also made the top 10, with dips of 1.8%, 1.3%, and 1.3%, respectively. Surprisingly, the nation’s most expensive urban hub — Manhattan — came in at No. 4, after a 2% drop in rents since last year. Brooklyn and Oklahoma City rounded out the list with decreases of 1.3% and 1.1% over the year.

Though not in the top 10, Houston merits special mention this month after experiencing the devastating disaster that was Hurricane Harvey. The Lone Star State’s biggest city was already underperforming due to its struggling energy sector and oversupply problems, but Harvey — and the massive recovery efforts it will require — is sure to impact local housing markets even further.

U.S. Cities Where Rents Have Fallen Y-o-Y

#CityStateChange Y-o-YAverage Rent
2College StationTX-3.1%$1,179
3Round RockTX-2.3%$1,099
4Manhattan (New York City)NY-2.0%$4,096
7Brooklyn (New York City)NY-1.3%$2,724
9Corpus ChristiTX-1.3%$947
10Oklahoma CityOK-1.1%$725

Top Markets for Rent Growth: Renters in Mid-Sized Cities See No Respite from Rising Rent Prices

Even though rent growth appears to be tapering off — or at least slowing down — many cities are moving in the opposite direction. In fact, a staggering 84% of the 250 biggest cities in the U.S. (209 in total) have seen rents grow over the past year.

Renters in mid-sized cities are getting hit particularly hard, with local units getting further and further out of reach. The reason? It all boils down to high-priced urban centers. As rents rise in big cities, residents are forced into more affordable (at least at the time) outlying communities. Many of these smaller cities simply aren’t prepared to accommodate the influx of new residents, and as demand for limited units rises, so do rents. Sacramento offers the perfect example: the newfound home of many Silicon Valley and Bay Area workers saw rents rise 8.2% over the year as increased demand and strapped supply stifled the market.

You can also look to tech-heavy, housing-short cities such as Colorado Springs and Reno for further proof. Big-name employers move in and revitalize the economy, but they send rents to a whole new level in the process. In Reno, home of Tesla’s Gigafactory as well an Apple facility and an Amazon warehouse, rents are at an all-time high (and still growing.) Over the past year, Reno rents increased by 11.1%, putting it at No. 5 for year-over-year rent growth in the entire country.

With job growth healthy and on the rise, Colorado Springs has also experienced significant rent acceleration year-over-year. Apartments for rent in Colorado Springs now call for $1,063 on average, up 8.4% from the same time last year.

But the story’s not over for these smaller cities (including Tacoma and Kent in Washington, as well as Buffalo in New York). According to Doug Ressler, Senior Analyst with Yardi Matrix, we can expect growth from other similar cities in the coming months.

“Real estate is a game of supply and demand,” Ressler said. “When there’s not enough housing to fuel some healthy competition among landlords, prices rise. Ultimately, housing tends to be as expensive as the local economic conditions permit it, and with the job market improving and increased mobility among young professionals, some emerging cities are bound to see their housing markets tighten at a higher rate than usual – at least until supply can keep up.”

The Cities with the Fastest Growing Rents – July 2017

#CityStateChange Y-o-YAverage Rent
8Colorado SpringsCO8.4%$1,063

Red-Hot vs. Affordable Housing Markets: One Month’s Rent in NYC Costs More than a Half a Year of Rent in Wichita

For more months than we can count, Manhattan has rung in as the nation’s single most expensive market for renters. August is no different, and with a monthly rent of $4,096, the New York City borough once again took the top spot. Though the market actually experienced nominal rent decreases over the last year, its sky-high prices are still a shocker. In fact, renters could spend half a year in Wichita, Kansas, for less than one month’s rent in Manhattan. Seriously.

But Manhattan isn’t the only high roller in the U.S. San Francisco makes the list with rents of $3,438, and Boston, San Mateo, and Cambridge round out the top five — all with rents over $3,000 per month. Also on the list of most expensive cities were Jersey City in New Jersey; Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and San Jose in California (which claimed half the spots); and Brooklyn.

Though Wichita came in as the most affordable city in the country (with rents of just $633), Toledo, the fourth most populous city in Ohio, isn’t too far behind. Its rent of $668 per month put it at No. 2 for lowest rents, just above Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Killeen and Brownsville in Texas. Filling out the top 10 were Independence, Missouri; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Oklahoma City; Dayton, Ohio; and Amarillo, Texas.

Top 10 Cities with the Highest Rents - August 2017

CityStateAverage Rent
San FranciscoCA$3,438
San MateoCA$3,060
Jersey CityNJ$2,843
Santa ClaraCA$2,746
San JoseCA$2,660

Top 10 Cities with the Lowest Rents - August 2017

CityStateAverage Rent
Fort WayneIN$721
Oklahoma CityOK$725

We’ve expanded our coverage for the monthly rent report to 250 cities — specifically, the ones that have populations over 100K and a rental stock of at least 2,800 apartments in 50+ unit buildings.

Curious about rents in cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, or Denver? See where your city stands when it comes to rent growth and average rent prices by checking out this table:

CityStateAverage RentChange M-o-MChange Y-o-Y
Manhattan (New York City)NY$4,096 0.00%-2.00%
San FranciscoCA$3,438 0.10%-0.20%
BostonMA$3,247 -0.30%0.80%
San MateoCA$3,060 0.20%1.80%
CambridgeMA$3,059 -0.10%1.30%
Jersey CityNJ$2,843 -0.60%2.50%
SunnyvaleCA$2,808 0.30%4.20%
Santa ClaraCA$2,746 -0.50%2.00%
Brooklyn (New York City)NY$2,724 0.00%-1.30%
San JoseCA$2,660 0.00%2.70%
Daly CityCA$2,490 0.00%3.20%
OaklandCA$2,483 -0.30%0.40%
StamfordCT$2,385 0.50%0.90%
IrvineCA$2,376 0.40%4.20%
FremontCA$2,356 -0.30%0.90%
PasadenaCA$2,320 0.00%0.80%
GlendaleCA$2,291 0.10%1.40%
Los AngelesCA$2,282 0.70%6.30%
BellevueWA$2,163 0.10%5.20%
CarlsbadCA$2,152 0.60%2.10%
BurbankCA$2,123 0.10%1.90%
Thousand OaksCA$2,101 0.70%7.10%
ArlingtonVA$2,099 -0.30%0.70%
Washington D.C.DC$2,064 -0.30%0.00%
HaywardCA$2,053 0.40%4.20%
San DiegoCA$2,039 0.50%4.00%
SeattleWA$2,004 0.10%7.30%
Huntington BeachCA$2,001 0.70%3.20%
Costa MesaCA$1,977 0.50%3.30%
OrangeCA$1,949 0.60%4.30%
ConcordCA$1,884 0.40%3.60%
YonkersNY$1,867 -0.10%6.00%
Santa ClaritaCA$1,852 -0.30%2.80%
Simi ValleyCA$1,847 0.40%-0.50%
Long BeachCA$1,844 0.10%1.50%
VenturaCA$1,843 0.20%5.70%
OxnardCA$1,827 0.00%5.40%
Santa RosaCA$1,824 -0.20%5.70%
ChicagoIL$1,817 -0.40%3.00%
MiramarFL$1,811 0.40%2.50%
Santa AnaCA$1,804 0.40%3.50%
FullertonCA$1,797 0.40%4.40%
TorranceCA$1,777 0.70%6.90%
BoulderCO$1,753 0.70%1.10%
Fort LauderdaleFL$1,753 0.20%2.80%
DavieFL$1,743 0.30%5.00%
Rancho CucamongaCA$1,739 0.10%2.90%
VallejoCA$1,697 -0.40%5.30%
AnaheimCA$1,696 0.50%5.60%
AlexandriaVA$1,691 -0.20%0.40%
West CovinaCA$1,685 -1.10%5.90%
OceansideCA$1,683 1.00%4.10%
VistaCA$1,662 0.90%1.70%
Garden GroveCA$1,660 0.30%5.10%
Pembroke PinesFL$1,653 -0.10%6.40%
FairfieldCA$1,651 0.10%6.70%
Chula VistaCA$1,643 0.60%6.10%
Coral SpringsFL$1,640 -1.00%1.90%
RosevilleCA$1,620 -0.40%7.40%
New HavenCT$1,615 0.60%4.30%
MiamiFL$1,605 1.10%3.40%
RentonWA$1,601 0.00%5.70%
SalinasCA$1,577 0.70%6.80%
CoronaCA$1,575 -0.20%4.40%
OntarioCA$1,574 0.30%4.70%
MurrietaCA$1,560 -0.20%4.10%
HillsboroOR$1,538 -0.30%3.80%
TemeculaCA$1,533 0.10%3.10%
EdisonNJ$1,528 0.30%3.60%
DenverCO$1,517 0.30%3.20%
Santa MariaCA$1,517 0.50%5.50%
PhiladelphiaPA$1,496 0.40%1.40%
EscondidoCA$1,483 0.90%5.90%
NapervilleIL$1,465 0.30%4.00%
MinneapolisMN$1,462 0.00%4.20%
PortlandOR$1,452 0.10%0.10%
Ann ArborMI$1,452 0.60%4.20%
LakewoodCO$1,450 0.30%4.50%
El CajonCA$1,417 0.60%6.40%
Fort CollinsCO$1,415 0.60%5.00%
RiversideCA$1,414 0.10%4.50%
PomonaCA$1,412 1.60%2.20%
Sandy SpringsGA$1,412 0.20%4.40%
KentWA$1,411 -0.10%9.00%
Moreno ValleyCA$1,371 -0.10%5.10%
WestminsterCO$1,368 0.40%1.50%
EverettWA$1,367 0.10%5.60%
ThorntonCO$1,361 0.20%0.10%
AtlantaGA$1,352 0.30%3.80%
FriscoTX$1,328 0.20%1.60%
HollywoodFL$1,326 1.20%3.80%
West Palm BeachFL$1,322 -2.00%2.30%
AustinTX$1,309 0.10%0.70%
RichardsonTX$1,303 0.00%1.80%
ScottsdaleAZ$1,300 0.10%4.20%
OrlandoFL$1,283 0.70%4.00%
AuroraCO$1,277 0.40%3.50%
Pompano BeachFL$1,274 -0.40%4.10%
AuroraIL$1,271 0.20%2.30%
ArvadaCO$1,269 0.40%3.70%
NashvilleTN$1,266 0.00%3.40%
HialeahFL$1,260 -0.20%5.30%
PlanoTX$1,259 0.50%0.50%
SacramentoCA$1,253 -0.10%8.20%
PearlandTX$1,252 -0.40%-1.80%
ManchesterNH$1,246 -0.20%4.10%
CharlestonSC$1,239 0.40%2.60%
EugeneOR$1,238 -0.10%3.60%
McKinneyTX$1,229 0.10%2.80%
TempeAZ$1,218 -0.20%4.30%
VancouverWA$1,217 0.20%3.90%
BaltimoreMD$1,214 0.40%2.60%
St. PetersburgFL$1,211 0.80%5.90%
TampaFL$1,210 0.20%5.60%
MadisonWI$1,204 0.90%3.30%
MidlandTX$1,201 1.70%20.90%
HartfordCT$1,197 0.40%2.90%
GreshamOR$1,195 0.10%1.40%
FontanaCA$1,181 0.30%5.40%
College StationTX$1,179 -1.20%-3.10%
ElizabethNJ$1,171 0.00%7.10%
ChesapeakeVA$1,162 0.40%3.70%
NewarkNJ$1,159 -0.70%3.10%
RialtoCA$1,151 0.30%2.10%
PittsburghPA$1,150 -0.30%2.30%
LancasterCA$1,150 -0.10%11.10%
CarrolltonTX$1,148 0.00%3.70%
GainesvilleFL$1,147 0.70%3.70%
TallahasseeFL$1,146 0.30%3.00%
DentonTX$1,145 0.00%2.30%
Virginia BeachVA$1,141 -0.20%1.80%
CharlotteNC$1,141 -0.10%3.40%
CaryNC$1,138 0.30%2.60%
DallasTX$1,135 0.30%4.10%
RaleighNC$1,120 0.30%3.00%
BrandonFL$1,118 0.40%0.90%
ChandlerAZ$1,118 0.10%2.80%
RenoNV$1,115 0.50%11.10%
HendersonNV$1,112 -0.10%3.70%
New OrleansLA$1,109 0.10%0.10%
ClearwaterFL$1,108 0.30%3.70%
LewisvilleTX$1,106 0.40%1.90%
Salt Lake CityUT$1,105 0.30%5.40%
San BernardinoCA$1,103 0.20%3.80%
IrvingTX$1,101 0.50%4.60%
Round RockTX$1,099 0.00%-2.30%
GilbertAZ$1,098 -0.50%2.90%
ModestoCA$1,096 0.50%6.30%
MilwaukeeWI$1,089 -0.50%1.20%
DurhamNC$1,079 0.50%4.40%
GreeleyCO$1,069 0.40%4.80%
West JordanUT$1,063 0.10%1.00%
Colorado SpringsCO$1,063 0.40%8.40%
MurfreesboroTN$1,057 0.00%2.80%
Baton RougeLA$1,056 -0.40%2.70%
TacomaWA$1,051 0.50%8.40%
StocktonCA$1,051 0.30%9.00%
West Valley CityUT$1,039 0.60%3.30%
OdessaTX$1,038 3.40%19.70%
SyracuseNY$1,037 -0.90%3.00%
HoustonTX$1,034 -0.30%-0.90%
WilmingtonNC$1,034 -1.50%3.10%
Fort WorthTX$1,033 0.20%5.60%
Grand PrairieTX$1,029 0.40%6.00%
NorfolkVA$1,027 -0.50%1.80%
SavannahGA$1,022 0.60%4.00%
Overland ParkKS$1,021 0.00%1.50%
BuffaloNY$1,016 0.70%12.80%
RichmondVA$1,008 -0.10%2.80%
BoiseID$1,005 -0.30%5.80%
VictorvilleCA$1,003 0.40%7.30%
North CharlestonSC$9800.90%5.90%
San AntonioTX$9760.00%1.60%
Corpus ChristiTX$947-0.80%-1.30%
Grand RapidsMI$937-0.10%2.40%
Las VegasNV$937-0.20%4.60%
Kansas CityMO$9320.30%2.20%
North Las VegasNV$927-0.10%2.00%
Newport NewsVA$902-0.60%1.60%
St. LouisMO$873-0.20%1.60%
South BendIN$867-0.30%3.60%
Sterling HeightsMI$8650.10%2.60%
Des MoinesIA$858-0.50%7.30%
Broken ArrowOK$7910.40%-0.40%
Las CrucesNM$774-0.60%0.40%
Little RockAR$767-0.40%0.10%
Kansas CityKS$7600.80%0.70%
High PointNC$7590.10%2.60%
El PasoTX$742-0.30%0.00%
Oklahoma CityOK$7250.40%-1.10%
Fort WayneIN$721-0.40%3.10%
About RentCafe and How We Compiled the Data

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 250 largest cities in the US. The report is exclusively based on apartment data related to buildings containing 50 or more units.

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 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 124 markets across the US, as reported by Yardi Matrix.

Amalia Otet
Amalia Otet
Amalia Otet is an online content developer and creative writer for RENTCafé. She loves all things real estate and strives to live beautifully, one green step at a time.

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