Apartment Rent Report Market Insights Rental Market

End of Rental Season Brings Renters Temporary Relief, but Demand Keeps Fueling Increases in Big Employment Hubs

Key takeaways:

  • Rent growth came to a halt in September at national level – the $1,412 U.S.-wide average marks a 0.1 percent ($1) month over month decrease, however it’s up by 3 percent ($41) year over year, according to Yardi Matrix data.
  • Of the nation’s biggest 252 cities 93 percent have registered Y-o-Y rent increases, 6 percent flatlined, and only 1 percent of cities have seen their rents decrease compared to  September 2017.
  • Rents have increased the most in Queens (NYC), Phoenix, and Las Vegas among the nation’s largest cities, while Baltimore, Detroit, and San Antonio rents have stayed closest to last September’s average.

National apartment average rent September 2018

Rent growth wavers at the end of a strong season

Although September gave renters a well-deserved break, marking the first period of negative growth month over month since February, the $1,412 national average is still an impressive 3% increase year over year. The average monthly rent in the U.S. is $41 higher than the September 2017 figure and $1 lower than last month’s average.

The heat is still on in Florida: Tampa and Orlando leave the largest renter hubs standing

A look at the top 20 largest renter hubs in the U.S., reveals that Tampa apartments have registered the highest increase in rent over the past year, 7.3%, Y-o-Y, reaching $1,297 in September. Steep increases in Florida’s renter hubs have also earned Orlando a runner-up position on the list: Orlando apartments are 7.1% more expensive to rent compared to last September, having reached $1,389. Meanwhile, San Antonio apartments saw the slowest rent growth of the 20 renter mega-hubs. The year over year rate of 1.3% in one year means rents have inched up to $993 per month , just $13 more than one year ago, which is also the smallest net change year over year. By contrast, apartments in Chicago cost $102 more to rent on average than they did just 12 months ago. Orlando and Tampa seem to be in the same league with Los Angeles and Manhattan, all four being in the $85-$95 range in terms of Y-o-Y net rent growth.

One Year Rent Changes in 20 Renter Mega-Hubs September 2018

CitySeptember 2018September 2017Percentage ChangeNet Change
Manhattan (New York City), NY$4,119$4,0342.1%$85
Los Angeles, CA$2,392$2,3004.0%$92
Washington, D.C.$2,143$2,1071.7%$36
Seattle, WA$2,064$1,9893.8%$75
Chicago, IL$1,913$1,8115.6%$102
Denver, CO$1,600$1,5235.1%$77
Atlanta, GA$1,399$1,3543.3%$45
Orlando, FL$1,389$1,2977.1%$92
Austin, TX$1,347$1,3083.0%$39
Tampa, FL$1,297$1,2097.3%$88
Charlotte, NC$1,200$1,1435.0%$57
Dallas, TX$1,178$1,1443.0%$34
Houston, TX$1,088$1,0642.3%$24
Fort Worth, TX$1,069$1,0412.7%$28
Jacksonville, FL$1,047$9915.7%$56
Las Vegas, NV$1,019$9606.1%$59
San Antonio, TX$993$9801.3%$13
Phoenix, AZ$997$9336.9%$64
Columbus, OH$911$8704.7%$41
Indianapolis, IN$842$8143.4%$28

Renters in Chicago, Las Vegas and Jacksonville will see the most severe long-term effects of this season

Come the end of a particularly intense rental season, the question arises: what long-term impact will these increases have on the housing expenses of renters? The cumulative rent increases of these past five months have boosted the national average rent by $25 or 1.8%. This, projected to the next 12 months, means that a new lease signed in September will have cost $300 more over a year than an agreement signed before the peak season.

The 2018 rental season has added anywhere between $3 or 0.3% (Houston) and $79 or 4.3% (Chicago) to the pre-season average in the case of the nation’s top renter markets. Over a span of a year, this will add up to anything from $38 to $948 for a lease agreement signed in September. However, more shocking is the fact that in some markets the swollen rents will burn a pretty sizable hole in renters’ budgets even during remainder of the year, as seen in the last column of the table below.

New vs. pre-season leases - Impact analysis of the 2018 rental season

City, StatePre-Season Average Rent (April)Post-Season Average Rent (September)Net changePercentage Change12-month impact3-month impact
Chicago, IL$1,834 $1,913 $794.30%$948$237
Las Vegas, NV$979$1,019 $404.10%$480$120
Jacksonville, FL$1,008 $1,047 $393.90%$468$117
Orlando, FL$1,340 $1,389 $493.70%$588$147
Phoenix, AZ$962$997$353.60%$420$105
Washington, D.C.$2,070 $2,143 $733.50%$876$219
Austin, TX$1,302 $1,347 $453.50%$540$135
Tampa, FL$1,254 $1,297 $433.40%$516$129
Charlotte, NC$1,162 $1,200 $383.30%$456$114
Columbus, OH$883$911$283.20%$336$84
Seattle, WA$2,001 $2,064 $633.10%$756$189
Los Angeles, CA$2,326 $2,392 $662.80%$792$198
Denver, CO$1,559 $1,600 $412.60%$492$123
Atlanta, GA$1,366 $1,399 $332.40%$396$99
Indianapolis, IN$823$842$192.30%$228$57
Dallas, TX$1,154 $1,178 $242.10%$288$72
Fort Worth, TX$1,049 $1,069 $201.90%$240$60
National (U.S.)$1,387$1,412$251.80%$300$75
Manhattan, NY$4,063 $4,119 $561.40%$672$168
San Antonio, TX$989$993$40.40%$48$12
Houston, TX$1,085 $1,088 $30.30%$36$9

Renters looking to relocate or renew their leases in the upcoming months should expect to see vigorous rent growth mainly in working-class housing, fueled by an increased demand as the job market is strengthening, according to Doug Ressler, Director of Business Intelligence at Yardi Matrix. At the same time, Ressler warns that lags in multifamily development are to be anticipated in 2019. “Developers were already getting squeezed by labor costs and rising interest rates, so tariffs add another layer of difficulty.” This weakening cash flow may slam the brakes on development activity, since construction costs are rising at a faster rate than rents. “These added costs combined can’t be offset by pushing rents, as the Class A space is still competing for occupancy,” Ressler says.

NATIONAL: Rents in Nevada and Arizona feel the heat from increased demand

The increased activity in the Permian Basin is leaving its mark on the housing markets of Odessa, TX, and Midland, TX too. The average rents in both cities top last September’s figures by more than a quarter, although in the summer months these growth rates were closer to one third. The average rent in Odessa was 26.5% higher in September compared to the same period last year, having reached $1,356. This is also the highest increase recorded nationally. The average rent in Midland has recorded a 25.4% growth rate Y-o-Y, reaching $1,559 in September. In dollar value, this translates into a $284 increase in Odessa and a whopping $316 in Midland in just one year.

Demand is way ahead of what the market can offer at the moment in Reno, NV, fueling the crippling rent growth in the Biggest Little City in the World. Third fastest among small cities, rent growth in Reno has reached 12% compared to a year prior. The city’s average is currently at $1,265, claiming $136 more of a renter’s monthly budget than one year ago. Job growth has been strong in Northern Nevada in recent years, and as large companies continue to bring new employment opportunities by the hundreds, vacancies on the rental market are nearing zero. Just three years ago a $900 monthly rent was commonplace in Reno, but the average rent has skyrocketed, adding more than $300 to the average since 2015.

Once equally affordable, the Phoenix suburb of Peoria, AZ has a strikingly similar story. With an average rent at about the same, $900-level just three years ago, the strong and fast population growth experienced by pretty much the entire metro is now causing affordability issues.  The current $1,114 average rent in Peoria is the result of a massive, 9.5% Y-o-Y increase – in other words, the average rental home costs $97 more than 12 months ago.

The fifth in the U.S. by rent growth is the city of Lancaster, CA, where the shortage in new housing supply has pushed rents to $1,273 by September, 9.2% or $107 more than in the same period of 2017.

RentCafe September 2018 National Rent Report


Rent prices have decreased in September in a total of 5 out of the 252 cities surveyed. Baton Rouge, LA rents cost 1.3% less compared to last September, followed by Irvine, CA (-1.1%), Brownsville, TX (-0.9%), Norman, OK (-0.7%) and Richardson, TX (-0.2%).

LARGE CITIES: Queens, Phoenix, and Las Vegas see fastest rent growth

The New York City borough of Queens has seen the biggest increase among large cities, where rents are up 8.4% compared to last year. The average is now $2,342 (the same as last month), behind both Manhattan’s $4,119 as well as Brooklyn’s $2,801. Manhattan rents posted a modest 2.1% Y-o-Y growth, while in Brooklyn rents are up 4%.

Phoenix, AZ boasts the nation’s second-fastest growing rents, where apartments cost on average 6.9% more compared to the same time last year. The Phoenix area is increasingly popular among those who decide to relocate from the big coastal markets in search of more affordable housing options and job opportunities. In big city terms, the $997 average rent in Phoenix is very affordable.

Las Vegas is also very popular, however the supply-demand imbalance is creating affordability issues, hence Sin City’s high ranking among large cities. The average rent for Las Vegas apartments has passed the $1,000 mark since last year, reaching $1,019 in September – up 6.1%  in the  past 12 months.

Large Cities RentCafe National Rent Prices September 2018

Renters in Baltimore, Detroit, San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Washington, DC breathe a huge, collective sigh of relief, as these cities have seen the slowest rent growth in September, ranging from 0.2% in Baltimore to 1.7% in DC.

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

MID-SIZE CITIES: Mesa and Tampa see fastest rent growth rates

Apartments in Mesa, AZ and Tampa, FL have seen price increases above 7% in September. Rents in Mesa have reached $969 per month, and in Tampa the average rent is $1,297. Sacramento ($1,344) and Pittsburgh ($1,211) follow with growth rates of 5.1% and 5%, respectively. Fresno completes the top 5, with an annual price increase of 4.8% to $1,026.

Mid-size Cities RentCafe National Rent Prices September 2018

We have Tulsa, OK and Wichita, KS neck-and-neck at the other end of the list with the slowest increase recorded among mid-size cities, 0.9% Y-o-Y. The average rent in Tulsa is $683, while the midpoint for apartment prices in in Wichita was at $638 in September. Lexington, KY rents have also only increased moderately, by 1% Y-o-Y to $885. St. Louis, MO and Virginia Beach, VA have seen their rents go up by 1.2% and 1.3%, respectively. Apartments in St. Louis cost $896 on average, while Virginia Beach rentals ask a higher, $1,175 per month.

SMALL CITIES: Rents in Midland and Odessa are growing at least twice as fast as anywhere else in the U.S.

Small cities have shown the largest rent changes in terms of increases as well as decreases. The top 20 list of biggest annual increases is dominated by small cities (16 out of 20). Perhaps unsurprisingly, Midland and Odessa are leading the nation with rent growth exceeding 25%, having boosted the average rent check by $316 and $284, respectively. Reno, Lancaster and Peoria follow – these cities may also be familiar from the nationwide top discussed above.

Similarly, the bottom of the list, with the slowest growing rents were also in the extreme low in the nationwide ranking: Baton Rouge, LA, Irvine, CA, Brownsville, TX, Norman, OK and Richardson, TX have seen their rents stagnate or even slow down insignificantly over the year.

RentCafe September Rent Report


The list of cities with the highest and lowest rents has been unchanged for a while now: Manhattan’s pole position is of course rock-steady an average rent of $4,119, San Francisco remains second with $3,590, and Boston is third, with rents averaging $3,379. San Mateo, CA and Cambridge, MA wrap up the top 5 with average rents above $3,000. Wichita, Brownsville, and Tulsa boast the cheapest rents of the 252 cities surveyed, all below the $700 mark in average monthly rents.

Top 10 Highest Rents in September 2018

CityStateAverage Rent
San FranciscoCA$3,590
San MateoCA$3,234
Santa ClaraCA$2,898
Jersey CityNJ$2,894
San JoseCA$2,735

Top 10 Lowest Rents in September 2018

CityStateAverage Rent
Fort WayneIN$745
Oklahoma CityOK$746

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

Oklahoma CityOK$742-0.50%1.60%
Fort WayneIN$743-0.40%1.90%
El PasoTX$7680.30%2.90%
Little RockAR$779-0.80%1.80%
Kansas CityKS$786-0.30%4.40%
High PointNC$8011.30%6.40%
Broken ArrowOK$8090.00%0.10%
Las CrucesNM$8110.60%3.60%
Des MoinesIA$883-1.10%0.30%
South BendIN$896-0.60%3.60%
St. LouisMO$896-0.80%1.20%
Sterling HeightsMI$905-0.10%2.40%
Newport NewsVA$9320.40%2.50%
Corpus ChristiTX$966-0.10%1.50%
Kansas CityMO$972-0.20%3.50%
San AntonioTX$993-0.30%1.30%
GarlandTX$1,000 0.00%4.10%
ArlingtonTX$1,000 -0.40%3.40%
Grand RapidsMI$1,000 0.10%3.10%
North CharlestonSC$1,009 0.00%4.00%
RochesterNY$1,009 -0.30%2.90%
HamptonVA$1,010 0.30%1.20%
SalemOR$1,012 -0.10%4.80%
DetroitMI$1,014 -0.20%1.30%
ColumbiaSC$1,017 0.20%2.00%
KnoxvilleTN$1,019 0.30%6.80%
North Las VegasNV$1,019 0.80%6.40%
Las VegasNV$1,019 0.70%6.10%
LakelandFL$1,023 -0.60%5.40%
FresnoCA$1,026 0.30%4.80%
ClevelandOH$1,035 -0.10%3.20%
Baton RougeLA$1,036 -0.90%-1.30%
BuffaloNY$1,042 -0.20%1.00%
JacksonvilleFL$1,047 0.50%5.70%
Overland ParkKS$1,053 -0.10%1.60%
NorfolkVA$1,059 0.60%2.30%
ClovisCA$1,061 0.20%4.50%
WilmingtonNC$1,064 0.00%1.70%
Grand PrairieTX$1,065 -0.10%3.20%
SavannahGA$1,067 0.00%4.90%
Fort WorthTX$1,069 0.00%2.70%
RichmondVA$1,071 0.50%5.70%
VictorvilleCA$1,071 0.00%4.20%
HoustonTX$1,088 0.00%2.30%
MurfreesboroTN$1,091 -0.40%2.40%
SyracuseNY$1,094 -0.10%3.30%
BoiseID$1,101 0.50%7.70%
PeoriaAZ$1,114 0.10%9.50%
StocktonCA$1,114 0.40%4.00%
West Valley CityUT$1,117 -1.20%6.40%
Colorado SpringsCO$1,119 0.20%3.70%
DurhamNC$1,119 0.20%3.40%
New OrleansLA$1,122 0.10%2.00%
IrvingTX$1,122 -0.60%1.50%
West JordanUT$1,129 -0.60%5.30%
GreeleyCO$1,131 0.40%6.10%
LewisvilleTX$1,141 -0.30%3.70%
RaleighNC$1,146 -0.40%2.40%
MilwaukeeWI$1,151 0.10%3.00%
CaryNC$1,155 -0.70%2.10%
Round RockTX$1,165 -0.50%5.00%
ModestoCA$1,165 0.30%2.80%
NewarkNJ$1,167 0.10%1.20%
ClearwaterFL$1,168 0.60%5.30%
Virginia BeachVA$1,175 0.50%1.30%
TallahasseeFL$1,176 -0.60%1.20%
DallasTX$1,178 0.10%3.00%
Salt Lake CityUT$1,179 -0.60%5.50%
DentonTX$1,180 -0.50%2.50%
ChesapeakeVA$1,182 0.30%1.20%
CarrolltonTX$1,185 0.10%3.90%
College StationTX$1,189 0.40%2.10%
BrandonFL$1,196 1.30%6.00%
CharlotteNC$1,200 -0.10%5.00%
San BernardinoCA$1,206 0.30%7.40%
HartfordCT$1,209 0.40%1.80%
GilbertAZ$1,211 0.40%6.10%
PittsburghPA$1,211 -0.40%5.00%
GainesvilleFL$1,216 0.00%5.70%
MadisonWI$1,216 0.20%2.00%
HendersonNV$1,219 1.00%6.80%
ChandlerAZ$1,226 0.00%6.40%
ElizabethNJ$1,232 0.60%4.50%
McKinneyTX$1,241 0.20%1.60%
BaltimoreMD$1,242 0.10%0.20%
TacomaWA$1,243 0.10%5.20%
GreshamOR$1,243 -0.20%2.60%
RialtoCA$1,257 0.20%7.50%
FontanaCA$1,260 0.60%4.70%
RenoNV$1,265 -0.30%12.00%
LancasterCA$1,273 -0.10%9.20%
VancouverWA$1,274 -0.30%2.80%
PlanoTX$1,278 0.30%1.70%
St. PetersburgFL$1,280 0.00%3.10%
PearlandTX$1,295 -0.20%2.00%
TampaFL$1,297 0.50%7.30%
AuroraIL$1,297 -0.30%2.50%
TempeAZ$1,303 0.20%6.90%
CharlestonSC$1,306 -0.10%5.00%
RichardsonTX$1,306 0.30%-0.20%
EugeneOR$1,307 0.40%4.60%
NashvilleTN$1,313 -0.20%3.00%
AuroraCO$1,324 0.40%3.40%
FriscoTX$1,334 0.10%1.00%
HialeahFL$1,335 -0.40%4.90%
ManchesterNH$1,336 0.70%7.10%
SacramentoCA$1,344 0.20%5.10%
AustinTX$1,347 -0.10%3.00%
OdessaTX$1,356 -0.80%26.50%
ArvadaCO$1,368 0.20%4.00%
Pompano BeachFL$1,374 -0.10%3.90%
ScottsdaleAZ$1,376 0.40%4.70%
OrlandoFL$1,389 -0.50%7.10%
ThorntonCO$1,391 0.10%2.10%
AtlantaGA$1,399 -0.40%3.30%
West Palm BeachFL$1,415 0.50%6.20%
EverettWA$1,416 -0.20%4.30%
Sandy SpringsGA$1,435 -0.30%2.90%
HollywoodFL$1,437 -0.60%9.00%
WestminsterCO$1,452 0.60%6.00%
Moreno ValleyCA$1,454 0.10%4.80%
KentWA$1,455 -0.20%3.90%
NapervilleIL$1,469 -0.70%2.00%
LakewoodCO$1,480 -0.20%2.30%
RiversideCA$1,492 0.00%3.90%
El CajonCA$1,498 -0.30%4.40%
PomonaCA$1,502 0.20%3.60%
Ann ArborMI$1,505 0.10%2.90%
PortlandOR$1,510 -0.30%4.00%
Fort CollinsCO$1,518 0.30%5.60%
HillsboroOR$1,540 -0.50%3.20%
PhiladelphiaPA$1,547 -0.10%2.60%
MinneapolisMN$1,550 -0.10%4.70%
Santa MariaCA$1,550 -1.30%3.30%
MidlandTX$1,559 -2.30%25.40%
EdisonNJ$1,564 -0.30%0.70%
EscondidoCA$1,570 0.30%4.20%
DenverCO$1,600 0.20%5.10%
MurrietaCA$1,609 -0.20%2.80%
TemeculaCA$1,614 -0.20%3.30%
New HavenCT$1,633 0.40%0.10%
RosevilleCA$1,645 0.50%1.70%
MiamiFL$1,655 0.20%3.60%
CoronaCA$1,657 0.20%2.90%
RentonWA$1,662 -0.10%4.70%
SalinasCA$1,670 -0.20%7.10%
AlexandriaVA$1,698 -0.70%2.00%
OntarioCA$1,702 0.00%7.30%
Garden GroveCA$1,703 0.30%3.80%
Coral SpringsFL$1,709 0.90%5.60%
Chula VistaCA$1,724 -0.10%5.30%
DavieFL$1,737 -0.10%3.70%
Pembroke PinesFL$1,739 -1.00%3.60%
FairfieldCA$1,744 0.20%4.20%
VallejoCA$1,746 0.20%2.20%
VistaCA$1,754 -0.30%3.90%
AnaheimCA$1,757 0.30%3.70%
OceansideCA$1,767 0.10%4.70%
HonoluluHI$1,776 -3.90%NULL
West CovinaCA$1,777 -1.00%3.60%
MiramarFL$1,833 0.30%2.40%
Rancho CucamongaCA$1,840 -0.20%5.50%
FullertonCA$1,850 0.30%2.30%
TorranceCA$1,867 -0.40%4.20%
OxnardCA$1,889 -0.10%3.00%
BoulderCO$1,890 0.40%3.20%
Fort LauderdaleFL$1,891 0.50%2.60%
Santa AnaCA$1,897 0.30%3.80%
ChicagoIL$1,913 -0.20%5.60%
Santa ClaritaCA$1,927 -1.00%6.50%
ConcordCA$1,931 0.10%2.00%
Long BeachCA$1,952 -0.40%4.30%
Simi ValleyCA$1,958 -0.30%3.50%
VenturaCA$1,969 -0.20%5.40%
YonkersNY$1,974 1.80%5.10%
Santa RosaCA$2,000 0.50%6.60%
OrangeCA$2,016 0.40%3.30%
Costa MesaCA$2,045 0.30%2.50%
SeattleWA$2,064 -0.20%3.80%
Thousand OaksCA$2,095 0.00%1.80%
HaywardCA$2,101 0.10%2.90%
Huntington BeachCA$2,138 0.40%6.70%
WashingtonDC$2,143 -0.10%1.70%
ArlingtonVA$2,147 -0.80%2.50%
San DiegoCA$2,159 0.10%5.70%
BurbankCA$2,208 0.00%0.20%
BellevueWA$2,215 -0.40%5.80%
CarlsbadCA$2,263 0.00%3.60%
QueensNY$2,342 0.00%8.40%
IrvineCA$2,365 0.30%-1.10%
Los AngelesCA$2,392 -0.20%4.00%
StamfordCT$2,410 0.70%1.20%
FremontCA$2,421 -0.20%3.60%
GlendaleCA$2,473 0.00%3.70%
PasadenaCA$2,528 -0.90%4.40%
Daly CityCA$2,536 0.50%7.70%
OaklandCA$2,671 -0.30%1.80%
San JoseCA$2,735 -0.90%3.90%
BrooklynNY$2,801 0.00%4.00%
Jersey CityNJ$2,894 -0.40%1.50%
Santa ClaraCA$2,898 -1.20%6.30%
SunnyvaleCA$2,926 -0.80%5.60%
CambridgeMA$3,112 -0.40%2.80%
San MateoCA$3,234 -0.40%5.30%
BostonMA$3,379 -0.30%3.90%
San FranciscoCA$3,590 0.30%3.60%
ManhattanNY$4,119 0.00%2.10%


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.

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.

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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 as a creative writer for RENTCafé. Balazs holds a B.S. in Journalism. You can connect with Balazs via email.

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