January Apartment Rents Hit All-time High; Baltimore Defies Rent-increase Odds

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Though apartment rents held steady the last four months of 2015, that didn’t hold true in January, when rents hit an all-time high of $1,170 per month, according to the latest Yardi Matrix Monthly Report. The previous peak rental price was $1,166, a record that was set back in September of last year. This marks a 6.4 percent year-over-year increase from January 2015 to January 2016 – a startling jump from the long-term average increase of just 2.8 percent per year.

US Apartment rents

Portland Leads the Pack with San Francisco and Sacramento on Its Tail

The market’s biggest rent jumps were seen across the West Coast and in the Southeast regions, in cities like Portland, San Francisco, Sacramento, Seattle, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Orlando and Denver. If Portland was last year’s star performer, with a whopping 14.8% rent growth, in 2016 the rental market in the Rose City is expected to cool down, with 1st and 2nd places in the “biggest rent gains” race going to Denver and San Francisco. Rents in Portland are expected to grow 9% in 2016, with San Francisco and Denver reaching the 11% and 11.2% marks, respectively.

Top cities for rent growth in 2015

Other highlights of the Yardi Matrix Monthly report include:

  • Expectation of rent increases continuing nationwide: However, they might not continue at their current speed – Yardi Matrix expects rent increases to slow at some point in 2016. They will likely still surpass an average of 2.8%, however.
  • 2016 will be a strong year for the rental market: Confidence in the rental market is high going into 2016, as factors like strong job growth, an increase in Millennial renters, low homeownership rates, and low rental vacancy rates drive the industry. Investors are showing more interest in owning – and building – multifamily properties.
  • Nearly all 30 major metros returned figures higher than the long-term average increase: Twenty-nine of the top 30 metropolitan areas monitored by Yardi Matrix saw an annual rent increase of more than 2.8 percent – the national, long-term average. Baltimore was the only major metro to come in below 3%.

Though rents vary across the country, here’s a quick idea of what you can get for around $1,170 in some of the nation’s top cities.


Located just north of downtown Portland, the Pearl District offers easy access to shopping, restaurants, grocery stories, and tons of cultural events. The studio apartments at Freedom Center come in just under the national average, with rents starting around $1,000 a month. All units also boast granite countertops, large windows, and stainless steel appliances, and common amenities include a game room, a lounge, and free bicycle storage.

Freedom Center Apartments in Portland


Nestled just a stone’s throw from downtown, the family-friendly community of North Beacon Hill offers a plethora of parks, trails, playgrounds, tennis courts, and even a golf course. Plus, mom-and-pop restaurants and shopping opportunities abound. Beacon View is a great choice for putting down roots, where one-bedroom, one-bath units start at $1,075 and community amenities include an athletic center, free tanning, a sauna, and easy access to the local bus stop. Patios, expansive city views, and large closets are just a few of the perks you’ll find in each unit.

Beacon View Apartments in Seattle


Just southeast of downtown Denver, Capitol Hill is one of the most in-demand neighborhoods in the area. With tons of restaurants, lots of nightlife, and plenty of local culture, there’s something for everyone here. Studio apartments at 1265 Downing start at just $900, and tile back splashes, custom cabinetry, large living areas, and spacious walk-in closets give the units an elegant feel. The complex even offers flexible rent payment options, free Wi-Fi and indoor bike storage.

1265 Downing Apartments in Denver

Meanwhile in Baltimore, for $955 you can get a 1,300-square-foot 3-bedroom townhome at Barclay Greenmount in the MICA neighborhood and enjoy living the historic Baltimore row-home lifestyle. Interiors come with hardwood floors, efficient appliances, galley style kitchens, and spacious bedrooms.

Barclay Greenmount Apartments in Baltimore

To check out these properties or see other rental options in your area, search RentCafe now.

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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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