Yearly rent growth turned negative for the first time since the beginning of the COVID era. March rent levels dipped 0.40 percent following eight months of decelerating growth, and six months of single-digit growth that followed double-digit increases which lasted for nearly a year from October 2021 to September 2022. Yearly growth was last posted negative three years ago, in March 2020.
Monthly rent changes remained largely unchanged, dipping 0.01% from February to March. Monthly prices have decreased each of the last four months and six of the last seven months. March's change was the lowest decrease over that time.
The national median rent is now $1,937 — the exact same price posted in February when rounded to the nearest dollar. That month's price was the lowest median rental price since February 2022 when rents were $1,904. Prices peaked in August 2022 at $2,053, and are down 5.63 percent since then. Since March 2021, rents have grown 17.11 percent, an annual growth rate of nearly 8.56 percent that increased rents by $283 on a monthly basis.
Broad trends across the rental industry, including increased vacancy rates, new inventory, a cooling housing market and demand below seasonal norms are driving price slowdowns.
Let's look at where rent prices stand today.
March rent prices declined by nearly half a percentage point. This marked the first yearly rent price decrease in 36 months and follows six consecutive months of single-digit increases. The slowdown is significant given an 11-month period from October 2020 to September 2021 that sustained double-digit rent increases.
Rent prices stayed even on a monthly basis, recording a $1,937 rent level in both February and March. The -0.01 percent change is the smallest decline since prices began to moderate in September 2022. Prices have fallen month-over-month in six of the last seven months, averaging a nearly one-percent drop each month form September through February. November was the only exception, rising 1.23 percent.
March and February's price is the lowest since February 2022 when the median rent was $1,904. Prices peaked in August 2022 at $2,053.
|Rental Market Summary||March 2023||Year-over-Year||Month-over-Month|
|Median Monthly Rent||$1937||-0.40%||-0.01%|
Despite the yearly decrease in rents at the national level, more than 80 percent of state-level markets posted positive yearly rent growth. Among the 19 states that saw growth greater than five percent, 17 are located in the Midwest or South. New Hampshire and New Mexico were the only states outside those regions.
Median rents were up on a monthly basis in nearly 60 percent of state-level markets. Colorado saw the largest monthly increase at 4.39 percent, followed by Alabama, Oregon and Minnesota — which all saw monthly increases above two percent. Thirteen states registered monthly increases of less than one percent.
New Hampshire saw the biggest declines month over month at -3.31 percent. Louisiana and Connecticut each saw monthly decreases above two percent while another 10 states registered monthly decreases greater than the national average.
|Rental Market Summary||Market Up||Markets Down|
|Year-over-Year (March '22 vs '23)||81.40%||18.60%|
Only South Dakota saw a yearly increase above 20 percent, at 24.44 percent growth. Nine other states calculated growth between 10 and 20 percent, along with another nine that clocked in between five and 10 percent. Sixteen states saw positive rent growth of less than five percent.
Among the 10 states with the highest year-over-year rent growth, all demonstrated increases above 10 percent:
Just over 18 percent of state markets in this study were down year over year. Of the eight states that saw yearly decreases, three of were in the West, with Nevada, Washington and Idaho seeing the steepest declines. Rents in Idaho have declined for the sixth straight month.
Of the remaining five states, three are in the South including Virginia, Maryland and Texas. Kansas was the only Midwestern state to see a yearly decrease, while Massachusetts was the only Northwestern state with a slight one percent drop.
Among the 50 most populous metropolitan areas, Raleigh-Cary, NC saw the most significant yearly rent increase for the third month in a row at 16.58 percent. Three other metros — Cleveland, OH, Charlotte, NC and Indianapolis, IN — all registered yearly increases above 10 percent. Among the 10 largest gainers, eight were from the South or Midwest for the second month in a row. Riverside, CA and Denver, CO also saw significant yearly increases at 7.22 and 6.97 percent, respectively.
In total, 14 metros observed price declines. Eleven of those states are in the Midwest or South, including the six metros with the highest yearly declines. Rents also declined in the Sacramento, CA, Las Vegas, NV and Phoenix, AZ metros.
The following metro areas have experienced the greatest increase in rent prices year over year.
The following metro areas have experienced the greatest decreases in rent prices year over year.
In addition to our pricing trends, here are a few key industry developments.
As a response to Denver rents going up almost 10 percent in 2023, many renters in the area are forming tenant unions to advocate for renters' rights, reports CBS News. A tenants union is a renter-led organization with a mission to push more renter-friendly policy changes. Tenants may fight together for a city, neighborhood or a specific building.
The Denver Metro Tenants Union is the newest one in a growing trend of tenants coming together to fight for rent stabilization, adequate housing and better living conditions.
In California, the Pasadena Tenants Union was formed in 2016. In 2022, the group successfully helped pass the Measure H ballot measure to enact rent control and tenant protections.
According to a recent Census Household Pulse Survey data study from National Equity Atlas, more than five million tenants are behind on rent. As of early February 2023, U.S. tenants behind on rent owed almost $11 billion on back rent.
The average tenant is behind $2,094 on their rent, with 78 percent being low-income families and 65 percent identifying as people of color. Most rental assistance programs have ended or redistributed the money elsewhere as the COVID public health emergency ends in May 2023.
Our April 2023 Rent Report highlights year-over-year rent trends and price fluctuations that renters may experience in various parts of the United States. We compare rent prices across bedroom types to determine which of the country's most populated metros are becoming more affordable or more expensive for renters. States and metros with insufficient inventory are excluded from this report.
|CBSA||Population||Median Rent||YoY % Change||MoM % Change|
|Kansas City, MO||2199490||$1,558||8.08%||1.73%|
|St. Louis, MO||2809299||$1,552||4.16%||-0.26%|
|San Jose, CA||1952185||$3,609||3.18%||1.08%|
|New York, NY||19768458||$4,022||2.88%||2.42%|
|San Francisco, CA||4623264||$3,716||2.64%||0.60%|
|Salt Lake City, UT||1263061||$1,891||2.09%||-0.62%|
|San Diego, CA||3286069||$3,410||2.03%||1.39%|
|Los Angeles, CA||12997353||$3,412||1.35%||1.52%|
|Virginia Beach, VA||1803328||$1,703||0.52%||2.79%|
|Louisville/Jefferson County, KY||1284566||$1,378||0.27%||-0.67%|
|San Antonio, TX||2601788||$1,435||-1.26%||-1.56%|
|Las Vegas, NV||2292476||$1,759||-2.41%||-2.17%|
|New Orleans, LA||1261726||$1,792||-3.04%||5.49%|
|Oklahoma City, OK||1441647||$1,180||-12.01%||7.42%|
We analyzed rental property prices in March 2022, the last full month of data, from Rent.'s available inventory to identify our median rent prices at the national, state and metro levels. Our analysis combines inventory and bedroom types into one simple median that covers all available rental units at the time.
The top 50 metropolitan areas in our analysis are determined by U.S. Census Bureau population estimates for 2021.
More detailed information about our methodology can be found here.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment. The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or financial advice. Readers are encouraged to seek professional legal or financial advice as they may deem it necessary.
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