2-year rent growth streak ends in small step toward normalcy

Real Estate | 18 Nov |

Asking rents across the U.S. finally ended a non-stop growth streak in October, falling 0.1% month-over-month and marking the first monthly decline in two years. The small step down is reminiscent of a more “normal” rental market, in line with October declines seen in each of the three autumns before the pandemic. The Zillow Observed Rent Index pegs typical national rent at $2,040 in October, still 9.6% above year-ago levels.


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In Phoenix, the average rent dropped to $1,938, a 0.53% month-over-month decrease.

Rent growth has been cooling since reaching a peak of 17.2% year-over-year in February 2022. Americans’ demand for housing has waned this year, after booming in 2021, thanks to higher costs of rent and generally high inflation. More people are doubling up with roommates or family, pushing up the rental vacancy rate and thereby putting some pressure on landlords to keep rent hikes in check. This slower pace of rent growth is likely to show up in official measures of rent inflation in early 2023.

Rents have taken a step back from peak levels in all but nine of the top 50 largest U.S metro areas – among them expensive markets of Boston and Miami and more affordable Midwest metros including Cleveland and St. Louis. Markets with the steepest declines from their peaks are Las Vegas (-3.5%), New Orleans (-1.9%), and Austin (-1.4%).

The most expensive major market is San Jose, where typical monthly rent is $3,341, followed by New York ($3,212), San Francisco ($3,199), San Diego ($3,105), and Los Angeles ($2,979). Boston is the seventh most expensive major metro with typical rents of $2,806.

Since October 2019, rent has risen 26.9% across the country, with Florida witnessing the largest hikes. When looking at the 100 largest U.S. markets, seven of the top 10 for rent growth are in Florida, with Fort Myers (up 57.2%), Miami (50.1%) and Sarasota (48.8%) leading the way. Beyond just percentage change, these three markets are also leaders in total cost change, with Miami rent up $943 in that time, Sarasota up $818 and Fort Myers up $799.

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