Rental Prices are Moving After an Eight Month Slump

Dated: April 14 2021

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March Data: Rents Grow Faster for the First Time in Eight Months


  • March 2021 data: In the 50 largest metros, the median rent was $1,463, up 1.1% year-over-year.
  • Rent growth remains lower than pre-COVID rates, but saw its first uptick in March after eight months of months of consistent slowdowns.
  • Rents are increasing the most in New Orleans, LA; Riverside, CA; Memphis, TN; and Sacramento, CA metro areas — all saw double-digit growth year-over-year in March.
  • Rent declines in expensive, high-tech hubs remain the norm. San Jose, CA and San Francisco, CA are seeing the largest declines in rents, along with Seattle, Boston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

Rents across the country’s largest markets are poised to rise at a quickening pace. In the year since the pandemic, rent growth has slowed to a crawl, on average. Now March has marked the first time rents have sped up in the past eight months. 

Last March, rents in the 50 largest metro areas were growing by 3.2% year-over-year, on average. That growth has consistently slowed throughout the pandemic, down to 0.6% in February. As of March, rent growth has ticked up to 1.1%.

Rent YoY Trend Since the Start of the Pandemic

rent price trend

As home prices hit record highs and interest rates continue to climb, we may see more of an appetite for rentals as more homebuyers bow out for the season. Rising demand for rentals could gradually push rents higher, eventually to pre-COVID levels after some time.

Rents are not rising in all markets, however. Tech hubs are still seeing substantial declines, but this overall shift in the market may signal a pivot for these areas in the near future as well.

New Orleans, LA was the fastest growing metro area, with the median rent reaching $1,305 in March, up 15.6% year-over-year. The other metros topping the list of fastest growing rents were Riverside, CA; Memphis, TN; and Sacramento, CA, which all saw rents growing by over 10% compared to last year.

Top 10 Markets for Rent Increases – March 2021

RankMetroMedian RentMedian Rent YoY
1New Orleans-Metairie, La.$1,30515.6%
2Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.$1,92513.2%
3Memphis, Tenn.-Miss.-Ark.$1,04011.8%
4Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, Calif.$1,68511.6%
5Richmond, Va.$1,1869.9%
6Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio$1,0888.9%
7Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.$1,4138.6%
8Providence-Warwick, R.I.-Mass.$1,6808.4%
9Louisville/Jefferson County, Ky.-Ind.$9998.0%
10Rochester, N.Y.$1,1757.6%


Top 10 Markets for Rent Decreases – March 2021

RankMetroMedian RentMedian Rent YoY
1San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.$2,685-14.1%
2San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif.$2,626-10.1%
3Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.$1,750-9.7%
4Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H.$2,295-7.4%
5Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va.$1,850-6.3%
6Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif.$2,489-5.5%
7Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, N.Y.$1,095-4.4%
8Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Ill.-Ind.-Wis.$1,600-3.0%
9Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis.$1,425-2.1%
10Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo.$1,652-1.7%


Rental Data – 50 Largest Metropolitan Areas – March 2021

MetroMedian RentMedian Rent YoY
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga.$1,4505.7%
Austin-Round Rock, Texas$1,349-1.3%
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md.$1,5694.9%
Birmingham-Hoover, Ala.$9996.3%
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H.$2,295-7.4%
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, N.Y.$1,095-4.4%
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, N.C.-S.C.$1,3202.8%
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Ill.-Ind.-Wis.$1,600-3.0%
Cincinnati, Ohio-Ky.-Ind.$1,0956.9%
Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio$1,0888.9%
Columbus, Ohio$1,0754.9%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas$1,2751.5%
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo.$1,652-1.7%
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Mich.$1,1456.0%
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Conn.$1,4805.7%
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas$1,199-0.1%
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind.$1,0557.5%
Jacksonville, Fla.$1,1994.9%
Kansas City, Mo.-Kan.$1,0591.0%
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev.$1,2505.5%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif.$2,489-5.5%
Louisville/Jefferson County, Ky.-Ind.$9998.0%
Memphis, Tenn.-Miss.-Ark.$1,04011.8%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Fla.$1,886-0.7%
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis.$1,335-1.4%
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis.$1,425-2.1%
Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, Tenn.$1,3251.1%
New Orleans-Metairie, La.$1,30515.6%
New York-Newark-Jersey City, N.Y.-N.J.-Pa.$2,3502.2%
Oklahoma City, Okla.$790-1.0%
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla.$1,345-1.1%
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md.$1,5754.3%
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz.$1,4175.0%
Pittsburgh, Pa.$1,270-0.8%
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash.$1,500-1.0%
Providence-Warwick, R.I.-Mass.$1,6808.4%
Raleigh, N.C..$1,2442.8%
Richmond, Va.$1,1869.9%
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.$1,92513.2%
Rochester, N.Y.$1,1757.6%
Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, Calif.$1,68511.6%
San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas$1,0622.1%
San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif.$2,2402.3%
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif.$2,626-10.1%
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.$2,685-14.1%
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.$1,750-9.7%
St. Louis, Mo.-Ill.$1,0755.9%
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.$1,4138.6%
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va.-N.C.$1,2367.5%
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va.$1,850-6.3%


Rental units include apartment communities as well as private rentals (condos, townhomes, single-family homes). All units were studio, one-bedroom, or two-bedroom units. National rents were calculated by averaging the medians of the 50 largest metropolitan areas.


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Francisco Pina-Carreras

NJ Top Producer agent. Will get the best deal on your property. Work with home sellers and home buyers as well. Realty One Group Legend NJ.....

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