Apartment Rental Prices Are Up 20% from Pre-Pandemic Levels

According to Realtor.com’s latest Monthly Rental Report, which was released on Thursday (4-14-22), rental prices have grown by nearly 20% nationwide since the beginning of the pandemic (March 2020 to March 2022).

Although the underlying reasons have shifted over the course of the pandemic, data suggests that renting remains a popular option for Americans who desire flexibility. With the rise in remote work earlier on, renting offered an attractive option for those looking to explore living in relatively affordable markets further from big tech cities. Now that for-sale home prices and mortgage rates are climbing, many would-be buyers are turning to renting and driving up rental prices. In March, rents grew nearly four-times faster year-over-year than in March 2020.

The U.S. median rental price hit a new high of $1,807 in March, up 19.3% in just two years, highlighting a roller coaster of change since the pandemic began. Following a slowdown in 2020 at the onset of COVID, rents significantly made-up lost ground in 2021 and have since maintained a feverish pace of annual rent growth. As a result, March marked the eighth consecutive month of double-digit annual rent gains even as the pace moderated slightly over February.

Commenting on the March Monthly Rental Report, Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale said, “With asking rents nearly 1.2 times higher than two years ago, our March data highlights rising rental affordability challenges faced by many Americans today. At the same time, March rental trends offer early signs of relief from the feverish pace of rent growth, which moderated year-over-year for the second month in a row. We expect cooling to continue over time, but the jury is still out on whether rent growth will hit single digits by the end of 2022.”

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